Pessimism can hold you back in life. After all, if you always assume that the worst will happen, you will always stay on the safe side. But taking risks is what life is all about. If you didn’t take any risks at all, you would never date anyone in case things didn’t work out. You wouldn’t change jobs because you might not be able to handle the new role.
Some people believe that they are natural-born pessimists. But if that were true, you would never have enjoyed the carefree and hope-filled childhood that you likely remember. So, if you want to regain that youthful optimism, read on. Here are some tips to help you become more of an optimist.
Learn from Past Mistakes
Past experiences shape a person’s attitude to life. So, if you have experienced disappointments or hardships, then it is only natural that you might have a more negative view of your future. However, you cannot change the past, so there is no point in dwelling on past events. Instead, learn from your mistakes and failures and recognize that you did eventually come through the bad times.
See the Good as Well as the Bad
If it is past events that have made you a pessimist, then it is likely that you are only focusing on the negative aspects of events. For example, you are only thinking about the pain that a breakup caused, and you are ignoring the good times that you had with your ex-partner. So, every time a negative thought comes into your head, try replacing it with a positive image of something good that came out of that situation.
Keep Things in Perspective
People who are pessimists are incredibly good at catastrophizing. If a pessimist has a bad day at work, for example, they will start thinking about losing their job. Next, they will imagine themselves being homeless and destitute and never being able to find a job again. When you feel yourself beginning to make a mountain out of a molehill, try to get things back into perspective. Don’t think about the worst possible outcomes; try to weigh up the situation logically and think about the most likely outcome.
Remind Yourself of All the Disasters that Never Happened
If you look back at all the times you thought the worst would happen, you will likely find that the disaster you feared never materialized. Indeed, if you did lose your job, you probably got a new job reasonably quickly. And, what’s more, you likely get paid more now, and the role is more enjoyable. So, when you find yourself in a negative thinking spiral, just remind your pessimistic self about how many times you have been wrong before!
Stay in the Present
Instead of letting your negative imagination run wild, try to focus on what is happening around you right now. While you are thinking about the bad things that might occur, you are missing out on all the beautiful things that are happening right now.
Talk Yourself Out of Pessimism
If you had a friend who was going through a tough time, you would try to help them through it and give them some encouraging words of advice. You certainly wouldn’t tell a friend that their current woes are only the beginning, and it’s going to get a lot worse from here! So, try to be kind to yourself, too. Instead of talking yourself down all the time, try giving yourself the same kind of upbeat advice that you provide for a friend who was worried about something.
Think Longer Term
If pessimism has become an ingrained way of thinking for you, then you probably assume the worst of every situation. If you want to go out for a walk, you will believe that it will rain. You may think you will make a fool of yourself if you go to a party. You may be right, but five years from now, you won’t even remember that you got soaking wet, and you will laugh along with everyone else about the time that you spilled red wine down your shirt at a party. So, try to remember that, even if embarrassing or painful events do occur in your life, they won’t last forever.
Make a Daily Gratitude List
Start each day by making a list of six things that you are grateful to have. Making a gratitude list will set you up for the rest of the day with some positive thoughts. Becoming an optimistic person is not all about changing who you are; it is about changing how you look at the world. So, when you start focusing on the good things in your life, it will help you realize that positive things do happen to you.
Tell Yourself That You Are Optimistic
If you walk out of your front door every day, convinced that you are a pessimist, guess what? You will spend the rest of the day believing that you are a pessimist! No label describes who you are, because you are an individual, and, like everyone else, you will have some good fortune and some bad.
Spend Time With Optimists
People tend to gravitate toward like-minded individuals. So, if you take a negative view of life, then it is likely that you have friends who do the same. Try to widen your circle of friends to include some more update optimists, because enthusiasm and optimism are catching on! If you spend too much time with pessimists, you will all convince each other that things are even worse than you imagined!
Of course, the above tips are not going to transform you into an eternal optimist overnight. Hopefully, though, these ideas will give you a starting point. The most crucial decision that you must make is to decide that you want to change your perspective on life to a more positive one.
“Reality is created by the mind, we can change our reality by changing our mind.” -Plato