It’s been a beautiful afternoon here in Cheshire which gave me the chance to sit outside reading and writing. I don’t know about you but I always find that the sun and a little warmth makes me feel more positive/optimistic. That set me thinking about other ways to make ourselves feel more optimistic and there’s some thoughts from my pondering sat outside!
Ask Yourself Three Key Questions
A big difference between pessimists and optimists is that optimists tend to think that:
- Problems are temporary and can be resolved
- Problems are particular to a certain event/person/experience and are not related to everything
- Problems are external and not a reflection of who you are
On the other hand, pessimists often think that problems are permanent, related to everything, and internal (caused by their own qualities).
To help stop yourself from negative, pessimistic thinking, ask these three questions:
- Is this problem really permanent, or is it just temporary?
- Is this thing really a universal truth, or is it a problem particular to one moment/event?
- Am I blaming myself for everything, or is there more than one facet to the situation?
Studies show that actively practising gratitude can boost optimism and happiness. Resolve to spend two minutes a day jotting down one or two things that you are grateful for.
Surround Yourself with Positive People
Emotions are contagious. Surround yourself with negative people, and it’s easy to sink into a bad mood. Surround yourself with optimistic people, and you just might see yourself looking on the sunny side of the street.
Search for the Positive
When adversity strikes, try to see a positive side of the event. The idea is not to deny the reality of bad situations, but to help you cope with them more productively. For instance, if you get laid off, you could be angry at yourself and the bad job you did, or you could focus on practical steps to land a new, better job.
A 2014 study showed that people who practiced mindfulness had fewer negative thoughts than before they started practicing, but the same number of positive thoughts. Practicing mindfulness can be as simple as sitting quietly for two minutes a day and paying attention to your breath.