5 steps to becoming an optimist

Short of a rapid spiritual awakening, learning to have a sunny view on life isn’t something that can be done overnight. However, there are some tips you can learn to help you become an optimist. There are certain things that optimists tend to do in life, and paying attention to – and picking up on – the habits of optimists can go a long way toward helping you become one.

Look for the positive side of a situation.

If you get laid off, consider the fact that it will give you the opportunity to alter your career path or find a better job. Maybe you were happy in your old job, but maybe your next job will be closer to home and cut down on your commute time. There were probably some things you didn’t like about your job and now you’ll be able to correct those things in your next job search. Or, maybe this will be just the push you need to start your own business or make a major career change that you’ve dreamed of.

Ask yourself what an optimist would do.

If you’re in a situation that you’re looking at through a negative lens and you don’t want to react in a negative way, think about what a more positive person would do – and not just any positive person. Think of a specific optimist that you know and think about how they would react to the situation. It’s easier to imagine what a real person would do than it is to think about how general personality type would react.

Figure out why you are being pessimist.

Identify exactly would purpose your pessimism serves.

Does it help you avoid hurt or disappointment? Does it help you prepare for possible bad outcomes? Then, evaluate whether your pessimism is actually serving that purpose. Is it actually helping your avoid those things? Or is it just increasing your anxiety and isolating you from people?

Think about where your pessimism came from.

That is, was there an important person in your life – like a parent or a mentor – who was prone to pessimistic statements? If you begin to attribute your pessimism to a specific situation instead of to the world in general, it’ll be a lot easier to let go of the negativity.

Recognize that you’ve already taken the most important step.

Pessimists who don’t know that they are pessimists will never change – because they don’t even know there’s anything to change. If you’re reading this, though, clearly you’ve recognized that there is something about your outlook on life that you’d like to change. Admitting there’s a problem is the first step to solving it.