How To

Seven Practical Ways To Be More Optimistic

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All of us have moments when we feel sad or anxious about our life. Feeling down is normal, but that doesn't make it a good experience. Unhappiness, in excess, can also impair a person's ability to cope with life's challenge and to be productive. Learning to be more optimistic is the antidote to sadness and worry. An optimistic attitude makes it much easier to overcome difficulties and to live well. Here are seven good ways to have a more optimistic attitude to life.


1. Take responsibility.

Some people try to blame others for anything that goes wrong in their life. Recognizing that you and only you are in charge of your life will give you a healthier outlook on the world. If things go badly, don't look around to see who you can blame. Look at yourself first. Discovering what you did wrong will give you knowledge of how to do better in the future. Knowing that you are master of your own fate will allow you to put your mistake behind you and proceed forward optimistically.

2. Reflect.

Taking some time, even just a few minutes, to step back and consider all you have to be thankful for can really change your attitude to life. Instead of only seeing the bad side of things, you'll be reminded of all you have to be glad for. Think about things like your family, your friends, your health, and your career. Is every aspect of your life a reason for joy? No, of course not. But you probably have more to be optimistic about than you had thought.

3. Make plans.

Optimism is all about looking towards the future. If you have nothing to look forward to, being optimistic will be impossible. Solve the problem by setting goals for your life. Want to start your own business? Want to get in shape? Whatever your dream, make a plan with a concrete goal for your future. With a vision of what's to come in mind, you'll feel as if your life has direction and meaning.

4. Take pride.

A big part of feeling optimistic is knowing that you are capable and competent. Negative people will credit even their own success to luck or the efforts of others. Look back at your life and everything you've accomplished. Examine each event and you'll see how your success was due to your own skills, habits, character, and perseverance. It's not a coincidence that you achieved these things, so why not look to the future with hope? More success can be expected.

5. Get help from others.

Inevitably, there will be times when you feel pessimistic and unhappy. In such situations you need good friends to help put you back on even keel. If you've lost perspective and are seeing the world in a completely negative light, a friend or family member can help you recover. Negativity can be like a poison that worsens with time. Stop the damage by venting your feelings to someone you know will help you see the good side of life again.

6. Take joy in simple things.

Pessimists see only the bad side of reality. Such people think that the things they don't have are the most valuable things in the world. A healthier attitude is to get happiness from simple things, such as the beauty of nature, your health, or your closest family members. Money, material things, and status don't really make us happy, so don't waste your time wishing you had them. Taking joy in what is already yours is a better path to optimism and happiness.

7. Improve your surroundings.

The TV you watch, the books you read, and the people you spend time with all have an enormous effect on your mentality. Surround yourself with negativity and you will soon acquire a harmful mindset. Examine your life and cut out the most damaging influences, replacing them with more positive things. For example, stop watching that TV show that leaves you depressed and angry. Use the time to do something productive instead, or watch a more upbeat program.

Optimism is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. Optimism is like an all-purpose tool that makes the task of living life well far easier to accomplish. Don't let negativity and a pessimistic mindset ruin your life — begin a new life of optimism and happiness today.

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About the author

Steven Aitchison

Steven Aitchison is the author of The Belief Principle and an online trainer teaching personal development and online business.  He is also the creator of this blog which has been running since August 2006.