Some are born with that innate ability to seek out the good in every situation and do their best to make the most of it. For the rest (most) of us, optimism, particularly during difficult times, presents a bit of a challenge. Fortunately, optimism can be learned and maintained through practice. Here are seven tactics for incorporating more optimism in your day-to-day life.
Attempt to stay in the present. Worrying too much about the future or fretting needlessly over the past gets in the way of optimism. The past cannot be changed, and, while there are ways to prepare for the future, it’s still unknowable. Ground yourself in the present moment, and you’ll find it much easier to remain optimistic.
Challenge your negative thoughts. We all face negative thoughts from time to time. Whether they’re about yourself, the current situation, or those around you, you have the power (with practice!) to challenge those thoughts by looking for the good in every situation. It might be hard at first, but the more you practice, the easier it becomes.
Focus on what you have, not what you lack. The more you focus your attention on what you’re thankful for, rather than what you desire or lack, the easier it becomes to embrace a positive attitude. When you’re struggling with optimism, consider what you have to be thankful for and your mindset will instantly shift.
Recognize that emotions come and go. Many people confuse optimism and happiness. However, happiness is an emotion, and, just like sadness, anger, or any other feeling, it will fade. Focusing on your mindset (which you can control), rather than your emotions (which may be out of your control), will make optimism easier.
Surround yourself with positive people. The people around you matter a great deal when it comes to optimistic upkeep. While it’s not possible to choose everyone with whom you interact (coworkers, classmates, family members, etc.), you can sometimes choose how often you interact with certain people. Limit time spent with those who bring you down, and spend more time with those who lift you up.
Practice personalized self-care. “Self-care” isn’t just about relaxing bubble baths and journaling. For an optimistic outlook, it helps to practice personalized self-care – doing what brings you relaxation and serenity. It make take some time to find exactly what self-care activity is best for you, but once you find what works, practice it as often as you can.
Spend time doing what you enjoy. It’s much easier to be optimistic when you’re doing what you love to do, so do your best to make that activity a priority. Ideally, you’d spend the majority of your day doing uplifting, inspiring things, but if that’s not an option, do the best you can to carve out time to spend doing what makes you feel fulfilled.
Whether or not optimism comes easily to you, incorporating these seven tactics into your life will increase how positive you feel. It may take time to make optimism your mind’s default setting, but the more you practice, the easier it becomes – and nothing will transform your everyday life more than embracing an outlook of optimism!
Dani DiPirro is the founder of Positively Present and the author of a variety of self-help books, including the recently released Everyday Optimism: How to Be Present and Positive at Work, at Home, and in Love. To keep up with the inspiration she shares daily, follow her on Instagram @positivelypresent.