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How to be an Optimist

It’s cold, we’re in yet another lockdown and we haven’t seen our friends and family for what seems like an age.  Staying positive is difficult and overthinking the news and endless hours on social media can leave us feeling pessimistic for the future.  But with the promise of a new vaccine and our lives returning to something resembling normality maybe it’s time to become an optimist?  Research suggests that optimists are healthier and lead less stressful lives than those with a pessimistic outlook.  But how do we switch our mind set to become more optimistic?  Here’s a few handy tips that could help.

  1. Focus of your successes.  Success doesn’t have to be climbing mountains, work promotions or winning medals.  Success is when you have faced a challenge and overcome it.  This could be cooking a family meal from scratch, teaching your child to ride a bike, running your first mile or as simple as getting out of bed every day.  By identifying your struggles in the past and reminding yourself that you smashed them, you can help overcome future challenges.  Dare we say it, we might all look back at lockdown and reminisce that it was a time of learning and growth opportunity!
  2. Stay in the present moment.  It’s all too easy to watch the news and worry for the future.  Each day focus on what’s important at that very moment.  Keeping you and your loved ones safe and happy will no doubt be a priority.  Don’t let your mind wander to the future. Neither you, nor anyone else can predict what’s going to happen.
  3. Connect with positive people – Social connections are the key to happiness, but cultivating these connections can be tricky at the moment.  If your current social circle leaves you feeling pessimistic why not join a new one?  There’s a whole host of apps that bring together like minded people such as Peanut, where new mums and those with young children chat about the trials and tribulations of motherhood, and MeetUp which allows you to find friends with similar interests, from mountain biking to knitting.  Until we can meet in person these apps have created genius ways to stay in touch online.  For connections closer to home why not look no further than your neighbours and organise a virtual meet-up or, if you live in a managed apartment block, speak to your General Manager as some companies, such as Fresh, offer a virtual community programme to bring residents together.
  4. Practice makes progress.  No one can change their mind-set overnight.  Once you’ve made the choice to be more optimistic take one day at a time and don’t berate yourself should your thoughts turn negative.  Stay in the positive and before you know it you’ll be an optimist and from there the future will look all the brighter.

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