You might be surprised to hear that optimism is not an innate quality. Optimism and pessimism are ways of looking at yourself and the world through a positive or negative filter. Once you see them as reflections of your mindset, it can become much easier to believe you can change the way you think. We need optimism now more than ever, especially as we are bombarded with pandemic news, sad stories and restrictions have been placed on us but like any new behavior, you need to practice every day for it to become a habit.
Try these six suggestions to cultivate your optimism every day.
1. Keep a journal
Journaling or keeping a diary is powerful, allowing you to process events and to get a different perspective on them. It encourages self-reflection and captures insights into your thinking and behavior. Don’t just write the events of the day but how you did it, what you did to make it happen and what you did right. And, importantly, how it felt while you were doing it. Don’t just record the good things (a promotion, a presentation or meeting that went well), remember to write down the thing that didn’t go so well and reflect on what happened, how you dealt with it, and what you might do differently next time.
Consciously notice the funny side of things and write them down. If the technology didn’t work, and you had to give the presentation without the slide deck, or the power went out, or sound disappeared. What can seem like a disaster at the time can also be looked back on as a comedy of errors and is a powerful way to change from negative to positive thinking. This is also good for noting how you handled the situation and pulling the positives from it.
3. Write to your future
Write a letter or a journal entry that sets out the future you want. What job are you doing? Are you running your own business? What have you learned? What has changed? Imagining how your future life looks and feels can be a strong motivator.
4. Keep a kindness list
Write down in your journal when you are kind to someone, or when someone is kind to you. Don’t discount anything, like praying for someone or vice versa, encouraging people, making new connections online and showing genuine interest, using your expertise to give value to others for free or receiving value. You’ll be surprised at how quickly they mount up, and your ever-lengthening list will give you a different perspective on things.
5. Say thank you and have an attitude of gratitude
Write a letter or email, phone or text someone (a person outside your family) who has been genuinely kind to you. Tell them how much you appreciate what they did or said and how it has affected your life. Be grateful for at least one good thing every day (write it in your journal) and thank the Lord for His blessings.
6. Choose positivity
Each morning decide that today is going to be a great day. Everyone has some level of suffering in their life but consciously choosing to be optimistic gives the power back to you and can make it easier to bounce back from the bad times.