Have you ever wondered whether you are an optimist or a pessimist? Or, are there times when you are just stuck somewhere in between—not particularly being positive or negative?
Do the things happening around you impact you in one way or the other? How does that impact feel or look like to you? Upbeat or downbeat?
All of those questions point to one thing: Your worldview or outlook on life.
The reality is that some of us are more negative than positive and we never give it much thought. But if you always have a negative view of life, chances are you'll end up in more negative situations than you'd want.
On the other hand, if you are more positive than negative, you’ll attract more positive opportunities for yourself and lead a happier life. As Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor from 161 to 180, said:
"Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking."
So, when you look at your situation and experiences from a psychological point of view; that is look at behavior and actions not only through the eyes of the observer, but also through the eyes of the person doing the act, you soon realize you have a lot of power to determine how it impacts you.
You are not helpless. You can control how you perceive and respond to things.
If you choose to be more optimistic than pessimistic about situations, even those pesky uncertainties in it turn to be helpful. You seek and focus more on the good things and positive aspects of things, probing deeper for the possibilities you can tap and lessons in every situation.
Nurture Healthy Positivity and Optimism in Your Life
Rather than always pointing out the flaws in everything and in every situaltion, embrace balanced, healthy positivity in your life and be on the lookout for the things that bring you a sense of joy and satisfaction.
Here are some simple tips you can use to take charge of your outlook on life and increase your optimism and sense of joy and happiness all round.
1. Let go of the past.
The past can affect and torment your mind and thinking process. You can reminisce the past, cherish it, but you cannot live it again. The adage, "Past is a nice place to visit, but not to stay," rings true.
If you are stuck in the past and keep recollecting the past, you might start to miss the opportunities of the present. You don't want your past to steal your present and future. Let go of the past regardless of how affecting it was.
Learn lessons from past experiences and use the lessons to inform your present and future. The present and future will blossom when you settle the account with your past.
2. Express more gratitude.
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. Saying, "Thank you," even for simple, seemingly negligible things inspires a positive energy and strengthens your optimism muscles.
When you are grateful in life even for small things, you feel happy and attain satisfaction. You recognize and appreciate the value of the things you already have, which are oftentimes a luxury for other people.
List down things you are thankful for every day and the people who have been helpful to you along the way. You will have a long list you can turn to for strength whenever you feel you’re slipping into pessimism.
3. Be vulnerable sometimes.
An amazing thing happens when you allow yourself to be vulnerable with trusted people: You become more receptive to help, support and guidance from others, which inevitably increases your odds and chances of winning and emerging victorious.
Also, be willing to fail. Take calculated risks and work towards your goals without losing hope. Granted situations won’t always be ideal and not every plan you have will work out, but that’s not a bad thing. You learn and grow in the process. You build resilience and capacity to make the best of every situation.
As the saying goes, "The most successful people today were failed people then." Accept that bad things can/will happen, but know you have what it takes to bounce back each time.
4. Associate with positive people.
The company and group of people you keep around you play a big role in shaping your outlook on life. If you are constantly surrounded by negative people, your thinking process and approach becomes negative and unconstructive. You start squabbling over small things and may not even enjoy your own achievements and happy moments.
So, surround yourself with positive people instead. Just being around positive people can lift your mood when you’re feeling downcast.
Positive people have a worldview that helps them bounce back faster when things go array. Associate with them and keep a cheerful attitude. You'll learn to be more positive and build inner happiness that makes you less reliant on outside sources of happiness and more reliant on your own inner emotions and thoughts.
5. Stop being stubborn.
The thing that often fosters a negative attitude is being overly stubborn. Some people are unwilling to yield whatsoever, and won't let go of negative experiences from the past. For instance, they'll hold on to that one bad thing that happened to them in the morning and overlook all the many other good things that happened in the day.
Don't cling to negativity. Let it go and it won’t hold you hostage and affect your mood negatively. After all, "For every night, there is a brighter day." Just don’t be dogged about the wrong things.
6. Don't count the days, make the days count.
A popular mantra says, "Live every day as if it is your last." It suggests to value every day and make the most of every moment you are alive because one day it will all come to an end. You won't live here on earth forever. But, how many of us practice this mantra? Only 5-10 percent of us, maybe.
Most of the time we spend our days holding onto grudges and find ourselves sleeping engulfed by a cloud of sadness and resentment each night. The next day, we repeat the cycle which makes us more and more cranky and frustrated. Until and unless you break this cycle, it will haunt you and keep making you unhappy.
The message here is simple, "Chop off the problem before it chops you." Giving power to negativity only brings you misery; taking power away from it makes you stronger and happier.
7. Stop the blame game.
Stop blaming others for everything. Blaming others might cause you to sleep easy at night, but it doesn't solve the issue that caused the problem. You will still have the problem hanging around your neck for as long as you keep blaming others.
Own up to your mistakes to put the matter to rest. The way you own up to things and interpret life's ups and downs says a lot about you. When bad things happen, pessimists blame others while ptimists take responsibility for the part they played in the problem.
Optimists see the issue as a temporary problem that will soon pass. Optimists don't get hung up on negativity. For you to have lasting happiness and success, accept your part in the problem, face it head-on and resolve it as best as you can. Then, you will move on in life with a light heart and happy disposition.
Besides, the only behavior you have full control of is your own.
8. Try one more time.
Ditch the self-limiting habit of very quickly saying "I quit" whenever things get a little difficult or tough. Long after naysayers and pessimists have lost hope and gone home, the optimist tries one more time and resolves challenges and difficulties.
Persistence will help you feel super good and vindicated when you ultimately achieve what you set out to achieve or find other better ways to realize your dreams. At the end of the day when you go to sleep, the satisfaction of having tried again and won will bring you great peace and satisfaction in life.
Perseverance is a trait of winners not whiners.
9. Keep a journal.
It's easy for people to remember negative things that happen to them than recollect the positive things that happened. Ask anyone, they'll probably be able to list seven worst things that happened to them today in a heartbeat as compared to the best things that happened to them.
We are prone to recording negative situations in our minds than positives, which serve to lower our optimism and joy. Let's reverse this habit by recording good things in a journal. List the five best and five humorous things that you experience each day. Include details about how those positive things happened.
Even if you begin journaling in an awful mood, the writing process is therapeutic and has a way of lifting your mood and joy. It will change your outlook from cynicism to optimism, and you'll ultimately be happier and more successful.