how to be optimistic


Mark it on your calendar, every day: Something WONDERFUL is about to happen!

If you’re used to the round-and-round-like-a-merry-go-round cycle of negative thinking (that I had been so used to, for most of my life), it is a HARD challenge and a BIG deal to get out of that deep rut. Why? Because our brains are already wired through those ruts. If we focus on the negative, it’s just an easier place to go to when something goes wrong or we’re in an uncomfortable mood. When we start to focus on thinking more positive thoughts, new connections are made in the brain, like new little train tracks. The more you take that train, the easier it will be for you to stay on that track when the going starts to get a little tough. So, is it all in our perspective? Just letting go and knowing that we are doing the best that we can every day, grappling lemons and squeezing them into tasty drinks, is a powerful thing.

“Wake up with the thought that something WONDERFUL is about to happen.” Words I see every day. And oh my goodness, do I LOVE this little plaque (and did I ever need it), sitting so prettily on the dresser in the bedroom. It was a gift from my sweet sister-in-law. Little did she know how impactful that little gift would be to me! Words like this, that greet you every morning, will water those little seeds inside of you if you take the time to read it and say it and meditate on it (like just letting the words ooze into your soul and closing your eyes for a minute and imagining what the word “wonderful” means to you).

Years ago, I was in the depths of my own negativity. It was an awful cyclic thing, in my head, so much of the time. I would call myself names and berate myself, not just in my thoughts but very much out loud a lot of the time. “You’re such an idiot!” was a common phrase of mine. I would also focus on the things about my body that I wished I could change, like the size of my belly and the contours of my face, the wrinkles forming and the imperfections in my skin. I’d take it to the next level in relationships, where my pessimistic thinking would actually lead to the demise of a relationship because I never believed I was good enough. It was a real self-fulfilling prophecy for me, time and time again.

However, most people would not see this side of me. At least, people who weren’t too close to me. I’d mask it quite well.

Something changed in me over the years, and I was tired of the same old, same old negative thinking which was producing the same old, same old negative results. I made a conscious effort to educate myself on how I could be more optimistic, positive and balanced. Mind you, I’ve always had a level of anxiety, but with my high energy (of which I’m never lacking in), it became easier and easier to replace those old, dull negative thoughts with powerful and potent positive ones. I literally saw the differences in my life from the very start.

When did I make this change? You could say it was after the year or two where so many things purged themselves from my life. In no particular order, my boyfriend, my computer, my car, my job, my dog, my condo. Needless to say, I had to move back in with my parents. But this IS when things started to change for me. Something told me it was time to make a change. I made a concerted effort to get things changing in my life, and I did it with positive thinking! Of course it wasn’t all “yellow-brick-road” (thank goodness, how would I learn things in life if it was?), but I took those rather dark moments and flipped them into something I was grateful for. I was grateful that I made the decision to walk out of a job (I wasn’t being treated fairly or being paid well) because it led me down the path to a better career and one that I could be in control of! By taking control, I feel I’ve changed so much for the better. I did this for me and for all of the people who mean so much to me in my life. But mostly for me – because I’m with me 100% of the time. And listening to berating banter inside my head is NOT something I want to hear all the time.

10 Simple Ways to Live a More Positive Life

  1. If you start with just one thought, just ONE, and focus on it every day and make a genuine effort to change it for the better – you will be on your way. I find a really wonderful approach and one that worked for me, is seeing a positive and inspiring message upon waking every day. Put it somewhere you’re sure to see it every day, and keep it as a mantra inside your head throughout the day.
  2. Set reminders on your phone at certain times – and repeat a mantra or affirmation of your choice or focus on one positive thought.
  3. Make a list of all of the things you are grateful for. I’ve found that by just thinking about the things I’m grateful for has changed my life for the better. It has brought me even more things to be grateful for. Writing it down solidifies it that much more. And you can go back to it anytime you need a reminder of all of the wonderful things in your life.
  4. Close your eyes and smile and think about a great love – God, the Universe, whatever it is you might believe in. Sometimes when I meditate like this and I breathe in and I just let happiness seep in, I feel a great and wondrous chill running along my spine and throughout my whole body. I know without a doubt that it’s the universe telling me that I’m exactly where I need to be and I’m loved for everything I am and that so many wonderful things are just waiting to happen.
  5. Reach out more. Join groups that consist of people like yourself – personality groups, meditation groups, even board gaming groups. I’ve found that my happiness levels increase when I’m sharing and connecting with others – because I don’t feel alone. I feel like we are all in this together.
  6. Go online and find all sorts of positive and optimistic quotes and phrases. Print them off, cut them out and place them in opportunistic areas in your home. Seeing these happy words throughout the day will uplift you and guide you.
  7. Watch or do something that makes you laugh. REALLY laugh! I feel like there can never be too much humour in one’s life. This could mean following a funny blog, watching a comedian in a show, watching a funny movie or even spending time with someone in your life who makes you laugh often. Laughter really can be a wonderful (and natural) medicine!
  8. Do something different. Learn an instrument. Go exploring. Book a karaoke room with friends. Something out of the ordinary. You’ll learn new things about yourself AND you’ll likely become more resourceful and confident when you try something you’ve never done before.
  9. Be present. Maybe you’ve heard this one a lot. I know I have. But it really, really works. Take a moment, any moment, and savour it. It could be eating your dinner – pay attention to the colours on your plate, relish the tastes, feel how good it is to be full and satisfied. There are SO many ways to savour the moments in your day.
  10. Take difficult situations and turn them into learning experiences or opportunities to grow, expand and evolve – mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually. Ask yourself, “Okay, what can I take from this?” Happy people know that it’s not all rainbows and unicorns. Everyone goes through difficulties. Think about how you can face these difficulties and how you can move on and grow from them.