Are you a pessimist? Do you have a tendency to expect the worst to happen? Although a pessimistic attitude may seem to be an unchangeable character trait, one, in fact, can make a choice between pessimism and optimism. There are practical self-improvement techniques to make it easier to develop a positive attitude and undo lifelong habits of pessimism. This article will present three ways to help you become more optimistic.
Optimists have an outlook on life that is generally more positive and they know and value hope. Studies show that pessimists give up more easily and get depressed more often. Optimists, on the other hand, have superior stress management skills and do better in school and at work. Evidence suggests that optimists may even live longer. These are compelling reasons to become more optimistic!
One way to help convert from pessimism to optimism is to practice looking for the silver lining in problems. Optimists tend to look for the positives in situations that don’t work out while pessimists use those same situations to reinforce their expectations of failure. Do you have a tendency to magnify the negative aspects of a situation and overlook any positive ones? Rather than automatically focusing on the worst, take a second look to see if there are any positive aspects in a difficult situation.
Don’t wait for a problem to happen but start now to get into the habit of seeing positives in every situation. Additionally, make an effort to create some experiences of happiness. Brief, happy moments can help strengthen your sense that life can be good and you can draw on these feelings in more difficult times.
A second way to create more optimism is to review your past accomplishments. Identify your top five personal and work-related accomplishments and the strengths you used to achieve them. Use this review to affirm for yourself that you are capable and competent. Apply the confidence gained from reviewing your strengths and accomplishments to increase your optimism in your capabilities to impact the future.
A third way to increase optimism is to watch your language! The words we use help to create and shape our reality. Avoid negative self-talk – stop using phrases such as “I can’t” and “This will never work.” Challenge your negative self-talk and turn these statements into questions such as “How can I handle this?” and “What can I do?’. Not only are these questions more hopeful, they invite new options and possibilities.
Pay special attention to how you talk to yourself and make a concentrated effort to treat yourself as well as you would treat a friend or loved one. Don’t say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to anyone else. Be gentle and encouraging with yourself. When a negative thought enters your mind, turn it around to something to something more positive.
In conclusion, there are specific techniques you can use to convert from a pessimistic attitude to a more optimistic one. These techniques include highlighting the positive; using your past accomplishments and strengths to fuel your optimism in the future; and deliberately replacing negative self-talk with more positive messages.
As with changing any habit, it may take practice to defeat pessimism but your self-development efforts will prove worthwhile as you gain the positive health and social benefits of optimism.
Is your life humming along the way you think it should? If not, are you blaming yourself for this departure from what you think your life should look like? Is this self-blame creating even more stress for you? Here are some stress management techniques to help you establish a new relationship to your expectations.
There are times when life unfolds almost miraculously exactly the way we would like. More often, though, life does not follow our blueprint. When life doesn’t match our expectations, we often feel disappointed and we may feel like we have failed. We may spend so much time trying to resolve why our present doesn’t resemble our imagined future that we fail to notice the rightness and blessings of our very real present. Count your blessings – notice your life as it is, rather than how you imagine it should be. What can you be grateful for this very minute?
Allow yourself to be delighted – rather than annoyed – by surprises that happen to you and that disrupt what you see as your perfect plan. Approach these surprises with curiosity, wondering where they lead. Recall a time in your past when a surprise led to a much better outcome than you could have planned or envisioned.
It is easier to adjust to changes if you maintain an optimistic attitude, a belief that your life is unfolding perfectly and that your experiences are helping you stretch and grow as a person. You might even admit that your imagined ideal way is safe and comfortable and would allow less room for personal growth. Look back on your life at those times when you were challenged in a way that you would not have chosen for yourself. From your vantage point now, would you give up the wisdom you have gained, despite the costs to you?
If you wish your life were different, ask yourself what will it take to change it? Are you committed to complaining or committed to action? Are you using “I don’t know how” as an excuse to maintain the status quo? What needs to happen to move you closer to a life that you love even more?
Being willing to take action will infuse your life with interest, passion, and vitality. Action will bring new options and will open possibilities that may have been unavailable until initial action is taken. Think of your life as a puzzle and each time you take action, you are given a new puzzle piece. Many action steps will give you more puzzle pieces and gradually, your picture will become clearer and more identifiable.
Be especially gentle and kind to yourself when your life is not following your expectations. Release any harsh judgments that you should be able to control each and every outcome. Be a friend to yourself and remember your self-care. Congratulate yourself on your efforts and consider your life a great adventure rather than a life measured solely by defined, planned, and possibly limited, outcomes.
As a personal and spiritual coach, Georgiana Carollus has a keen interest in inspiring people to recognize their brilliance and to treat themselves as well as they treat their friends and loved ones. She offers resources and coaching to help people establish a more caring and supportive relationship with themselves at www.FriendYourselfProject.com. Visit and subscribe to a free Daily Moment of Inspiration!