13 Things Pessimists Can Do To Become Optimists

To state the obvious, life is hard as hell sometimes. Spend enough time as an adult and those rose-colored glasses through which you used to see things begins to go grey. Still, looking at the bright side of things makes life feel a lot easier to deal with. If you struggle to stay positive, here are some tips.

Practice being grateful.

When you’re constantly focusing on the bad things that life throws your way, you can miss out on the things that are actually going good. Stop and think about the small joys that you’re taking for granted. Ask yourself: what am I grateful for today? Come up with at least three times and reflect on them. It’ll influence your perspective positively.

Choose to see the silver lining.

It might seem like the most obvious, cliche thing to do, but research shows that 40% of your happiness is determined by your outlook. There’s a lot you can’t control in life, but the big difference between a positive person and a negative one is how they perceive or react to setbacks.

Spend time outdoors and take in the world around you.

Whenever you feel overwhelmed by negative thoughts or emotions, it always helps to take a break from your surroundings and go outside. Try to concentrate on how the sunlight washes over your skin, the sounds that reach you, the scenery, the smells, things that show how big and wonderful life is. Surrounding your home or workspace with plants will also help brighten your thoughts.

Try making someone else feel better.

Showing kindness to other people will uplift your thoughts and take the focus away from the bad stuff. Give an honest compliment, help someone carry their bags, hold the door open, listen as someone complains, pay for another person’s cup of coffee, or donate something to charity: blood, food, money, clothes, or even your time.

Start your mornings with a positive mantra.

What you do in the mornings often sets the tone for the rest of the day. If you start off thinking negatively, you’re likely to stay with that emotion all the way through. Pick a quote, song lyrics, or any random words that bring you some relief. I like “There’s always another dawn” and “Things come and go.” Work your mantra into a positive conversation with yourself everyone morning.

Be kinder to yourself.

We are often our own harshest critics. You’re human, which means you’re imperfect, so don’t beat yourself up so much over your mistakes. So what if you lost your job, are going through a breakup, or some painful life situation? It’s OK to feel sad and hurt. Just know that you will wake up to a more forgiving morning. Accept there are things you can’t change and start moving forward.

Don’t knock meditation.

The reason meditation is such a popular recommendation for getting into a positive flow is because it works. A few minutes of being mindful will help you move gradually away from the negative thoughts you’re consumed with. Relax, take deep breaths, and know that you’ve got this!

Write down your hopes for the future.

Negativity can often stem from a belief that if there’s a chance that things will get bad, they will. So thinking about the good things you want to have in the future and the best version of yourself you want to be can help you feel positive about the present because it is what will take you where you want to go.

Spend more time with positive people.

The things and people you surround yourself with will affect how you think and feel. Talk to the people who make you feel better about yourself. Get yourself a good support system, friends you can laugh away your troubles with, a partner who loves you in a healthy way.

Sing, smile, and sing some more.

Channel your inner Beyonce. Play your favorite feel-good songs and sing along to them. Put as much heart as you can into the performance and give your fullest and widest smile. It sounds dumb but your mood will thank you for it.

Make a regular workout schedule and stick to it.

Whenever I feel myself stuck in a negative thought cycle, I break out my workout mat for 15-30 minutes and it always reboots my headspace. Exercising several times a week will help get you out of that pessimistic loop.

Cut down on worrying.

I’m an anxious person, so I’m capable of turning the smallest issue into an impending apocalyptic catastrophe. I’ve been able to reduce the impact of this bad habit in my life by simply approaching the problem one step at a time instead of throwing my entire physical and mental energy at it. Taking some of the pressure off will help you think more positively.

Live in the present.

Ruminating on what you did, what you should have done, the wrong that was done to you, or the bad thing that happened or will happen can only send you to a dark place. When you find yourself going down that slippery path, opt out of the simulation. Find your way back to the present, the moment you’re in, because it’s the only place that truly matters.

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