Top Ways to Develop an Optimistic Outlook
Look for the good in life
Some people are naturally born with an optimistic outlook. Nothing ever truly seems to get them down, at least not for long.
For other people, it can be much tougher to see the positive in things, when cloud start to darken the horizon. It is possible to develop an optimistic outlook, even if you weren’t born this way. Here are the best ways to work on looking for the good in life, and letting go of the bad.
As Winston Churchill once said, “An optimist sees an opportunity in every calamity; a pessimist sees a calamity in every opportunity.”
Gratitude is essential
One of the best ways to feel happier with your life is to be grateful and practice gratitude, said Toni Coleman, a psychotherapist and relationship coach.
“In my practice, we talk a lot about being more positive due to the usefulness it has in reducing stress, depression, and helping them get through the life challenges that they are often confronted with. My top tip—practicing gratitude. Essentially this means finding one to three things every day to be grateful for. I recommend that folks take some time first thing in the morning and identify things that they are grateful for. These can be as small as a lovely day or that they had a good night’s sleep, to having a home they love, a supportive spouse, a good job, and/or healthy kids,” Coleman said.
“Once they have identified and reflected on these for a few moments, I ask them to repeat this several times throughout the day. All it takes is a quick moment to think about each (or one) and let the positive feelings flow through them,” she said.
Look for opportunities
Dr. Lesly Devereaux, author of Breaking Codependency, and a motivational speaker and life coach said, “The ability to remain optimistic in troubling times allows an individual to look beyond the negative, learn from and deal with it so that when it arises again they are equipped. Optimism is a state of mind and therefore a choice. You must decide and commit to being optimistic in order to succeed in your endeavors.”
The following are ways to cultivate an optimistic outlook on life, according to Devereaux:
- Belief and determination: Fostering optimism begins with clinging to ideas even when confronted with evidence to the contrary. The belief in your abilities is so strong that you refuse to allow obstacles to deter you.
- Look for the upside in failure: Reframing your thinking about loss, adversity, or failure allows you to look for the silver lining and turn negative situations into to positive outcomes.
- Make the end your beginning: The end of anything, good or bad is the beginning of something new. Looking at negative opportunities as the chance to begin something new and exciting is the healthy way to view life.
- Operate in the present: Tomorrow is not here yet; do not overwhelm yourself with negative thoughts of the future.
- Focus on the big picture: Looking at the piece of the puzzle in life which presents the greatest challenge can cause a sense of hopelessness. Focus positively on what the grand picture looks like once all the pieces of life are in place.
- Surround yourself with positive energy: Control your environment by choosing the people that surround you. Optimistic people fuel positive thinking in you.
- Words matter: Words are like a two edge sword. Negative thinking translates into negative speaking. Positive thinking translates into positive speaking.
- Don’t be held hostage to your past: You can’t change what has happened in the past but you can influence your future my learning and letting go.
- Remember the half full glass: Your attitude will either make you or break you. Remain upbeat and expect good things to happen. Work hard to change your mindset because it really matters.
- Take care of your body: There is evidence that suggest that good health is directly related to positive thinking. Practice regular exercise and nutrition in order to promote a healthy attitude.
- Honor your spiritual and emotional space: Inspire your thought by reading, journaling and meditating daily.
- Accept what you cannot change: Proactively change what you can about your situation. Learn to manage situations in life which you have no control over and cannot change this promotes a positive outlook.