Cultivating optimism is pretty easy, but 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 think of them as reflections of your mindset, it becomes much easier to believe you can change. Like any new behavior, you need to practice every day for it to become a habit. So how does cultivating optimism work?
You can try these six suggestions:
- Keep a journal
Journaling or keeping a diary allows you to process events and to get a different perspective on them. It encourages self-reflection and captures insights into your thinking and behavior.
You can write down what happened during your day and document, not just the bald facts 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.
In case you missed it, there is an entire series about journaling that was posted. For the first in the series, you’ll want to check it out here.
- Laugh to Cultivate Optimism
Consciously notice the funny side of things and write them down. So, if the technology didn’t work, and you had to give the presentation without the slide deck, just laugh about it to your audience. I’m sure that they will understand. Tech doesn’t always work because sometimes the power might go out.
Maybe there was a fire drill in the middle of your crucial meeting. What can seem like a disaster at the time can also be looked back on as a comedy of errors.
Like yesterday, I was attending a webinar when the internet went down, this was not the person’s fault. The entire internet when down in their area. You just have to laugh about it and just reschedule it, which is exactly what this person did.
- 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 powerful motivator. Just like positive thinking will help you get out of negative headspace.
- Keep a kindness list
Have a page in your journal where you note down kind gestures. Write down when you are kind to someone, or when someone is kind to you. Even little things count, like opening a door for someone or letting them go first in the line for coffee. You’ll be surprised at how quickly they mount up, and your ever-lengthening list will give you a different perspective on things.
Here’s a HUGE one for cultivating optimism
- Say thank you
Write a letter or email, phone or visit 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.
I’m sure that there are plenty of people that come into your life you can practice this on. Just think about it, there will be people that pop into your mind.
- Choose positivity
Make a positive choice to develop and maintain an optimistic outlook. Do this every morning when you wake up. Decide that today is going to be a great day. Everyone will have some level of suffering in their life. Choosing to be optimistic will make it easier to bounce back from the bad times and to enjoy and be certain of the good times.
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Optimism is a learned skill like any other skill or habit you want to develop. Having an optimistic attitude of yourself, of life and the world can have a huge impact on your mental wellbeing and resilience. It will even boost your immune system and lower your blood pressure. Studies have shown that optimists have better career prospects and live longer happier lives. Below are Tips for Developing your Daily Optimism. Enjoy reading this article in our continuing series on mindset.
Here are five tips for developing a more optimistic view of the world.
- Identify as an optimist
Self-talk is powerful! Start telling people you’re an optimist, and you’ll soon begin to believe it, and forget you were ever even slightly pessimistic.
- Accentuate the positives
Notice and acknowledge the positive things around you. Small things like having good food, clean water, and being able to read this article for example. Tips for Developing Your Daily Optimism is a good article to read especially when you start to feel down.
A good exercise is to list ten things you’re grateful for every day – they don’t have to be big things, jot down whatever comes to mind. Go ahead, I’ll wait!
- Stop comparing
No good comes from comparing yourself to others. There will always be someone who is richer, thinner, more successful than you at any one time, and their success or luck isn’t connected to you at all. Don’t be tempted to lock yourself into a small, comfortless cell of jealousy. Instead think that if they can do it, so can you. Think abundance (there’s more than enough for everybody) instead of scarcity (if they’re successful then you can’t be).
Tips for Developing Your Daily Optimism – It’s definitely a start, don’t you think so?
- Shift your focus
Optimism is dynamic and forward-looking. Develop a more optimistic outlook by moving on from the past and instead enjoy the present and actively look forward to the future. Optimists also don’t spend much time dwelling on whatever not-so-good things are in their lives. They acknowledge that bad things happen to everyone, and when bad things do happen, it’s not necessarily their fault. Bad times come, and bad times go, and good times usually happen just as often. Tips for Developing Your Daily Optimism is really great to help you focus on your goals also.
- Don’t get hung up on one outcome
Putting all your eggs in one basket is risky, and it’s highly likely you will be disappointed. It’s also harder to pick up and move on if things don’t work out. An optimist will be flexible about outcomes and see that there are lots of different possibilities. If this one didn’t work, another maybe even better opportunity will come along.
Optimism and pessimism are not hard-wired into people. They are qualities you can change. You can choose to develop a more positive outlook on life and find that you’ll have a happier, healthier, better life!
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Stay tuned, there’s more to this mindset series!
