Is the water in your glass half-full or half-empty? It’s as full as you believe it to be. Your perceptions impact the way you interact with the world around you and determine if you are an optimist or a pessimist.
Did you know you can cultivate optimism? Even though it is a personality trait, it is a skill that can be learned. The first step is wanting to be optimistic. If you are not motivated to adjust any thoughts or behaviors, nothing will change.
Why Learning Optimism is Important
Numerous experiments and studies show that optimists do better in school and work. Overall, they generally age well and evidence suggests that they can even live longer. Additionally, pessimists often get caught up in the idea of perfection, worry and get stuck.
As you are cultivating optimism, keep your feet on the ground. Being overly optimistic can be just as unhealthy as being pessimistic. It can cause you to make decisions based on a false sense of reality. The end goal is to become or remain optimistic while striving to maintain a balanced reality.
Ways to Cultivate Optimism Now
Focus on the present moment
It’s easy to zero in on the past or worry about the future. Instead, develop mindfulness in all your activities.
Too often, people think happiness needs to come from an external source. Finding a better job, a new house, affording a nicer car, etc. Instead, the state of happiness really comes from being, not having.
Take note of all the good going on in your life right now. When you focus on this positive mindset, optimism will come naturally.
Be kind to others
You can think of optimism as having a boomerang effect. When you donate to a cause or do a kind gesture for a neighbor, you also benefit by what’s called a “helper’s high”.
Change your words
Reworking your thoughts puts things in a new perspective. When you notice a pessimistic thought, take a moment and stop. Think about how you can somehow make that scenario a positive one. Another example is paying close attention to your words. For example, instead of saying, “failure”, change it to “learning experience”.
Create short, powerful statements that can be used to remind yourself to be positive and persevere. What sparks optimistic thoughts for you? Keep a reminder of that handy.
Using these simple ideas to cultivate optimism will take practice. Before you know it, though, you will be an optimist.