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How To Cultivate Your Optimism

Optimism

Optimistic people are happier and more successful than pessimists. Why? When you see the future in a positive light, you tend to take action that moves you toward that future, which in turn gives you a sense of purpose and meaning. When you see the future as bleak, inertia tends to set in, as you may see no hope of a better tomorrow. Here’s how to cultivate your optimism.

Optimism can be learned

Although certain personality traits are embedded in our genes, natural pessimists can learn to be more optimistic. It doesn’t mean always seeing things through rose-tinted glasses, or changing your fundamental personality. It’s about changing some of your perceptions around the events in your life, and how they influence your thoughts and actions.

If you think you could do with a bit more optimism in your life, you might want to start with this simple exercise: think about something that has happened recently that you have negative thoughts and feelings about. It could be a relationship break-up, a job loss, an argument with a close friend. Get a piece of paper and write down all the thoughts you have been having around this incident on the left hand side. Now write some thoughts you might think an optimist would have on the right hand side. It might look something like this:

Left side: Why did this happen to me? It’s not fair. I’ll never be happy. My life is a mess. The future looks bleak.

Right side: This isn’t ideal, but I’m sure I can bounce back. I think I’ll set myself some new goals. Actually, some good things may come out of this. The future looks bright.

Which side do you think leads to a more promising future? The thoughts on the right side do not deny or ignore what has happened, they just interpret the event in a more rational and optimistic way.

Make optimistic thinking a habit

Once you realise how important your perception of what happens to you is, you need to nurture and grow that optimistic mindset. Consciously monitor your thoughts over a period of a few weeks, and you will soon find your thinking habits changing automatically. It may not seem natural at first, and you will have to work hard on changing old habits, but once you start to see the results of your more optimistic attitude, you will want to keep practising it. Of course there will be disappointments, but the optimist sees these as temporary setbacks and learning opportunities.

This is not just a feel-good self-help trend; when you cultivate your optimism it has very real practical benefits for your professional and personal life. Life coaching can help you to make optimistic thinking a part of who you are. If you can learn to incorporate more optimistic thinking into your everyday activities, you will be more successful, and you will be happier.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

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