Building Your Optimism Muscles: 5 Ways to See the Glass Half-Full

There are people in our everyday lives who must have invisible super-hero capes. You know the people who, despite tough breaks or bad luck, face the world again and again with optimism – a belief that good things will happen to them.

Some of them do this facing adversity thick enough that we wonder, “How does she do that?”

Realists take note! Optimism isn’t pie-in-the-sky idealism…

Like any healthy habit, optimism is something that can be practiced! Research tells us that people are born with a 25% predisposition to being either optimistic or pessimistic. BUT! That other 75% is a habit, much like anything else. Which means you can reform habits that will have you seeing the glass half-full!

But why bother? (Um, Eeyore, that’d be your internal Pessimist asking.)

Resilience! That’s why!

Happy people live longer and feel better.

See, emotional resilience is more than the ability to see the glass as half-full… it’s that internal barometer of resources and flexibility that allows you to overcome life challenges while keeping your balance. It’s your ability to bounce back after adversity or disappointment. It’s HOW you steady the ship while the $#*t hits the fan.

Emotional Resilience is your very own invisible super-hero cape. (Has that cape been invisible even to you? I’m here to tell you, you have one!) It’s literally your adaptability super powers. And one of those super powers is Optimism.

Optimism is a feeling or belief that good things will happen in the future because of your strengths and accomplishments.

What we know about Optimists is pretty amazing. They tend to:

  • Be proactive problem solvers. They have a bold sense of their ability to take constructive action and feel less helpless than their counterparts.
  • Believe bad situations can improve and are motivated to address issues early on.
  • Have supportive friendships which help reduce people’s risk for disease, depression, anxiety.
  • Have stronger immune systems and make more money than pessimists!

So just how do you hop on the habit train to Happy? Here are 5 simple steps you can take today:

  1. Express Gratitude. Amidst the striving, it’s important to feel grateful for what we have in the present, otherwise, we cultivate ambition with a side order of dissatisfaction.
  2. Surround yourself with upbeat people. Optimism breeds optimism. Keep company with people who reflect that energy back to you.
  3. Seek solutions first. Each problem has a choice of where to focus: on either the positive solution or the negatives. Optimists don’t waste time stewing or on the blame game – they seek solutions.
  4. Anticipate the future. Look forward to what’s to come with anticipation, feeling the excitement of possibilities, not trepidation. The future will be even better than the past.
  5. Consider what went well today. Before going to sleep, take a mental inventory of even the small victories and give yourself credit. What did you enjoy? What felt validating? What felt like job-well-done? Reflecting on the positive will help you internalize optimism and move further in that direction tomorrow.

As you practice these steps you will build up that optimistic muscle and connect to, rely on, and be proud of your strengths.  It not only builds a sunny disposition but it increases your self-confidence, health, and wealth. Give it a go!

Want to know more? Listen to the replay of my More Access to Now talk on Optimism now.

I’d love to know how your glass fills up as you put these steps to use. Leave me a comment below!



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