Becoming an optimist

I’m a glass half full person, seeing the positive in most situations. A friend of mine takes the opposite view. Expect the worst and you won’t be disappointed could be his motto.

Can I change him? Should I want to?

What about you, could you be more optimistic?

Research suggests that optimists have better relationships and even live longer and optimism can be learned.

So here are some suggestions for you to try, and I’ll be sharing with my friend too!

Techniques to try

Stop expecting the worse

The problem with expecting the worse is that you miss out on the positive anticipation, such as the joy we have when we look forward to e.g. a holiday.  Many times, the negative doesn’t happen so why not take a more positive view?

ACTION: Each time you start talking about the worse that can happen, stop yourself. Break the pattern by saying STOP out loud or wearing an elastic band and pulling it so it twangs! Then think of a positive alternative.


Stop catastrophising

If you have an argument with someone, you can think this is a breakup or you can think that after a couple of hours they will come and hug you and all will be forgiven.  What happens will most likely be something in between.

ACTION: Stop thinking of the worse that can happen and think of alternatives, so, focus on something else, not the most negative extreme.  It will help you respond better, in this example,  when you talk rather than being overly defensive or going on the attack.


And my favourite technique to lead to a more optimistic view of the future: visualise your life in 10 years’ time.

What will it look like, how will you feel?

You could draw a picture, or create a mood board, or my favourite, to write things down.

  • Write it down, be descriptive.
  • Start by writing every day for a week, taking 10 minutes each time.
  • Day 1 is an overview of your life, and then each day to go a bit deeper into an area: career, health, relationships, family, hobbies and leisure interests, spiritual.
  • In week 2 you take each of these 6 areas and write them out a second time, adding any extra detail you have now thought of.
  • From then on you read through your notes each week and transcribe once a week for the next 6 weeks.
  • This helps you to focus on a positive future. I’ve done this, why not try it?

I’d love to know how you get on – feel free to add a comment below.

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