It’s human nature to pay more attention to the negative things in our lives than the positive – after all, it’s how our ancestors survived! But while it may be natural to focus on our difficulties and the things in our lives that don’t go as planned, spending too much time stuck in those thoughts can lead to problems. You may not be able to change the situations that arise, but you can learn to look at the bright side, and boost your happiness in the process!
Research shows many benefits to having an optimistic view of the world. When compared to pessimistic people, optimistic people:
- Are healthier
- Live longer
- Achieve greater success
- Are less stressed and manage the stress they do have better
- Are more satisfied in their relationships
- Are less anxious
- Are less likely to be depressed
- Are more resilient
If you feel that you tend naturally toward pessimism, don’t worry! You can learn to think positively with a little bit of effort. Try this great optimism boosting exercise that can be easily incorporated into your life in just a few minutes a day:
Each day, ideally before bed, write down 3 good things about your day. A successful meeting, a phone call with a friend you haven’t talked to in a while, or a delicious meal or dessert – anything goes, big or small! Be as specific as possible (for example, instead of “good friends”, was there something special a good friend did for you?). It’s also important to look for new things each day in order to work toward training your brain to look for the positive. Do this for at least a week and then look back on what you wrote and reflect on your experience. The longer you continue with this exercise, the more likely you are to improve your optimism.
If you’re interested in more help to increase your positive thinking, check out my book Finding the Silver Linings: A Guided Journal for Increasing Your Optimism.
Greater Good in Action website