5 steps to become an optimist

Have you ever been in one of those really challenging moments when you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel (or worst yet, you can but you think it’s an oncoming train)? It’s in these moments you might wish you knew how to become an optimist. You’re not alone in this.

Become an optimist

Image from Quotez.co

Being an optimist is hard enough without challenges so when there’s a road block it pretty much flies out the window! But the great news is this is a habit you have the power to change. And there are enough reasons for you to do that. Research has shown that optimists deal better with stressful situations, adapt better to negative events and are more effective in problem solving. They’re usually also healthier, have stronger immune systems and cope better with illnesses as they’re more likely to approach their doctors earlier for help. Contrary to common belief, optimists aren’t in denial of challenges but instead take a more positive, proactive approach towards them. This has also lead to findings that being an optimist at work improves productivity.

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. ~ Winston Churchill

So really, what is there not to like about being an optimist? Well you can test it out yourself. Here’s a 5-step exercise that science has shown can help you become an optimist (adapted from Seligman’s ABCDE model, 2003). Do this in the face of challenge, or even reflecting back on a past challenge, and remember to ask yourself these questions repeatedly and repetitively to build optimism into one of your positive habits!

Become an optimist with these 5 steps

  1. Identify a challenge (present or past). – E.g. I strained a hip flexor the day before my first motivational talk & hence risked not making it.
  2. What are the usual beliefs you have when it occurs or has occurred? – E.g. I have to cancel it. They’ll never invite me back. They’re going to tell everyone I’m unreliable. I’ll never get an opportunity like this again. My credibility is dead. No one will ever hire me again.
  3. What are the consequences of your beliefs? – E.g. Feeling sad, disappointed, and self-critical. Felt angry towards my body. I panicked and froze.
  4. How can you dispute these routine beliefs?  – E.g. Let’s get realistic. It’s just one speaking engagement. There’ll be many more opportunities. Accidents happen and I’m sure they’ll understand. Also, maybe I can find a pair of crutches to borrow from my doctor’s or buy from somewhere nearby.
  5. How do you feel after having successfully disputed it? – E.g. After disputation, I felt more relaxed, motivated and confident. I suddenly came up with all these ideas on how to overcome it. I ended up being able to borrow crutches from my doctor’s and did the talk just as promised!

And even if sometimes things don’t go as planned, I still agree with Einstein…

I’d rather be an optimist and a fool than a pessimist and right. ~ Albert Einstein

Now here’s a challenge for you. Can you think of one time when you came across a challenge and complete the exercise for it? Comment below with your thoughts on how you felt after it!

If you enjoyed this post, please like it, tweet it, pin it and share it – you can help build more happiness in this world by doing it!

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Good luck in your adventures until next week!

Happy Regards,

Susanna


4 Comments

  • Anand says:

    Hey Susanna,

    First let me thank you for this wonderful blog. I m a new wibe to your blog and I liked it very much.

    Myself from India. Your post conveys good messages and brings out the positive sides of life. Specifically some of the messages you convey even though we
    already know, I personaly feel we loose those as we grow and side tracked by the environmental or situational events happening of happend to us.

    I hope to follow your blog. You are awesome!

    And my special thanks to you for sharing quote from my favourite hero – Mathma Gandhi.

    Cheers
    Anand.

    • Thanks for your kind words & glad to hear you find the tips useful.
      I’m also a big fan of Gandhi, he is full of wisdom!
      If you want to be the first to know about new blog posts & get extra happiness tips, subscribe to my free weekly newsletter in the top left box! :)

  • Michelle says:

    I am a student and a mother and every time I get a migraine (which are pretty severe and last up to 3-6 days) I sometimes want to give up and lock myself in a room, which makes me feel frustrated and disappointed but I keep going with my homework and my responsibilities because I know I can work past the pain. After my headache has passed I feel proud of myself for doing what I have to no matter what I am going through

    • Hi Michelle – thanks for sharing that & well done for getting through those migraines! I have them sometimes myself and I know they are the worst.
      Keep up the good work! :)

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