6 Helpful Steps To Help You Be An Optimistic Person(2023)


1. Get Engaged

No, I’m not talking about proposing to someone. I mean get engaged with an activity that interests you and occupies your mind. The biggest enemy of positive thinking is rumination. When you allow yourself to focus on negative, worrisome thoughts, you can blow up even the smallest problem into gigantic proportions. But when you’re busy, and your mind is focused on something, you don’t have room for ruminating.

Try to find activities that require your full attention, whether it’s a sport, a chess game, or a complicated project. Simply taking a walk or mowing the yard won’t cut it. You need your brain fully occupied to escape those insidious negative thoughts.

2. Counterattack Catastrophic Thinking

When you find yourself ruminating about worst case scenarios, take a moment to recognize what you’re doing. You’re allowing your thoughts to spin out of control. Even though you might feel overwhelmed by the small possibility of a negative outcome, use your logic to determine the actual probability of this bad thing actually happening.

When I lost a friend to ovarian cancer, I went through several weeks of catastrophic thinking, worrying that I’d get this cancer too. Finally, I did some research on risk factors and odds and learned how slim that possibility was. It helped tremendously in breaking the cycle of thinking. I looked at those statistics every time I started ruminating.

Another counterintuitive way to attack worst case thinking is by allowing yourself to exaggerate the situations you envision to point of ridiculousness. This gives you a sense of control over your thinking and diffuses your anxiousness. Maybe you’re worried you’ll lose your house because you’re a day late with your payment. Take it even further, and think about being on the street, sleeping in the back of your car, and dumpster diving. You’ll begin to realize how truly silly and unlikely it is that any of these things will happen.

3. Change Your Explanatory Style

Researchers have found the positive people take credit for good things happening in their lives, and they don’t assume they’re at fault when bad things happen. Pessimists react differently. They take the blame for bad things, and assume when good things happen, it must be a fluke.

Having a positive outlook in difficult situations and assuming you have what it takes to create good outcomes makes a huge difference in the actual results you experience. For example, cancer patients who assume that everything will be OK tend to report significantly greater emotional well-being during treatment than pessimists.

When good things happen in your life, reflect on all you have done to lead up to and contribute to this situation. Mindfully look for the ways you’ve been responsible for your success. When something bad happens, don’t assume you are at fault, that people are out to get you, or you’re always the victim of “bad luck.” Rather be proactive in finding ways to address and correct the situation in a positive, hopeful way.

4. Practice Persistence

Optimists tend to work longer and harder at a problem than pessimists. Persistence pays off in better grades, larger paychecks, and more success at school or on the job. Suzanne Segerstrom, PhD, an optimism researcher at the University of Kentucky and author of Breaking Murphy’s Law, learned how profoundly optimism can impact your bottom line.

In a study of law students, she discovered that a student’s level of optimism in the first year of law school corresponded with their salary 10 years later. On a 5-point optimism scale, for every 1-point increase in optimism they enjoyed a $33,000 increase in annual income.

If you want to practice persistence and enjoy the rewards of your tenacity, simply start “acting as if” you’re an optimist. Assume that the longer and harder to pursue something, the more successful you’ll be at it. Assume that persistence will pay off, even if you don’t feel that level of confidence. Simply changing your mindset this way will actually change your feelings in time so that optimism comes more naturally.

5. Phone a Friend (An Optimistic One)

Start hanging out with optimistic people, and spend less time with those who fuel your pessimism. Optimism is contagious, and it’s far more fun to spend time with happy, positive people than with downers.

If you are married to an optimist, you’ll have a healthier, happier relationship, and your partner can inspire you to practice optimism in your own life. Watch your optimistic friends and notice how they talk, how they handle problems, and how they view the world. Try to emulate their behaviors and outlooks, even if it doesn’t feel natural at first.

6. Reframe Disappointment

Ok, so pessimists (and optimists) do experience real disappointment and failure from time to time. Maybe your worry and negative thinking proved to be legitimate. But now you have another opportunity to shift into optimistic thinking.

Rather to going over and over all of the reasons why you screwed up or how you were a failure, shift your thoughts to the lessons you can learn from this failure. There are plenty of take-aways for personal growth and practical change in every challenge and mistake. Don’t leave this valuable information on the table because you’re clouded by self-blame and negativity.

Optimistic people recognize that failure is inherent in any endeavor, and that failure is often a necessary stepping stone to ultimate success. They don’t view it as the final judgement of their character or abilities, but rather as an important detour on the road to success.

About the Author

A profuse writer that breach through the realms of science and literature crafting narratives.

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