How To Be Optimistic And Happy
Do you want to be optimistic and happy? I certainly do. The key to success is in your state of mind. There are a lot of factors that go into our state of mind. But the fact remains, if you’re not satisfied with your current state, you can change it by looking at things in a different way.
Giving Yourself Credit
It’s important to give yourself credit–and not just when you need to apply for a loan.
Of course, there are times when you should be especially proud of yourself. If you’ve lost a significant amount of weight or completed a huge DIY project, you deserve praise and recognition.
However, it’s also critical to give yourself credit for the little things that make your life easier, healthier, happier and more balanced.
Giving yourself credit is about more than just passing judgment on your activities–it’s also about setting personal goals and then achieving them, no matter how small they seem.
Instead of focusing solely on the big picture, give yourself a pat on the back for getting things done, staying active and making positive changes in your life. Here are a few examples:
You got out of bed today and went to work even though you felt exhausted.
You made healthy lunch choices at work–even though you were tempted to order delivery pizza with your coworkers.
You went for a walk after dinner instead of binge-watching TV episodes on Netflix.
You put away your phone during dinner so you could spend time talking with your family.
You paid off a credit card balance or other debt this month (and celebrated by paying down another one).
Think of Future Positive Events That Can Also Happen
There are many ways to think positively, and there’s no reason why you can’t be optimistic. The most important thing is that you have an optimistic attitude.
Research has shown that people who have a positive outlook on life live longer than those with a more negative outlook; but even if the research is incorrect, it’s still true that pessimism isn’t good for your health.
While positive thinking doesn’t give you the power to control everything and everyone, it can make you feel better when things go wrong by helping you to see potential solutions or alternatives.
If you’re frustrated or upset, try thinking of something positive that could happen instead — even if it doesn’t seem likely right now. If nothing comes to mind, think of something like “I’ll get over this” or “I know I can do this.” Adapting an optimistic approach to life is an important part of staying in shape.
Minimize the Negative
In my last post I discussed how you can be optimistic and happy by Minimizing the Negative. Not only is it hard to be happy if you’re focusing on the negative, but it’s also hard for others to want to be around you.
Let’s say you’ve just had a bad day. You lost your job, got in a car accident and had your wallet stolen. It happens. It happened to me today! What do you do? Do you focus on all the things that have gone wrong or do you look for the positive in what has happened?
Here are some of the things I noticed while writing this post:
I have a roof over my head to keep me safe while it rains outside.
I have warm clothes and boots to wear when I go outside so I’m not cold and wet when I get there.
I have a laptop that allows me to work from anywhere in the world.
I have an internet connection that allows me to upload this content for anyone in the world to read.
Take Note of the Company You Keep
Your reputation is important, both publicly and privately, with your friends and family.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the details of a job or project — to work 12 hours a day for months at a stretch without taking time to recharge — so it’s important to have some perspective on the people around you, who can help keep you sane and focused on the long run.
If you’re a boss, take care of your employees. If they’re happy and motivated, they’ll be more likely to give their best effort. If they’re not, they won’t want to work for you anyway.
So when interviewing and hiring new employees, take note of the company that they keep: their friends, family members, coworkers and associates.
Turn Off The News
When I say Turn Off the News, I don’t mean only stop watching it, but also limit your consumption of anything that comes under the general heading of “news.” Newspapers, magazines and news broadcasts are all good places to start. But you might also include web sites like the Huffington Post or Daily Kos, or even the front page of Reddit.
The reason to Turn Off the News is simple: The news is almost always about bad things. Wars, murders, corruption, disasters — these are what make news. Even when there’s some good news out there — a reduction in child mortality rates, for example — it hardly ever gets reported.
Now think about how you feel after watching the news for half an hour. Pretty grim, right? When you’re done with that news broadcast, are you eager to go outside and talk to people? Probably not. You’re more likely to want to stay inside and hide from humanity.
Turning off the news will make you happier and more optimistic. But it will also make you more productive, because once you stop consuming it, you’ll realize that there’s nothing important in any of it. All those stories about politicians and wars and natural disasters won’t affect your life one bit — unless they happen right outside your house
Focus On Your Success
When you are Focusing On Your Success, you will be optimistic and happy. Think about it! When you do something that is focused on your success, isn’t it hard to feel bad afterwards? No matter what happens, when you put yourself in a position to be successful, you keep a positive frame of mind.
When I was younger and in sports, I did my best to focus on being successful. I never wanted the ball or the puck because I didn’t want to lose. It was not until many years later that I realized that if I focused on being successful, it wouldn’t matter if I lost or not! As long as I gave it my all and did my best, there was nothing else to worry about.
The same goes for life in general. As long as you do your best and stay focused on your success, there is no way you can fail. If you think about this logic for just one minute, you will see how true it really is. You simply cannot fail if you don’t let yourself fail!
Get A Role Model
Your role model could be your boss, a mentor, or a friend. The point is to find someone who embodies the values and character traits that you want to eventually have.
Think about these questions:
– Who do I admire?
– Why do I admire them?
– What characteristics does this person have that I want to emulate?
– What would it look like if I had these same qualities?
Next time you’re feeling down or going through a rough patch in life, think about your role model.
It’s difficult to feel bad when you’re thinking about people who inspire you. It puts things into perspective.
Challenge Negative Thoughts
Challenging your thoughts, or cognitive restructuring, is a process that helps you become aware of the negative thoughts that can lead to excessive worry and anxiety.
These negative thoughts can be about a specific situation or about life in general, but they are often exaggerated and unrealistic. Challenging these negative thoughts is one way to help you deal with them.
How Does It Work?
Changing negative thinking styles is not easy because it involves changing habits and patterns of thinking that have developed over time.
The first step to challenging your negative thoughts is to identify them as they arise. This may take some practice and you may need to keep a thought diary for a while until you become more aware of your thinking patterns.
Once you have identified any negative thinking, you can then challenge them by asking yourself whether they are realistic, balanced and helpful:
Challenge your thoughts when they are not realistic or based on facts
How often are these thoughts the absolute truth? How often do I jump to conclusions without all the facts? How often do I make assumptions? Is there another way to look at this situation? What evidence do I have that supports my negative thought? Am I over-generalizing from a single event or experience?
Imagining Your Best Self
To be more optimistic, you can try to imagine your best self.
A simple technique for becoming more optimistic is to visualize yourself at your best: imagine a past experience in which you were confident and performed well.
When you recall this event, it will boost your self-confidence and optimism, motivating you to perform at your best even when the going gets tough.
Our research has found that this technique helps people who are struggling with negative feelings about themselves. In one experiment, we asked some participants to visualize a time when they felt confident and in control, while others visualized a time when they felt incompetent or helpless.
Then we tested their confidence before asking them to give an impromptu speech. Those who thought about a time when they felt confident showed higher self-efficacy (their belief in their ability to achieve) than those who had been primed with a memory of feeling incompetent.
In another experiment, we asked participants to compare themselves with their peers and then write about times they felt good or bad about themselves. Those who recalled feeling positive boosted their self-confidence, but those who thought about feeling bad actually became less confident.