There is increasing evidence that being optimistic about life has measurable benefits, not just for your mental health, but your physical well-being too. So, just what are the 5 Benefits of Daily Optimism?
Well, scientific studies have shown that as you become more optimistic, your life will improve in all sorts of ways. You’re even likely to have a longer life, just from being more hopeful and positive.
Among the many benefits of being optimistic are:
- Optimists are healthier
Optimists not only rate their own health and wellbeing as better, but studies have also shown that optimists have better mental and physical health than pessimists. In a study of the effects of positive psychological well-being, optimism was found to be the biggest predictor of improved heart health. Optimists also have lower blood pressure and cholesterol and a lower risk of developing heart disease.
- Optimists live longer
A study by the University of Pittsburgh found that of the 100,000 women studied over eight years, optimists were less likely to die from any cause than women with a more pessimistic outlook. That was confirmed by a later Harvard study that showed the women who had a positive outlook had a much lower risk (nearly 30% less) of dying from serious illnesses. So, you can see that using the daily optimism habit is pretty important even to your health.
- Optimists are happier
It might seem obvious that an optimist would be happier than a pessimist. But, it has been shown that optimists are not just sunnier in their dispositions, but they are measurably happier in their relationships, jobs, and life in general. They deal better with stress, are more resilient in bad times, and produce less cortisol, the stress hormone that leads to inflammation and a lowered immune system.
Daily Optimism is Key
- Optimists have smoother career paths
Researchers from Duke University found that the optimistic MBA graduates they studied were more likely to find a job, earn a higher starting salary, and have more frequent promotions than the pessimists in the group. Optimists also deal better with negative feedback, seeing it as an opportunity to improve and increase their chance of promotion in the future.
- Optimists roll with the punches
Life’s adversities do not crush an optimist; they remain hopeful about the future. Optimism helps you deal with whatever limiting beliefs you have developed and shows you a way out. Being positive about life’s possibilities means you focus on what you can do. It boosts your confidence and makes you more likely to look for constructive solutions. It stops you from feeling stuck or at the mercy of other people.
If you’re optimistic, you know you can do it!
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Gratitude journaling is a popular tool used by coaches and consultants helping people to improve their health and lives. Studies have shown the benefits of mental and physical health. If you are considering whether this could be something that could help you then you probably have questions about what you need and how to do it. Gratitude journaling is actually very low cost and fairly simple.
You will need:
Writing implements: You could use a pen or pencil but why not increase the fun and creative aspect of your journaling by adding color and even texture. Different colored pens or pencils, as well as different styles, can make your gratitude journal not just a record of thanks but also a really creative endeavor.
Notebook: While you could use a piece of paper, keeping a special notebook for your gratitude journal ensures that you will know exactly where you are writing and allows you to review previous gratitude records. Your notebook can be a plain and simple one or you could splash out on a more decorative one. However, why not consider using a plain notebook and jazzing it up yourself.
By decorating a plain notebook or making a book from scratch you are making a greater commitment to the project itself. Your notebook will mean more to you and you will feel a greater connection to it when you use it. After all, if you are writing positive thoughts inside it, you also want to feel happy and proud when you see it.
Time Alone: By taking time out away from disturbances you are giving yourself space to think, relax, and write. You’ll also find that you enjoy the experience of being alone and celebrating those things you are thankful for.
Now you know what you need it’s time to discover how to do it.
Collect your journal and whatever you’ve chosen to write with.
Find somewhere quiet and that you know you won’t be disturbed. Your journaling time should be a time for reflection and celebration free from outside distractions for the best results.
Ensure you are committed to gratitude journaling and that you want to feel happier as well as more grateful as a result. There is no point in just going through the motions of journaling without creating a positive meaningful emotional experience.
When you write, instead of creating a long list of things you are grateful for put some real thought into it. Take time to write about a particular event and describe in detail why you are thankful for it. Remember to record how you felt and why.
Try to include people you are thankful for as much as you can, not just events. By including specific people and the reasons you are thankful for them you will create a greater emotional impact. It becomes more personal.
Include surprises and unexpected events as these will create a stronger sense of gratitude and a more significant emotional impact.
Time to Reflect
Set yourself a weekly date to write in your gratitude journal. While you could journal every day it may be more beneficial to create a habit of writing in your gratitude journal once a week. This will allow you to plan for it and enjoy it.
