Mindset is the area in which myself and my coaching clients spend the most time working simply because it has such an overwhelming impact on our lives. While there are lots of ways we can improve our mindset to help attract more success, choosing to be optimistic is a very powerful mindset shift.
Let us be clear, there is a difference between being an optimist and sticking your head in the sand. One involves seeing the world around you in a positive way and always expecting the best outcome, the other involves blinding yourself to life and is a form of denial. I do not champion denial.
Although we start to learn our optimistic or pessimistic traits from those around us at a very young age, we can decide which one we would rather be and develop habits which help us to foster that trait daily. When we make optimism a daily practice, over time it becomes second nature.
The field of psychology has studied optimism in great detail in recent years and various studies have shown that optimism is directly linked to better outcomes in life. These include living longer, less stress, more success and better health. What’s not to like? Not only has science shown that optimism pays, but psychologists have also determined that optimism can be taught and learned. Now, I’m not here today to teach you to be optimistic, but I do want to share some easy tips which, when practiced regularly, will help you to focus on the bright side, and so, reap some of the benefits optimistic people have been enjoying for years.
Benefits You Can Experience by Choosing to be Optimistic
1. Feeling happier
2. Enjoying better relationships with those around you
3. Finding success more easily
4. Recovering from setbacks more quickly
5. Suffering from less illness
6. Enjoying greater longevity
7. Being more creative
8. Feeling less stressed
9. Having more energy
10. Having increased self-esteem
5 Quick Ways to Develop an Optimistic Mindset
1. Be Careful about what you Focus on
You may be familiar with the Law of Attraction. We act as magnets, drawing what we focus on to us, whether we are aware of it, or not. That means that when you are optimistic and focus on the bright side of life, you will see more positive things showing up in your life. But, if you focus on the negative aspects of your life, they will seem to multiply.
We attract what we think about. So, you need to be careful about what you allow yourself to focus on. That’s not to say that you need to catch every single thought as you think it but do put strategies in place which allow you to focus on the positive.
For example, what kind of information do you choose to process daily? This includes the TV programmes you watch, radio shows you listen to and anything you consume while browsing online. I always think it’s interesting to see how different people’s social media feeds differ. The algorithms in these programmes work just like the Law of Attraction, the more you watch certain videos or like particular posts, the more social media platforms will serve you up that type of content. Is your feed optimistic or pessimistic?
You can change how much negative information you are exposed to by choosing more positive options.
2. Say Thank You Often
Develop a habit of gratitude. This is so important. Not only because it’s a nice thing to do, but because acknowledging the good in your life helps you to recognise and appreciate it. I saw this myself recently when I had what most might call a bad day. Two stressful things happened one after the other and I got very worked up about them. If I hadn’t already built this habit of gratitude I wouldn’t have missed the fact that 2 other equally amazing things happened in that same 24 hours.
When we’re not intentional about our thoughts, we tend to focus on the negative and when we do so, we forget about the good stuff. You can increase your optimism by taking 5 minutes at the end of each day to recall the things that you are truly grateful for. You will start to see more of the good stuff – and as explained in point number one, when we focus on the good we get more of it and that makes it easier to maintain an optimistic mindset.
It’s nice to write your gratitude lists down, they can be lovely to look back on in future and are sure to bring a smile to your face.
3. Have Fun Connecting with Others
Other people are what makes life so beautiful. Whether it’s your family, friends or that special someone, those connections can make all the difference to living an optimistic, happy life. Take time to enjoy the company of those you love. Exercise your new focus while you do so, choosing to be optimistic and focus on the positive. When you do so, those around you will respond in kind, their energy will shift to match yours and you’ll have lots to be grateful for in the evening.
Choose fun things to do with the people in your life. We spend so much of our time being serious, focusing on work, running a household, finances, etc. Most people are crying out for some good old-fashioned fun! Do activities that make you laugh and smile as these simple gestures release endorphins which make us feel good and reduce our stress levels. In turn, this can help us to be more optimistic.
4. Live in the Present
How often do you live in this moment? It’s easy to do when we’re at work and engaged in a task that requires all our attention. But what about while you’re driving or showering? So often our minds run over events that have already happened without our even realising it. We may have had a conversation and question whether we should have said what we did, or question our actions, our motives, whether we could have done better or acted faster. The list of things we over-analyse is never-ending.
And that’s not to mention the future! How much time do spend worrying about situations that may never happen? What if he/she says this, what will I do if that happens?
The more you can focus on the now and pour yourself into the task you are doing right at this minute, the more you will see that while bad things can happen, generally, they don’t last. We become more able to enjoy the fun times and able to deal with the stressful times, accepting that things will change again shortly – and whatever happens, you’ll deal with that, too. That is realistic optimism at work.
5. Take Ownership of Your Life
Focus on making people feel welcome. This is so important and yet, is often overlooked. When we are busy trying to get our work done, it is easy to dismiss the little things. Are there people in your diverse group who may not be used to the structure of your meetings? Little things such as the setting, the other people in attendance and expectations may be a cause of anxiety for some. Take a moment to welcome everybody, make sure that people are properly introduced to one another and that everyone knows what the aim of your meeting is and what the outcomes you expect are. This allows people to relax, safe in the knowledge that there are no surprises around the corner for them.
Drop Your Defences
I feel quite strongly about this one. When we blame other people or situations for whatever is happening in our lives we give up our power. That is one of the worst things we could do because then we get stuck in victim mode. When we see ourselves as a victim of circumstance we believe we are powerless to change our situation, that we must simply wait it out until things hopefully start to improve.
That is not how the most successful or happy people in the world live their lives. They stand in their own power and accept responsibility for their lives. This can be uncomfortable at times, but even when it is, the final outcome is so much better, because at least we know that we can act to create a positive change.
There you have it, five simple ways to develop a more optimistic mindset which will allow you to be happier and become more successful. Although some of these steps may feel difficult to implement at first, I would encourage you to stick with it. Positive habits can take time to become natural, but once they do, you will be so glad you persevered.
If you have any questions about how you can develop your own optimistic mindset, don’t hesitate to contact me. It is my passion to work with people who are ready to take hold of their lives and see incredible change, if that’s you, get in touch!