Most times, that ain't easy for a writer. But if you're going to succeed in this business, you have to be persistent and remain optimistic.
Theologians and philosophers have encouraged optimism for centuries. But a Harvard study several years ago showed a correlation between optimism and good health. They weren’t sure which came first – good health or optimism. But optimism appeared to lower blood pressure and reduce the incidence of heart disease.
So how does one go about seeing the glass half full instead of half empty?
1. Stop playing the martyr. Some people are pessimists because of family influence. Figure out why you feel the world is against you, dump those feelings and start looking for the silver lining in every cloud.
2. Even if you’ve had bad experiences in the past, that doesn’t mean your entire future is doomed. This attitude can turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy.
3. If you don’t like your life, change it. Learn from past negative experience and use it to make better decisions. A lot of life includes taking risks and not all of them will have a happy ending. But some will, so why miss out on the good out of fear of the bad? Step out on faith and hope for the best.
4. Let the power of positive affirmations work in your life. If you have trouble thinking them, write them down and post them where you will see them – on your bathroom mirror, on your computer monitor, on the visor in your car, on the wall beside your desk at work. Some examples are “I can only control MY attitude” or “I choose to be positive.”
5. When you start to view the glass as half empty, remind yourself that life is short and the time you spend worrying takes time away from enjoying life. Pessimism is counter-productive because you are worrying about things that might never happen instead of working toward goals that can happen.
6. Balance your optimism with a healthy dose of pragmatism. Pollyanna’s “Glad Game” was great for the movies, but sticking your head in the sand and ignoring all the possibilities can set you up for failure too. Prepare for the worst but hope for the best. It’s a win-win attitude.
Need some tips for staying optimistic? Smile! It takes fewer muscles to smile than to frown, and when you smile, the world will smile back. Share your optimism with others. If someone is being negative, share a little optimism with them. Watch positive TV shows and listen to upbeat music. Who can listen to the theme song from “Rocky” and not want to conquer the world? Practice random acts of kindness. Count your blessings, no matter how small. Focusing on a blue, sun-shiny day helps take your mind off the negatives.
Are you a half-full or half-empty person? If you answer half-empty, I challenge you to practice some of the tips above for a month and see if you don’t see the glass differently.
P.S. The first photo is my first cat, Graycie, may she rest in peace. I love this photo of her and her optimistic attitude.
Now listen to a little Rocky music and go conquer the world!