There is a strong body of literature that lends support to the health-promoting effects of an optimistic personality disposition, observed across various physical and psychological dimensions. In accordance with this evidence base, it has been suggested that optimism may positively influence the course and experience of pain. Although the associations among optimism and pain outcomes have only recently begun to be studied adequately, emerging experimental and clinical research links optimism to lower pain sensitivity and better adjustment to chronic pain. This review highlights recent studies that have examined the effects of optimism on the pain experience using samples of individuals with clinically painful conditions, as well as healthy samples in laboratory settings. Furthermore, factors such as catastrophizing, hope, acceptance and coping strategies, which are thought to play a role in how optimism exerts its beneficial effects on pain, are also addressed.