How To Cultivate An Optimistic Outlook
Some people just naturally have that ‘glass half full’ mentality don’t they? Like my husband. Optimistic is an understatement with that guy. He came into our front room last week after spending a whole day putting up fence panels in sub-zero temperatures, dealing with toddler tantrums and big boy bust-ups, and he said to me “I love our life don’t you? I’m so excited to get the garden all ready for spending the summer in.”
I looked at him aghast and considered punching him in his positive chops. But it occurred to me that in this moment, he was happier than me. And I wanted a piece of that.
I like to think I’m a fairly upbeat person, day to day. I’m a do-er. As long as I’m busy I can keep smiling. But there have been moments in the last year where I have felt pretty hopeless. I came across an article on the website Bossy Girl, insisting that despite it starting out in a national lockdown; 2021 could be our best year yet. Really!? I want a piece of that positivity pie so I put a shout-out to my fellow writers asking for their top tips on cultivating an optimistic outlook and seeing the glass as half full. Here they are in all their hopeful glory.
- Commit to worrying only about the things you can control. Jo Boyne of the website A Rose Tinted World, says that as a born worrier, this is the one piece of advice which limits her anxiety.
- Look for the good in every situation. I mean; this one is right up my street! It’s really the reason this site exists. Making a conscious effort to draw the positives out of a situation which on the face of it is negative, is a life skill worth mastering.
- See your failures as mere hurdles. This one came from Vicki at Blossom Education and I absolutely love it! Failures don’t stop you completely; they just make you pause, reconsider and perhaps change direction. Being self-critical is natural but choosing to look at failures in a different light gives you the freedom to move forward.
- Avoid knee-jerk reactions. Accept that good and bad things will happen to you. How we choose to react to them will have a big impact on how optimistic you feel.
- Practice gratitude. Writer Melanie Varey recommends starting each day with a quick visualisation of something you are grateful for. It can be a person, a place, a skill you have, whatever makes you heart happy. Acknowledge it and say thank you.
- Schedule 15 minutes of ‘joy time’ every day. Whether it’s a hot bath with candles lit, devouring a chapter of a book or having breakfast in peace out in the garden. Fitting in some self care each day will top up your happiness levels.
- Plan things to look forward to. This is a tricky one currently but even planning things that you know may not definitely happen, will still give you a ‘forward focus’, says Maxine Black of Almost the Weekend.
- Congratulate yourself on your achievements. When life feels tough, mentally revisiting times you feel you’ve succeeded or overcome obstacles is a great way to restore confidence in yourself. You can do this!
- Be a person of action. If there are persistent problems in your life; brainstorm ways to solve them Focusing on solutions rather than problems will make you feel powerful and productive, which automatically ups your optimism levels.
- Practice affirmations. There is a lot of evidence which shows that voicing positive affirmations each day leads to a more can-do attitude. Rachel Robinson of the site Learning Through Adventure has found it very beneficial to simply start the day by saying “I am capable of handling whatever today throws at me.”
- Trust the universe! Not all of us are lucky enough, or interested in having faith, in the traditional sense. But trusting in a higher power having your back, might just take the pressure off you.
- Take it a day at a time. If you’re a natural pessimist, it can feel like a mountain to climb to change your entire mindset to being optimistic. The answer is to take it a day at a time, finding small moments of happiness as you go.
- Last but not least; surround yourself with positive people. This one is so important! In both the real world, and on social media feeds, distance yourself from people and things who make you feel bad about yourself and your surroundings. Instagram can be a really dangerous place to be if you’re prone to comparing yourself to others! Seek out influencers and websites who are straight-talking and honest. Ones who embrace body positivity and ageing.
*Huge thanks to the following contributing websites and writers.