Optimism is one of the most conversed topics in every corner of the world.
According to the Cambridge dictionary, optimism is the quality of being full of hope and emphasising the good parts of a situation or a belief that something good will happen.
Some say optimism is happiness. But I think happiness is one of the results of optimism.
Some other people say being optimistic is being positive. This is somewhat correct, but not entirely accurate.
Actually, being optimistic is accepting negativity too, but in an effective way. Practically we can’t only see the positivity all the time.
“Positive thinking doesn’t mean that we ignore life’s stressors. One just approaches hardship in a more productive way,” says psychotherapist Kimberly Hershenson.
Being positive or negative is mostly based on our upbringing.
Carol Ward, a licensed psychotherapist says in an interview with NBC News, “From an early age, babies and children pick up the emotional vibes in their homes. If the atmosphere is relaxed and loving, children blossom even if they innately have a tendency towards anxiety. But if the home environment is tense and filled with dysfunction, optimism is one of the first things to go. It’s hard to be emotionally open and hopeful when that is not being modelled for you by your caretakers.”
But our childhood isn’t completely accountable for our optimism or pessimism and some uncontrollable components such as inheritable factors and socioeconomic status occur too.
However, being optimistic does not only bring you happiness but also bring you health and wealth.
As per Harvard Health Publishing, optimism helps people to cope with the disease and recover from surgery.
Being optimistic or being positive is not that hard if you follow these tips…
• Acknowledge the negativity
Being optimistic doesn’t mean you have to live in a fantasy world. The whole point of being optimistic is realising your negative thoughts and try to see the realistic solution to shift them positively.
Raya Bidshahri, Founder & CEO of the Academy says “there is nothing to be gained from blind optimism. But an optimistic mindset can be grounded in rationality and evidence. It may be hard to believe, but we are living in the most exciting time in human history. Despite all of our ongoing global challenges, humanity has never been better off. Not only are we living healthier, happier, and safer lives than ever before, but new technological tools are also opening up a universe of opportunities.”
• Shift your perspective
There are two ways to look at any circumstances. You can either look at a scenario positively or negatively.
Research reveals that positive moods are attributed to more left-brain activity, while negative emotions are associated with the more right side of the brain.
By practising mindfulness meditation and practising yoga leads you to train yourself to use your left brain which leads to shifting your negative perspective to a positive attitude.
John Hagel, co-chairman for Deloitte LLP’s Center for the Edge says, “Optimism is the key to cultivating more of our human potential. We have infinite potential, but most of us tap into a very small portion of our potential because of fear or an inability to imagine the possibilities. Optimism is essential, but so is a realistic sense of the obstacles and roadblocks we will face on our journey. In fact, that is what will motivate us to make the journey because the opportunity is so big that it is worth addressing the challenges along the way.”
• Avoid toxic relationships
Studies suggested that our emotions are contagious, just like diseases are contagious. That means, when you are surrounded by pessimistic-minded people, it is more likely that you will become one of them.
• Practice gratitude
The most effective way to practice gratitude is journaling. Spend a few minutes per day to write down the things you are grateful for and eventually, you will feel contentment which leads to optimism.
Javier Fiz Pérez, Professor Psychology Università Europea di Roma says, “A realist sees reality, and says, “This is real.” An optimist sees his dreams, and says, “This will be real.” An optimist will meet with greater success, will attain more of his dreams, is happier, grows more, and has better relationships and greater self-esteem than a pessimist. Perhaps in other times, this would not have been the case, but in the society in which we are fortunate to live, where there are abundant opportunities, the environment favours optimists. Optimists will suffer more setbacks than realists, but actually, these difficulties are enriching experiences. In the not-very-remote past, or in other societies today, perhaps the most intelligent option would be to be a pessimistic realist and avoid disappointments. However, times have changed, and in places where opportunities abound, they favour the optimist”
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