What is an optimist? According to WiseGeek.com, “An optimist is a person who engages in positive thinking, or “looking on the bright side” of things. Optimism is the outlook that good things will happen, even if the situation may not appear totally positive at the moment.” So, how can you be more optimistic?
Studies suggest that optimism or pessimism is determined by a combination of genetics, environment, and choice. In this article, we’ll look at some ways you can use environment and choice to your advantage.
Why Does Being More Optimistic Matter?
According to an article in Psychology Today, “Based on thousands of people included in these studies, they concluded that optimism is associated with benefits in survival, pain management, immune function, cardiovascular function, and physical function.” These mental and physical enhancements seem like good reasons to being optimistic. Let’s look at a few of these more in-depth.
- Increases your resilience.
Positive beliefs make it easier to manage stress and overcome obstacles. This gives you more energy and enhances your coping skills.
- Helps strengthen your relationships.
Studies show that optimists are more satisfied with their relationships and the support they receive from their partners. It’s natural for others to like being around someone who is friendly and cheerful.
- Earn more money.
Optimists tend to have higher incomes too. One reason is because people like being around optimists. This can help you build your network and find higher paying work that is more meaningful.
- Live longer.
A sunnier attitude also has many physical health benefits. That includes strengthening your heart and immune system and extending your longevity.
7 Things You Can Do to Train Your Brain to Be More Optimistic
Whatever your current perspective, you can maximize your capacity for optimism by training your brain to think differently. The following are some strategies for becoming more optimistic.
1. Plan Your Day
Yogi Berra once said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else.” How true!
You will be a lot more optimistic when you have a plan to take you to where you want to go. Use a paper journal or an app to set daily goals and measure your progress. You can also record the things you’re grateful for and the happy events that occur in your life each day. This places positive episodes in the forefront of your mind daily.
2. Screen the news
The news can really throw cold water on your day. If the media you are consuming is making you sad and anxious, then choose to do something else with your time. This doesn’t mean putting your head in the sand. It just means choosing where you get your news and how much you take in.
3. Use Outcome-Based Thinking
Outcome based thinking focuses on solutions instead of problems. This is an easy way to become more optimistic and will help accomplish more while you’re at it. Learn to focus on the things you can control and leave the things you can’t control alone. Instead of complaining, shift your attention towards taking constructive action.
4. Exercise 30 Minutes Every Day
When people ask me the easiest way they can feel better, I tell them, “go work out”. An active lifestyle boosts your mood and reduces your risk for many serious health conditions.
Taking care of yourself will make your circumstances feel more hopeful. In addition to exercising, make sure you eat nutritiously and get plenty of sleep. An active lifestyle boosts your mood and reduces your risk for many serious health conditions.
5. Socialize More
In these days of covid-19, it can seem that it’s impossible to socialize. While you may not be able to have as much face-to-face time as before, you can talk to your friends and family on the phone, on FaceTime, Zoom, Skype or any number of audio or video computer apps. Spending time catching up with family and friends lifts your spirits and theirs too. Of course, it helps if they’re optimistic too.
6. Remember, This Too Shall Pass
Keep in mind that every one of your experiences are temporary. Sometimes things are great, other times they’re not so great. Even if you’re currently going through a divorce or a layoff, you may soon find a new love or a different job. Life is filled with ups and downs. Learning to roll with it will help you stay more optimistic.
7. Live Mindfully
Pay attention if you want to be more optimistic. Stay grounded by living in the present and making conscious decisions. Observe your thoughts and feelings without judging them. Be as much in the moment as you possibly can. If you’d like to learn more about how to live more mindfully, then pick up a copy of my book or audiobook, Modern Mindfulness: A Beginners Guide on How to Find Peace and Happiness in a Busy World.
You Can Become More Optimistic
Using these techniques, you can become more optimistic. They can help you learn to remain calm and content in stressful situations. Give yourself time each day to practice looking on the bright side by adjusting your daily habits. Becoming more optimistic will be right around the corner and you will soon be enjoying greater happiness, health, and success.