We all experience challenges from time to time, but how we respond to them determines how quickly we can overcome them.
People often have one of two attitudes about challenges: optimistic or pessimistic.
While everyone has a natural inclination to hold one of these viewpoints, your capacity to remain optimistic in the face of adversity will have an impact on your overall success and attitude in life.
Sometimes, it’s hard to be happy when you think about what’s going on in the world. It’s harder still when the people around you constantly complain about all those things that are happening.
That doesn’t mean that you have to join ranks with the pessimists, though. In fact, it means it’s more important than ever to look on the bright side as much as possible.
Optimism Is a Choice
If you think you’re a natural-born pessimist and there’s no way you can turn your mindset around, think again—research published in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry compared two groups of people to test their thinking patterns.
The first group completed a 5-minute exercise that involved thinking positive thoughts about their future, while the second group just went about their daily lives without making effort to think optimistically.
The first group significantly increased their optimism over the two-week period, with many of them feeling more optimistic after just one day.
If you want to become a more optimistic person—despite the negativity surrounding you—then you can take measures to think positively and spread that optimistic outlook to those around you.
Change Your Thinking
You have choices in your life. You can spend the day cleaning or spend the day reading. You can go out to dinner or cook at home. You can have coffee with that long-lost friend or you can blow them off.
And, finally, you can decide to be positive or you can just go on living like you are. Being an optimistic person in a negative world begins with the decision to be positive and choosing to live that life every single day.
How Optimism Affects Happiness
Although most individuals are concerned with their physical well-being and looks, mental health is just as essential, if not more so. This is because your mental health has an impact on practically every aspect of your life.
How optimistic you are about yourself and your life is the actual test of “mental health.”
To become mentally healthy, you must learn to control your thoughts in very particular ways so that you feel great about yourself and your situation regardless of what happens.
So, here are some suggestions for staying positive, overcoming obstacles, and attracting success in life.
Also Read: Why Setting Goals Is Important?
Choosing to be optimistic offers surprising benefits. A study from the University of Pittsburgh concluded that women who had an optimistic outlook had a 30 percent lower risk of heart disease.
A University of Michigan study linked optimism to a lower risk of stroke. Additionally, research published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that optimists are less likely to experience disabilities as they get older and end up living longer than pessimists.
5 Ways to Be an Optimist During Challenges
1. Control Your Reactions And Responses
Optimists and pessimists have a few fundamental distinctions in their reactions. The first distinction is that an optimist considers a setback to be transitory, whereas a pessimist considers it to be permanent.
A bad incident, such as a missed order or a failed sales call, is viewed by the optimist as a one-time occurrence with no lasting consequences. Negative events, on the other hand, are seen as permanent by the pessimist, as part of life and destiny.
So, if you find yourself in this circumstance, take a moment to think about what you’re up against before reacting. Rather than reacting to setbacks, try to visualize the next step toward improvement.
2. Isolate The Incident
Another distinction between optimists and pessimists is that the optimist views challenges as a one-time occurrence, whereas the pessimist views them as a universal occurrence.
This means that when things go wrong for the optimist, he or she sees it as a one-off occurrence that is mostly unrelated to other events in their life.
The incident will be added to a laundry list of other things going on in a pessimist’s life. They have a pessimistic attitude regarding everything and tend to project their stress from one problem onto other, unrelated parts of their lives.
To stay positive, remind yourself that just because you’re experiencing a setback in one area—whether it’s a project at work running behind schedule or failing to meet a deadline—it doesn’t mean your entire aim is obsolete. It’s possible that all you need to do is change your strategy.
A single setback may appear significant at the time, but with the appropriate attitude, you can rapidly overcome most setbacks. Isolating the incident allows you to accept the setback and move on with your life.
3. View Setbacks As Temporary Events
For example, if something you were banking on did not materialize and you understood it as an unfortunate occurrence that occurs in the course of life and business, you would be reacting like an optimist.
On the other hand, the pessimist perceives disappointment as all-pervasive. That is, to him, they are symptoms of a disease or flaw that affects every aspect of existence.
If you find yourself in this circumstance, remember that nothing is set in stone and that you are always capable of making changes. An optimist with a glass half full mentality believes that something better is on the way, giving them something to strive for.
A pessimist quits up and allows a single setback to affect their entire life. This might have a detrimental impact on your life, whereas the optimist remains driven no matter what.
4. Don’t Take Failure Personally
It can be quite tough to see the bright side of failure at times. Pessimists perceive events as personal, whilst optimists interpret occurrences as external. When things go wrong, the optimist will blame the setback on outside forces over which he or she has no influence.
An optimist makes an effort not to take things personally. Despite the fact that no one wants to fail, the optimist sees it as an opportunity to grow.
Instead of being irritated or frustrated if the optimist gets stuck in traffic, he will just downplay the significance of the situation by stating something like, “Oh, well, I assume that person is just having a bad day.”
The optimist does not believe they were cut off because someone was trying to harm them. On the other side, the pessimist has a tendency to take everything personally. If a pessimist is cut off in traffic, he or she will act as if the other vehicle is intentionally trying to irritate and disappoint them.
As the optimist did in this example, seeing the larger picture allows you to respond calmly and work through any issue. You may even take it a step further and convert any negative event into a positive. You may have helped the person go to work on time or meet a deadline by allowing them to cut you off.
Keep in mind that the challenges you’ll face are just transient, unique, and external. Consider the unpleasant scenario as a single occurrence that is unrelated to other potential occurrences and is mostly caused by external causes over which you have limited influence.
Simply refuse to believe that the situation is permanent, widespread, or symptomatic of personal incompetence or inability. No matter what happens, resolve to think optimistically.
You may not have control over circumstances, but you do have control over how you respond to them. The sooner you understand this, the better off you will be in life.
5. Remain Calm And Objective
When confronted with the unavoidable storms of daily life, a true optimist has the ability to remain objective and unemotional. No matter what is going on in their lives, this individual has the ability to keep talking to themselves in a positive and optimistic manner.
This enables individuals to maintain their minds peaceful, clear, and in perfect control no matter what is going on around them. This person is considerably more capable of analyzing situations more efficiently because they are more relaxed and aware.
When confronted with a difficulty or a source of stress, an optimist is considerably better prepared to tackle it. They are able to maintain complete control, act proactively, and not be influenced by external factors.
A pessimist, on the other hand, may become engrossed in their feelings, becoming furious, irritated, and preoccupied. As a result, they handle situations poorly, think irrationally, and make things more difficult than they need to be by responding reactively rather than proactively.
When you’re feeling stressed or your blood is boiling, practice remaining cool. Staying calm and thinking positively can alter your life, albeit it is easier said than done.
Become More Optimistic
You may start using these ideas in your daily life now that you have these five steps to guide you.
Keep in mind that setbacks are transient and external and that when things go wrong, they are usually the result of a range of external factors. “What cannot be treated must be endured,” tell yourself, and then return your attention to your objectives.
Use my personal development plan template to increase your ability to think positively and be an optimist in all aspects of your life. You can use this template to find areas of potential and improve your successes, as well as learn to think ahead and successfully analyze your goals.