Natalie Frank, a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, specializes in pediatric psychology and behavioral health.
Optimism is one of those wonderful qualities we have within us that we can optimize by choosing to recognize it. We know how nice it is to be around those who view the world, themselves and the future positively. It’s contagious. We start picking up this hopefulness and feel better for it. There is a saying from the Dalai Lama, “Choose to be optimistic, it feels better.” And it truly does. By practicing it and finding things that naturally trigger our sense of hopefulness we can establish the pattern of thinking positively in our lives. If you are having a hard time harnessing your positive energy and hopeful outlook, try these quotes about optimism to help you uncover your innate hopefulness.
This is a great first step in learning how to become optimistic. Essentially, it is learning how to change your mindset. Many of us get stuck in thinking that something can’t be done. We talk ourselves out of options, justifying how something isn’t possible instead of considering how it could be possible. This can result from not having enough people around us so that we only have our own thought process to rely on. When that process is negative and unchallenged it often continues to spiral in a negative direction.
Over time, this may lead to the tendency to nay say any option whenever we feel challenged by something that seems difficult to do. When we surround ourselves with others who are not only good listeners but whose options we trust who can look at things from multiple sides, we can be given the chance to see other possibilities as well.
The best possible scenario is when we can offer the same type of problem solving ability for those who offer it to us. Sometimes we can do this for others even when we can’t do it for ourselves. This can help us begin to think in different ways, improve our mood by helping others which can also lead to more positive problem solving and provide us with an important other to whom we can turn with our own difficulties.
Through this process we can learn to think in terms of always first asking how to solve a problem instead of automatically assuming it can’t be solved. This alone will provide us with a sense of hopefulness about a bad situation improving and also give us a sense of competency in our ability to control our world to some degree.
Age is just a number. Goals and dreams are what make life worth living and without them we tend to give up. Not matter what the age, we have it in us to learn something new, take up a new hobby, or try something we’ve always wanted to try but never have.
Sometimes we get caught up in past goals or dreams that didn’t work out and become fixated on them. No matter how hard we work and even sometimes when we’ve done everything right certain things don’t work out. The problem comes when we remain focused on something in the past which we can’t change and fail to seek out something that we can.
Letting go of past circumstances which we have no control over is not the same thing as being defeated. It is simply letting go of something outdated in favor of a new dream. Success isn’t based on youth but on will to persevere during both the ups and downs. Dreams are exciting and energizing. Goals give us something to work towards, and make life worthwhile. And neither are dependent on youth, just flexibility and a strength of spirit.
Often out biggest obstacle in achieving something is making a start. We can all probably look back and think of times we put off something until, finally making ourselves initiate it, we find it wasn’t that big a deal after all.
Inertia is addicting. Putting things off most often leads to continuing to push things off and leads to us standing still. Once we start moving however, it is difficult to stop. Moving forward brings with it a positive outlook and hopefulness. Inertia is everything. Those who are moving are more likely to keep moving. Those who keep pushing things off will likely keep doing so.
We’ve all had something that hasn’t worked out the way we wanted it to, perhaps something large that makes us lose hope or makes us feel panic when thinking about the future. It is a horrible feeling when we seem to be falling and approaching rock bottom. But often it is when we are at our lowest that we find the motivation and inspiration to force ourselves upward.
Humans are survivalists and when things look like they might overcome us, that is when we are at our most resilient and creative. Instead of focusing on the darkness if we can focus on the impending dawn, this can make the blackest part of night bearable and enable us to reach out for the coming light.
The pessimist looks around and sees only the negative, interprets even those neutral aspects as oppressive, views others actions as betrayals and vows never to hope for anything better. They see this as the best things will ever be for them and fear that they are right.
The optimist looks around and sees the positive everywhere, where others have gone out of their way to help, views the neutral encouragingly and appreciates all that the world has to offer. They see this as the best possible world there can be, rejoice and celebrate it.
This quote is a powerful one. It speaks to the idea of self fulfilling prophecies. When we go through failure situations, it is not unusual to become discouraged and wonder what it is about us that caused the problem. But this type of internal attribution for negative events can become a problem over time because we see ourselves as unable to affect change in our life. This may lead us to no longer being willing to make a response at all because we are already certain that it won’t be successful. Sometimes referred to as learned helplessness, this refusal to act due to the assumption of failure occurs even when there is evidence that we will in fact succeed.
An example of this is as experiment that was done with dogs who were kept in an enclosed area cut in half with a partition they could easily jumped over. The floor of their side of the enclosure was then electrified and but they were able to escape it by jumping over the partition. Then the same thing was done but this time they were prevented from jumping over and so couldn’t escape the shock. After several repetitions, they once more lowered the partition showing the dogs they could once more jump over it. However, now when they were shocked, even though they could clearly see they could escape it having done it before, they still refused to try sitting on the half of the enclosure with the electric shocks.
People will do this as well. They key is to recognize that there are always some kind of different option to try and that while we all have failures in life, this is limited to the situation and doesn’t mean we aren’t good at anything.
We all have strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes we can use our strengths to shore up our weaknesses. Sometimes we just need to accept that there are certain things we may not be good at and focus on those things that we are. Reminding ourselves that situations are transient and to keep trying new coping strategies based on our strengths and resources can help us keep a positive mindset.
Surrounding ourselves with competent, positive people can also help as they can serve as models for different behavior, we can turn to them for advice and suggestions, and we can also, in turn, provide suggestions for them, strengthening our sense of self worth.
© 2018 Natalie Frank