Are you predominantly optimistic or pessimistic? In fact, do you see pessimism as “realism” and optimism as one step away from madness?! Well it might be worth a rethink because, interestingly research actually suggests that the more optimistic a person is, the more likely they are to be happy and successful.
But, what if you are naturally at the pessimistic end of the optimism spectrum? Are you doomed to a life of sadness and failure? Can you learn to let go of your tendency to believe the worst? I believe you can and that it’s eminently worth trying. A word of caution though, there is definitely an optimism “sweet spot” i.e. a level of optimism which falls short of blind faith and naivety which is where madness lies!
Here are a few ideas to help you move towards a more optimistic and positive outlook on life:
1. Spend time with positive people and avoid the “mood-hoovers” and toxic vampires who want to suck the positivity out of you. Cultivate friendships with optimists and, if you have to be around less positive folk, make it brief encounters and try not to take their problems and issues to heart.
2. Reduce the amount of news you expose yourself to. Let’s face it, there are very few uplifting stories in the print or TV news so don’t wallow in the dark.
3. Start keeping a journal. this doesn’t have to be war and peace but consciously capturing your thoughts, gratitude, observations and feelings will help you catch yourself heading into Doomsville enabling you to redirect your attention in a more positive direction.
4. Commit to changing negative thoughts to positive ones. To do this, you will first have to catch yourself being pessimistic (which is where journaling can help) and then re-focus your attention in a more optimistic direction.
5. Let go of can’t and embrace can. It’s fun to try new stuff, even if we’re not certain we can do it.
6. Smile more often – laugh as much as possible too!