What is your overall outlook on life? Is it more positive or more negative? Whichever way you tend to lean, both optimism and pessimism have a powerful impact on your life and your health.
As you may guess, being pessimistic negatively impacts your life. It causes problems such as depression, poor sleep, and heightened stress levels. A pessimistic attitude creates a habit of complaining, seeing what is wrong around you more than what is going well, and it prevents you from trying to improve yourself or your situation. Optimism positively impacts your life and has been scientifically shown to significantly reduce depression, improve sleep, and can increase the quality and length of your life. That’s something to be optimistic about!
It’s important to realize that both attitudes originate from how you think, so all you have to do is to learn how to think differently and make it a habit.
We have listed five of the most important changes you can start making today to help increase your optimism and improve your life and health.
Recognize Negative Thinking
The first is recognizing when negative thoughts creep into your mind. Once you have identified them, make an effort to reframe them in a positive light. This could look like replacing “I’m not capable of this.” with “I can figure this out with some help.” Speak out the positive words you have thought of and focus on that instead. Over time, this practice will help you become more aware of your thoughts and reject the negative ones before they can sink in too deeply.
The next one is to engage in positive self-talk. If you constantly speak negatively about yourself and your situation, then you won’t be able to develop an optimistic outlook on life; however, if you begin to practice positive self-talk such as talking about what you do like about yourself, what is going well, or what you have accomplished, then it will be easier for optimism to grow within you.
Set Boundaries with Negative People and Influences
The people around us have a big impact on how we think and feel about things. This means that having negative people or influences in our lives can make it difficult for us to stay positive because their attitudes will rub off on us if we let them. To counter this effect, set boundaries with those people and limit your exposure to them as much as possible so that you can focus on the positive people and influences in your life.
Stop Comparing Your Life with Others
Comparison leads to feelings of envy, resentment, and dissatisfaction which are not conducive to being optimistic about your own life experiences. Social media can make this especially hard with the constant streams of highlights of other people’s lives. To keep yourself from falling into the trap of wishing you had someone else’s life, be mindful of what you spend time looking at, and focus on the good things that are happening in your own life.
Cultivate a Habit of Gratitude
Being thankful for the good things in life will help keep your outlook positive even on days when things aren’t going so well. When you feel yourself slipping into negative thought patterns, remember all that you are grateful for; it could be anything from the people in your life to the food on your plate.
By making small changes such as these to your thinking, you can start creating an optimistic mindset and reap all the positive benefits that come with it.