It is difficult to maintain a positive attitude when there is so much negativity around us. We are inundated with news, and everything is negative! Horrible! People are angry and stressed out! We can’t always control the world around us, but we do have some power over our own lives.
For your own mental well-being, it is important that you use this power to be an optimist and to identify the positive things in your life. This will have a significant impact on how you feel and how you view your experiences. If you are an optimistic person, you expect a positive outcome even when dealing with difficult situations. If you tend to be a pessimist, you expect a negative outcome. In fact, this pessimism sometimes becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
If you tend to be a pessimist, there are ways you can improve your outlook:
Focus on changing negative thoughts to positive ones. This sounds hard, but can be done.
Start by becoming aware. You probably don’t realize the extent of your negative thinking. Keep a log and jot down these thoughts. Changes cannot be made unless you clearly understand how you think and perceive situations.
Correct negative thoughts and statements. Once you are able to identify your negative thoughts and patterns, you can begin to consciously substitute positive thoughts and statements. Do not dwell on negative thoughts – try to put them aside. It is a process to make changes, and will take focus and commitment to succeed. Start slowly and build on your success.
Monitor your efforts and progress. This is where a journal or log can be helpful. You can look at specific changes rather than vague ideas. Also, see if it makes a difference in how you are feeling. Are you calmer? Are you worrying less?
Be engaged. Make sure you are physically active: find something you enjoy doing and do it! Physical activity promotes a sense of well-being, decreases body tension, and stress. Make sure you spend time with people you like and participate in activities you enjoy.
Stay in the moment. People often waste time dwelling on “what if”, something that may never happen. They are not able to live fully because they are expecting the worst. Focus on “what is” not “what if”!
Believe that things will get better. Sadness and depression are usually temporary states. Review what you are doing to make you feel better
Let go of guilt. If you did something wrong, take responsibility for it. Make amends, apologize, and move on. Don’t “wallow” in guilt – you are expending emotional energy that could be used for something more productive.
Don’t be afraid to make choices. Some choices have negative consequences and some have positive. Do the best you can. If a choice you make turns out badly, remember you can always learn from your mistakes.
Though it is difficult to always be an optimist, the steps above give you a few pointers to stay on the bright side of things.