We all admire optimists. In every situation it seems that they pick themselves up quickly, lick their wounds, and then continue on with a smile, often trying twice as hard as before. Studies have shown that people who see the glass half full go through life healthier, more successful, and often more-well liked than people who are often negative. In addition to just feeling good, the benefits of positive thinking are endless. If you’ve been a pessimist most of your life, optimism may seem like a form of witchcraft, but it’s fairly simple! With a few small, consistent changes in how you approach your life, you can learn how to be optimistic, and lead a happier life.
1) Let go of what happened yesterday.
Optimists seize the power of the present and the future. Regardless of what happened yesterday (or the person you used to be), you can alter your future to be dramatically different. Though experience can be valuable in forming expectations, it’s important to realize that the past and the future are not the same thing. The fact that someone has hurt you in the past doesn’t indicate that all people will hurt you, or that this situation will repeat several times in your life. It also means you can start being positive today, even if you were sad enough to be a poet yesterday.
2) Be grateful.
When something good happens to you, stop and take a moment to appreciate it. Don’t overlook all the good things that happen to you or around you in favor of dwelling on the negative. Optimists aren’t positive because they make it up! They’re positive because they focus on good things and they try to brush off the bad ones. You may find it helpful to start a journal that you can write in before bed– every night, take time to write down two good things that happened to you that day.
3) Exercise and eat well.
It’s no secret that a healthy diet and exercise program can greatly improve your outlook on life. If you find yourself struggling with negativity or even depression, go pick up some fruit and go for a jog. It may be a pain in the neck at first, but after a while, you’ll start to feel better.
4) Take control and accept responsibility.
Stop making excuses. Optimists take responsibility for their successes and their failures, and they realize that the vast majority of the time, their fate is in their hands. Instead of trying to justify failure with outside excuses, look at how you could have changed your behavior. You may find that, with a small behavioral adjustment on your part, you could have had a different outcome! Apply this knowledge to the next time you face a similar situation. Hey, you’re human. You have to learn!
5) Surround yourself with positive people.
If at all possible, drop your debby downer friends. Focus on interacting with optimists! Studies show that people often adopt the behaviors and thinking of those around them, so make sure the people in your environment reflect the way you want to think and act.
Though it can be difficult, and you may have a few slip-ups or days where you find yourself behaving like Eeyore, it is possible to become one of the positive people whose happiness is so infectious. If you employ these five simple tips to your daily life, you can learn how to be optimistic and improve your health, your happiness, and your success in life!