Optimism is defined as “hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something.” Depending on what the current situation looks like, it can be tough to stay optimistic. And while it’s important to not become totally unrealistic, being optimistic in the face of challenges can offer a more positive perspective. We’ve pulled together some tips to help you be a bit more optimistic.
Understand the Source
Optimism (and pessimism) are thought to partly be a mindset that’s passed down from your parents. Part of that is going to be genetic, but another hefty portion is just the behaviors and habits you learn from your family. There’s plenty of room to recognize why you might not be quite so optimistic — and hopefully change it.
Think back to the definition of an optimist: they have a certain view about what the future holds. So start thinking, and think big about the next 10 years.
Look at Past Successes
If the past predicts the future, try to highlight the things you succeeded at in your own memories. We seem to remember the bad more than the good already, so it’ll take a bit of work.
Understand Your Reactions to Setbacks
When something less than ideal happens in your life, that’s the perfect time to remind yourself that even the best lives lived have down points.
Optimists are often better at looking as a single bad life event as a one-off thing instead of part of a whole (downward) trend.
If the people around you constantly have the same negative reactions, it’s tough to be the odd person out. This can be tough to navigate, especially with family. Try making a new friend with a sunnier outlook.
Challenge Your Own Thoughts
Have you had a stray negative thought lately? We all do. But what do you do about it? Do you let it take hold and fester? Slip past without thinking much about it? Or do you challenge the negative thought in your head?
Instead of focusing only on a problem when it occurs, think about the possible solutions. This helps you identify whether something is actually in your control, plus you may be able to take positive steps forward.
Put Things In Perspective
Do you tend to assume the worst? Let’s say you just fought with a friend. An extremely negative assumption may be that they’re deleting your contact information right that second. The flip side of this might be to assume that they’re just about to call you up and apologize for everything. Reality is likely somewhere in between. This method can help you find it and be optimistic.
Treat this one like any other muscle. Optimism will need practice and regular fine-tuning!