How to be an optimist in 5 easy steps
I'm sure all of us would like to be a bit more positive on a daily basis, but when your toaster's broke, your broadband goes down, your shower's leaking and the dog is whining to be let outside, it can seem hard to keep smiling. Positivity doesn't have to be hard work – some of the most positive people in the world have simple mantras and steps they follow to keep smiling, even when life gets tough. We're not saying that being an optimist is a piece of cake, but these 5 steps will help you to be more of a 'glass half full' kind of person, even when the chips are down.
Remember that the more optimistic and positive you are, the more positivity you'll attract into your life. Focus on taking care of yourself before addressing the problems of others – eating well, exercising and getting a good night's sleep can all go a long way towards making you feel more optimistic and happy about life.
#1. Drop the 'poor me' attitude
Believing the world is against you and that you're just 'naturally unlucky' is easy – but it's no way to live your life. Not only can it make you feel depressed and down, it can bring down those closest to you. Perhaps you've picked up negative assumptions from your parents as a child, or a bad experience when you were younger has shaped your view of the world. The sooner you learn to reliase that your pessimistic outlook is due to your own unique circumstances, rather than attributing it to the world being out to get you, the happier you'll be.
It's easy to feel others have it all whilst you're the only one struggling, but that's not true. If you're looking for a way to track those little, positive moments in your day, try the 100 Happy Days challenge. Every day, for 100 days, you take a photo of someone or something that made you happy and share it on Facebook, Instagram or Tumblr. This really helps to put things in perspective.
#2. Try positive affirmations
Affirmations can help you to instil a more optimistic 'inner voice' in your head. Write them on post-its and stick them on your wall, your mirror, or your PC monitor. Try some of these, or create your own:
- “Anything is possible”
“My circumstances do not create me, I create my circumstances
“I always have a choice”
Repeating these to yourself daily may seem silly at first, but you'll quickly notice they help you to be more mindful.
#3. Be more mindful
Being aware of pessimistic, negative thoughts is the first step towards banishing them for good. Next time your inner voice starts telling you something is too good to be true, or that you'll fail, stop whatever you're doing and go do something you enjoy, even if it's just for a few minutes. Take a break from work, meet a friend for lunch or head for the park and a lunchtime workout. Listen to your favourite songs, make a cup of tea (packed with antioxidants) or call a friend. Being self-aware when pessimism strikes can help you to think yourself happy.
#4. Balance your optimism
You should aim to prepare for the worst yet hope for the best. If you always hope for the best, you'll always be an optimist. This doesn't mean running around blindly oblivious to problems, pretending nothing bad will ever happen to you. Instead, work on becoming a rational optimist. Recognise that your life won't always run smoothly, but things won't always go wrong either. You may love your job, but it's normal to have days where you don't feel happy at work. Being aware of your mood helps you to balance optimism with those days where you just feel like pulling the duvet over your head.
#5. Surround yourself with positivity
If you spend all your time surrounded by people who moan about how hard done by they are and how they never achieve anything, you'll start to feel more pessimistic. It sounds obvious, but how many of us have friends like this? Surrounding yourself with positive friends can help you to be more optimistic. Spend your free time pursuing hobbies that make you happy, with people whose company you enjoy. Don't stress about things you have no control over. Remember, negative people and situations have no place in your life. Whilst everyone has negative days, those who are constantly on a downer for no reason (unless they're suffering from depression) can make it almost impossible to stay happy.