I love Winnie the Pooh. I love the characters, particularly who they represent among us humans.
In a scene from one of my kids’ Winnie the Pooh movies that I watched years and years ago, Eeyore was sitting on the bank of the river looking particularly Eeyore-like, dismal.
Piglet came skipping along and asked Eeyore, “What’s the matter, Eeyore?’
Eeyore replied (in his characteristically depressed voice), “I was bounced.” Piglet asked inquisitively, “Who bounced you?” Eeyore replied, gloomy as can be, “I don’t know, but I imagine it was Tigger.”
I don’t recall ever seeing Eeyore anything but gloomy and pessimistic. He has a negative disposition about everything as he hangs around with the friends of Winnie the Pooh.
We all have at least one Eeyore in our life. Can you identify yours?
Or perhaps you have a bit of Eeyore in yourself.
I know one thing to be true after years of living life. If you want to find things that are wrong, you will find them. It is very easy to be pessimistic.
- If you want to feel short of money, you can.
- If you want to worry that something will go wrong in your future, worry will come easily.
- If you want to believe that you are not good enough, easy to nail down.
- If you want to feel others around you have a better life than you do, you can pull that off.
- If you believe you can’t…..you can make that come true, too.
BUT….what if things didn’t have to be this way?
What if you could imagine a brighter tomorrow?
What if you could believe in better things coming true?
Let’s talk about five ways you can turn your pessimism and worry into optimism.
Five Ways To Be More Optimistic
1. Focus on positive things
Let’s start with the good news about this one: You can train yourself to focus on positive things.
A place to start will be to pause when things go wrong. Instead of running to your friends to vent, stick with your own thoughts. Get out a blank piece of paper and brainstorm the things that you can do to get out of the bad situation.
Perhaps you had a difficult conversation with someone at work. Think about what you can do to repair that situation. When you go to someone to vent, it often makes things worse. In fairness, you can go to someone if you’re looking for help to navigate the situation. Either of these scenarios keeps you focused on positive progress.
When I was a teenager and in my 20s, I loved hanging out with my grandma. As we went about our time together, I might say things to her like, “That person wasn’t very nice.” Or “Did you hear what she said?” Every time, my grandma said, “Honey, they’re probably doing the best they can.” She taught me patience and acceptance.
And, in general, every day there are good things around us: food in our refrigerator, water easily accessible, clothes in our closet, friends, a job, people who love us. This list can go on and one.
Focus on what is good.
If you look for positive things in your life, you will find them.
2. Train yourself to think differently
You can reframe your thinking. As I’ve said with many things, your first step is to decide you want to think differently.
Another way to pave the way for yourself is to think about the kind of person you want to be. Do you want to see the good in the world around you, or do you want to see the bad? Do you want to be an optimist or a pessimist?
Every life is comprised of ups and downs; good seasons and bad seasons; happy years and sad years.
When you’re in the down, the bad and the sad….remember it will not always be like this. You can even make the decision to lean into the down, the bad and the sad. For the moment, at least. If you have faith that you’ll come out the other side even stronger, this is easier to do.
I’ve always liked the adage, “It’s not so bad.”
However disappointing a moment is, it won’t always be like this. Having faith that better moments are ahead is a core life skill.
3. Give yourself credit for your success
This is a big one!
It is so tempting to be caught up in what you’re not doing or what you haven’t accomplished.
What about what you ARE doing or what you HAVE accomplished?
- What have you accomplished in your education or your work success?
- What have you accomplished in your relationship?
- Whose life are you affecting in a positive way? And where are you making a difference in the world?
- Where are you making progress with your hobby? Perhaps you’re becoming an exceptional photographer or skilled painter or avid gardener or a distance runner.
Train your mind to focus on even the smallest of accomplishments. It may help to write these down.
Not sure what this is? Let’s check the dictionary:
Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.
There are plenty of guided meditations online. Five minutes a day will help you become more aware of your emotions.
Connect with your feelings, and accept that whatever you’re feeling is okay.
5. Write down things daily
Keep a daily journal. You choose the theme.
- You could have a happiness journal: what happened today that made you feel happy?
- You could have a gratitude journal: what happened today that you feel grateful for?
- You could even have a progress journal: what did you accomplish today toward a goal.
Creating a habit of recording positive things in your life will lead to lasting effects on your mood. We become the accumulation of our thoughts.
True optimism is anchored in the belief that you can work through anything that life throws at you.
Start by focusing on just one or two areas of your life where you would like to influence positive change. Achieve some small wins to fuel your confidence in your own abilities.
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