Is it possible to transform yourself to be an optimist rather than a pessimist? According to experts, it is. Did you know that studies have shown that optimism is inheritable (25%), but also anyone can learn to be optimistic. Professional Matchmaker Linda Prescott reveals secrets on How to be an Optimist.
Retrain Your Brain
Okay, I know what you’re thinking, this is easier said than done. But if you seriously want to transform yourself to be an optimist, you need to make a conscious effort not only to shift your short term thinking, but also train your brain to think more positively in the long run. This has been proven by science to be possible. According to a research by Dr. Richard Davidson, the more we consciously reframe scenarios in a positive light, the more we train our brains to fire up circuits in different regions, eventually altering our response to negative experiences.
Try this: Build a positivity circuit. Three times a day, spend one minute looking around specifically for positives. Just positives. Over time, you will realise how your mind starts to see things more positively.
Stick with Positive People
If you are negative and always down, it might be a good time for you to look at what kind of company you have been keeping. Those gossipy friends, chronic complainers and negative people can really bring you down. Know why? Negativity is contagious. Fortunately, positive emotions can be contagious too. So instead of catching the negative vibe, why not catch yourself some positivity? Nicholas Christakis, an HMS professor of medical sociology and of medicine who has researched the contagion of emotions within the larger context of social networks, found that happiness may be a collective phenomenon: Having a happy spouse, or a friend or neighbour, who lives within a mile of you appears to increase the probability that you will be happy as well.
Try this: Every time you feel like catching up with someone, pick the ones you know are going to help you feel positive. If you find yourself in a situation where someone is complaining too much or being overly negative, there is nothing wrong with politely excusing yourself and saying you have somewhere else to be.
Acknowledge What You Can — and Cannot — Control
Guess what? We can’t control everything that happens and that’s because we are human. However, while some people are unaffected by uncertainty, others may be unable to deal with that. What you need to do is accept what you can and cannot control in the situation. For example, if you lose your job, you cannot control the fact that you were fired or laid off. What you can control, however, is what you do to find a new job as well as whether you take care of yourself in the process.
Try this: Practice mindfulness to help combat the tendency to ruminate over daily stressors, which is a breeding ground for negativity. Learn to be in the present space (while allowing other thoughts to enter your brain but then pushing them gently away) without judgement or thought about past or future, you will find that there’s less room for pessimism.