There are no right or wrong ways to keep a gratitude journal. Everyone’s will be different. However, it is important that you are committed to the process and the outcome, as well as make time for it on a regular basis.
This is the last article in the Journaling Series. I hope you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read and can put it into practice as you go about your life. Remember, you can write all about what you’re grateful for in your business also. Writing in a journal is not just about your personal life. Make it interesting, you might want to go back and read your journal at the end of the year just to see how far you’ve come. I bet you’d be surprised by what you find out about yourself.
Journaling is not just for 12-year-old girls! Journaling can be a powerful weapon in your get-it-done arsenal, and it’s easy to do. You can and should put all kinds of things in a goal journal, not just your thoughts and feelings on a given day.
Journaling is just one way of tracking your actions and successes, and yes, even your setbacks and failures. It also keeps your goal right in front of your face so you keep on top of taking action steps each and every day. It keeps all your ideas and revelations in one place so you can go back and review whenever you want. For example, if you are having trouble getting motivated one day because you feel like you’ve been working hard, but making little progress, going back into your goal journal is a wonderful way to help you see that all of those little actions really are paying off in a big way. So what should you keep in your goal journal? Start with these ideas and add to them as you see fit.
- Detailed goal--Write down your exact goal in as much detail as possible. Describe it in a way that makes you feel excited about what your life will be like when you achieve your objective.
- Your Why--Your Why is the big reason why you want to reach the goal you have defined for yourself. It’s the reason you are willing to take the massive action steps needed to change your life for the better.
- Massive action plans and schedule–When you make the plan for how you will go about reaching your goal, write it here. Writing it down is important so that you can track your efforts so you can see what actions are creating the most results.
- Braindumps--A brain dump is just a list of actions that you need to take in no particular order. Sometimes all the tasks you need to take build up in your head, making you confused about where you should start and what you should do next.
- Prioritize--After you do a brain dump, organize the tasks into a priority list and add them to your daily and weekly to-do lists.
- Daily to-do list–Write out your to-do lists here so they are always handy.
- Aha’s–As you make massive action, you will have inspiration or aha moments when something becomes clear. Capture those ideas here so that you can refer to them later when you are ready to put them into action.
- Journal entries–Yes, you should actually journal. Sometimes there’s nothing better than stream of consciousness writing to help you solve a problem or get your worries off your chest. It’s a therapeutic and inspirational way to work.
Learning to express yourself through creativity is a great way to learn to live more in the moment than in the past or future. It’s difficult to focus on anything but the present when your brain is actively involved in creating. This is one of the ways you can live a healthier, more balanced, more fulfilling life overall. Today’s article is about Expressing Yourself Through Creativity.
There are so many ways to begin expressing yourself through creativity.
Here, we’ll discuss a few of them, but this list is by no means exhaustive!
- Look for beauty in everything around you. A forest full of trees holds beauty just like a city street lit up at night does. Beauty is subjective, and you may find that the things you find beautiful, someone else does not. That’s okay! The point of the exercise is to hone your ability to look for and find beauty in all places – beauty that will inspire your creativity!
- Learn to communicate effectively. You will have difficulty expressing yourself if you can’t communicate what you’re feeling and thinking. Learning to communicate gives you the power to express yourself with words. It allows you the freedom to capture and relate the ideas you have when inspiration occurs. There is no expression without communication of some kind.
- Find or make a creative home for yourself. It could be a room in your home that you dedicate to expressing your creativity. Maybe it is an art studio away from home, or a garden where you feel safe and unencumbered. Wherever you choose, when you get there, you should feel excited to begin creating.
- Take a step in a creative direction by deciding on a form your creativity will take. This never has to be set in stone, and this will change as you evolve. Maybe right now, it is dance, but later it might be drawing, journaling, woodcarving, or cooking. Don’t limit yourself! Try things that interest you, and if you find them fulfilling, wonderful! If you don’t, simply move on to something else.
- Give yourself time to practice every day. You won’t know if you really enjoy something unless you do it. Don’t let the fear of imperfection prevent you from the beginning. And realize that starting something new is always a little scary. The key is in not allowing that fear to stop you from moving forward.
Hopefully, these tips will get you moving in the right direction towards expressing yourself through creativity. Don’t let the fear stop you – just get started! Once you do, I bet you’ll find it hard to stop writing. Who knows, one day you may write a book about all the things you’ve learned about yourself. Hey, you never know!