Optimism is a learned skill like any other skill or habit you want to develop. Having an optimistic attitude toward yourself, life, and the world can significantly impact your mental well-being and resilience, even boosting your immune system and lowering your blood pressure. Studies have shown that optimists have better career prospects and live longer, happier lives.
Here are five tips for developing a more optimistic view of the world.
Identify as an optimist
Self-talk is powerful! Start telling people you’re an optimist, and you’ll soon begin to believe it, and forget you were ever even slightly pessimistic.
Accentuate the positives
Notice and acknowledge the positive things around you. Small things like having good food, clean water, and even being able to read this article (for example). A good exercise is to list ten things you’re grateful for every day – they don’t have to be big things, jot down whatever comes to mind.
No good comes from comparing yourself to others. There will always be someone who is more prosperous, thinner, more successful than you at any one time, and their success or luck isn’t connected to you at all. Don’t be tempted to lock yourself into a small, comfortless cell of jealousy. Instead, think that if they can do it, so can you. Think abundance (there’s more than enough for everybody) instead of scarcity (if they’re successful, then you can’t be).
Shift your focus
Optimism is dynamic and forward-looking. Develop a more optimistic outlook by moving on from the past, enjoying the present and actively looking forward to the future. Optimists also don’t spend much time dwelling on whatever not-so-good things are in their lives. They acknowledge that bad things happen to everyone, and when bad things do happen, it’s not necessarily their fault. Bad times come, and bad times go, and good times usually occur just as often.
Shift your focus
Putting all your eggs in one basket is risky, and you will likely be disappointed. It’s also harder to pick up and move on if things don’t work out. An optimist will be flexible about outcomes and see that there are lots of different possibilities. If this one didn’t work, another maybe even better opportunity will come along.
Optimism and pessimism are not hard-wired into people - They are qualities you can change.
You can choose to develop a more positive outlook and find that you’ll have a happier, healthier, better life!