We all have heard about optimism. It is a hopefulness and confidence about the future. In this article, I describe, why optimism is important and give you a few ways you can become a more optimistic person.
Why Is Optimism Important?
In the current education system, we are taught to concentrate on our mistakes and our faults. While it is important to be aware of them, it is also important to be aware of our strengths and focus on the positive.
An optimistic outlook on life can have a profound impact on you. Researches claim various benefits to your health and life in general. Some of them are:
- better cardiovascular health
- stronger immune function
- lower stress levels
- higher achievements in life because they take risks and don’t give up so easily
- faster recovery after illnesses
We all experience tough times at some point in our lives. Optimistic people try to accept the situation they are in the best they can. The life goes on, and it will get better, even if it might not seem like it at the moment. Remember that you are not alone. There are people in the world who are dealing with something similar, and there are always people who are willing to listen to your story and support you through difficult times.
How to Be More Optimistic
It is believed that optimism is partly hereditary and partly it comes from your life experiences and the way you were raised. Even though some of us might be genetically more optimistic than others, all of us can increase our optimism and happiness in life. Below are some exercises for you to start having a better outlook on your life.
1. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness encourages you to be more aware of your emotions and understand why you feel the way you feel. You might sometimes get blinded by your own emotions and focusing on the present moment and your breathing will help.
You can practice mindfulness by doing mindfulness meditation. Here is a YouTube link, where you can find numerous videos that will get you going. All you need is 10-20 minutes a day.
2. Focus on Solutions
When you have a situation in your daily life or maybe at work and you have pessimistic thinking, you will experience self-doubt and will start thinking about everything that might go wrong. For example, if you want to ask your boss for a raise, you might start to think that you are not doing enough or that the boss will just laugh at you. These thoughts can paralyze you and stop you from achieving your goals.
Instead, you should be focusing on solutions. Go on and ask the boss for the raise! The best case scenario – he gives it to you. If he doesn’t – ask him what you should be doing differently to deserve the raise. By doing this you will show to yourself that you are willing to take action, and show the boss that you are willing to improve and climb the career ladder.
3. Look for the Positives
Another habit that will increase your optimism is looking for positives in your life. Every morning after you wake up, take a piece of paper and write down 10 things you are grateful for. Try to write something new every day so the things don’t repeat themselves. It can be your family, your house, eyesight, country, nature – anything you are truly grateful for. This exercise will train your brain to appreciate everything you have more.
When you are feeling down, you can take the pieces of paper with the things you appreciate written on them, and take a look at them. It will boost your mood when you see how many good things you have in your life you might not even think about in your daily routine.
4. Use Affirmations
Every morning and evening have a few affirmations prepared beforehand that you read aloud to yourself. For affirmations to be as effective as possible, they should be in present tense, positive, personal and specific.
For example, for a more optimistic outlook at life, you can say: “I control is my attitude towards life.” and “Everything is possible.”
5. Think About What Went Well
Before going to sleep, think about the thing that happened during the day that was positive. Even something as simple as having a nice dinner is good. This will set your mind in a positive state before sleep and this way you will train it to appreciate everything you have more.
6. Thank Yourself
You can do this exercise either during the whole day or just in the evening. It’s very simple – when you do something good that moves you towards your goals or you help someone out, look in a mirror and thank yourself. Look yourself in the eyes and say: “You did a great job!”, “I love you!”, “I’m proud of you!” , “I appreciate that you tried!” This exercise will tell you mind than you did good, and it will want to keep doing the same positive things more.
7. Tomorrow Is a New Day
Always remember that tomorrow is another day. No matter what might have gone wrong today, tomorrow will be filled with many opportunities to do good and move towards your goals. Life goes on, and you have more control over it than you might think.
Optimism is something we all know about, however, people don’t know that they can change how optimistic they are. I hope that you found these 7 exercises useful and that they will help you improve your outlook on your life. You can find a few more exercises about my other article about positive thinking.
If you are interested in learning more about optimism and how to change your thinking from negative to positive, I suggest reading Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life by Martin E.P. Seligman. In this book, the author describes in detail how optimism can enhance the quality of life, and how you can learn to practice it. This book is available both in physical format and as an audiobook.
Do you consider yourself to be an optimist? Have you tried any exercise you improve your thinking? I’d be happy to hear your feedback in the comments below. 🙂
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