Optimism means being positive and hopeful about the present and the future. Winston Churchill once said, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
According to a 2019 meta-analysis of 15 studies with more than 229K individuals- optimism, as a trait is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular events and pessimism is associated with a higher risk of a cardiovascular event.
Thus, to live longer and happier we need to adopt a healthier way to perceive events and people around us.
What makes us pessimists?
An experience: People start generalizing bad past experiences to all other experiences. For example, if a person fails in the exam, he starts feeling that he will always fail.
People around Us: It is not just about past experiences but also about the people we are spending our time with because as humans we are influenced by what we see and hear around. And if you see negativity around you it might influence you.
How to cultivate Optimism
Think of your best possible self
Spend about 15 minutes to think about the best possible circumstances in the future. Consider your goals and your dreams. Take an approach to solve problems from a position of empowerment. See overcoming adversity as a challenge and imagine the best possible self, focus more on the solutions rather than focusing on the problem.
Challenging your specific negative thoughts
It is the negative thoughts that make us pessimist. The efficient way to understand your negative thoughts is to write them down to record your natural reactions to adversity. Now brainstorm how can you replace your negative thoughts with positive ones. Sharing with you an example.
|Adverse Situation||Negative thought||Replaced positive thought||Problem-solving approach|
|My partner has not called me today||My partner has lost interest in me||My partner’s communication style does not reflect my worth.||Communicate – express mine and partner needs|
Always focus more on the positive side of the situation. It is not you will be denying reality but you are just viewing a situation from a different angle.
Track Your Current Progress
Where was I 5 years back? What has changed since then? What has been my personal growth?
Keep A Daily Record Of Gratitude
Recall good things in your day? What were your small accomplishments? What or who made you feel better today?
Remember: “When it rains looks for rainbows and when it is dark look for stars”