By Rachel Lyon
Life Coach, kindcody
26 September 2020
Learn how to become more optimistic in your own life! Rachel walks us through some really useful tips.
How to be more optimistic.
There are a lot of people that believe that they are optimistic and generally lean towards the good in life. But, being optimistic isn’t as simple as being positive or always smiling; sure, it helps, but what you might not be aware of are all of the little things that actually cross the line into pessimism.
Our minds are designed to keep us safe.
Being happy is not number 1 on the mind’s list of to-dos’, which is why we are naturally more likely to look for the risks in a situation before we think about the rewards it may bring.
How many times do you think “I can’t do that because I will look stupid, I’ll embarrass myself” or “my partner won’t like it”, “my mum will shout at me”. We put off doing things that we want to do because of the looming fear of either being disliked, judged, being in a difficult situation or the unknown. We believe that we are keeping ourselves safe, but really, it is just a form of pessimism.
That doesn’t mean to just go out and do whatever you please, you have to be responsible and realistic, but just be aware or think back to times when you have put something off because it was just outside of your comfort zone.
What is optimism? Optimistic people think about things in a different way. They may recognise risk when doing something new but let go of it and instead re-frame their thinking to the good it can bring them. They choose to concentrate on and believe in the good instead of getting sucked into the negatives of a situation. Even with looking at things in the past, optimistic people will see things through a different lens, another perspective, which doesn’t bring their past into their present. They may pick out what they learnt from the past situation and how they have benefited, no matter how small. This impacts the way they talk and the actions they take.
Psychologist Martin Seligman proposed that:
‘how you explain the situations and challenges you face determines whether you are a glass-half-full or half-empty type of person’.
Here are a few examples of things you may do that actually indicate pessimism. 1. Using words like always and never. 2. See good things that happen as temporary. For example, you may say things like ‘It’s my lucky day’ or ‘Today is a great day’ which would imply that most days are not. 3. You may react to setbacks by assuming that you had no control over the event 4. You may display learned helplessness, which is where you react to all events saying ‘I give up’ or ‘no matter what I do, it never works’
8 quick tips to help grow your optimism gene. Here are a few tips that you can implement in your daily life in order to reduce any pessimistic habits. 1. Focus on solutions rather than problems. Try not to become fixated on how a problem can affect you. Instead, use that energy to come up with problem solving strategies. 2. Find the good in every situation- it is always in there somewhere. You might just need a change of perspective to see it. 3. Acknowledge negativity, but don’t let it consume you. If you just ignore it, it will come back to bite you later. 4. Keep good company. Negative people can have an influence on you. 5. Remind yourself what you can and cannot control. 6. Take responsibility for yourself in everything that you do. Do NOT blame. 7. Remember that you have a choice. Choose how you react. 8. Believe that you can do something. If you are alive, you have the means to find a path.
Being optimistic is about shifting your perspective to help you pick out the positives in life. It is about challenging your negative belief patterns and working on reframing them. Optimism is not a quick external fix, where you smile all day long and expect to suddenly feel good about life. Optimism can grow naturally as a result of challenging your attitude and behaviours.