It’s common to be struck with a bout of pessimism, or to naturally be more towards the pessimistic end of the perspective spectrum. It’s hard to see the positives in life and become an optimist when you’re lost in the murky waters of negative thinking.
However, Henrik Edberg, the founder of The Positivity Blog is here to share nine ways we can create a more optimistic outlook and positive perspective:
1. Ask Yourself the Right Questions
This is the simplest but perhaps also the most important habit I have discovered in adopting an optimistic mindset. The questions we ask ourselves day in and day out when we wind up in negative, difficult or uncertain situations make all the difference in our life.
A pessimist might ask him/herself questions like:
“Why did this happen to me?”
“Why do bad things happen to me all the time?”
But an optimist asks him/herself the questions that open up the mind to new viewpoints and possibilities. A few of my favorite questions for finding the optimistic perspective are:
“What is one good thing about this situation?”
“What can I learn from this situation?”
“What is one small step I can take today to start solving this situation?”
2. Create a Positive Environment to Live In
The people you spend your time with and the information you let influence your mind will have a huge effect on your attitude and how you think about things.
So choose to:
Spend more time with the people who lift you up. And less time – or no time – with people who just bring you down by being negative and critical. Read: You are the Average of the 5 People You Spend the Most Time With
Let in the information that supports you. Spend less time on negative and self-esteem damaging media sources and spend more time reading positive and constructive blogs and books, watching motivating movies, listening to inspirational songs, and listening to audio books and podcasts created by optimistic people. Check out 12 Inspirational Movies With Important Life Lessons To Learn and 25 Most Inspirational Songs of All Time.
3. Be Grateful for What You Have (Don’t Forget About Yourself Too)
A very simple and quick way to boost the positive energy in your life is to tap into gratitude.
I usually do it by asking one or more of these questions:
What can I be grateful for in my life today?
Who are 3 people that I can be grateful to have in my life and why?
What are 3 things I can be grateful for about myself?
4. Don’t Forget About Your Physical Self
Being an optimist isn’t just about thinking in a different way. It is also about caring for the physical part of ourselves.
I have found that working out a couple of times a week, enough quality sleep each night and eating healthy food has a huge effect on my mindset.
If I mismanage those very basic things then negative thoughts pop up far more often and I become more pessimistic and shut down about the possibilities in my life.
So don’t neglect these basic fundamentals. Just caring for your physical self the right way can minimize a whole bunch of problems in life.
5. Start Your Day in an Optimistic Way
The way you start your morning can set the tone for the rest of your day. For example, a stress-free morning often leads to less stress during the rest of the day.
So how can you set an optimistic tone for your day?
A three-step combination that has worked very well for me is to ask myself a gratitude question during breakfast, read some positive information online or in a book very early in the morning and then follow that up with exercising.
This sets my mind on the right path and fills me up with energy for my day.
6. Focus on Solutions
A sure way to feel more negative about a situation is to sit around and do nothing about it. Instead, use the questions I shared in step one and open up your mind to the possibilities of the situation you are in.
If you have trouble to get started with taking action, ask yourself:
What is one small step I can take today to get the ball rolling?
Then take that small step forward. However small this step is, it can have a big effect in your mood and thoughts. If the step feels too big or it just makes you procrastinate, then ask yourself:
What is an even smaller step I can take to move forward today?
The most important thing is to move forward, even if it’s a tiny baby step.