I would consider myself a glass-half-full kind of gal, but there are definitely optimistic people who could put me to shame. These are the eternally sunny folks who, somehow, always manage to see the positive in things — even when life isn't going 100 percent their way.
While some optimists appear to be born with this extra dose of positivity, it seems to be a trait the rest of us have to work on. Of course, if you don't want to be cheerful all the time (or simply can't stomach the idea) that's absolutely OK. But trust me when I say there are benefits to giving this whole positivity thing a try.
As psychologist Dr. Nikki Martinez says, "Maintaining a positive attitude during the day can help you be more productive and forward moving, and can leave you more open to options and solutions that can keep you from getting stuck." It can also make a bad day suck a little less, which is always a good thing.
So, if you've ever looked on in wonder as your truly optimistic friends do their thing, it may be time to adopt some of their healthy habits. Read on for a few things they think and do to remain so positive, then go ahead and steal them for yourself.
1. They Choose Their Words Wisely
The words we use shape the way we think, so be careful with your vocab. This means choosing positive language, like calling a rainy day "refreshing" instead of "dreary." But it also means avoiding heavy words like "always" and "never", according to Dana Hudepohl on Real Simple, since these words hardly ever accurately reflect reality.
2. They Don't Believe Their Automatic Thoughts
We all have a little voice, known as self-talk, that blabs away inside our heads. Sometimes it's an OK voice, but other times it's downright negative. And, if you start to believe it, pessimism won't be far behind. So start noticing when your thoughts are negative, and then replace them with a positive. It'll take some practice, Martinez tells me, but you will get the knack of it.
3. They Review Their Accomplishments
The next time you're feeling like nothing ever goes your way, take a look at your awesome resume. Or maybe that cute Pinterest compliment jar you made, but never thought you'd use. "Calling to mind your accomplishments can make you more hopeful," said Hudepohl. "They’re a reminder that good things have happened in the past and are likely to do so again down the road."
4. They Decide To Have A Great Day
"The first thing optimistic people tell themselves in the morning is that it is going to be a great day," says clinical therapist Ginger Poag, MSW, LCSW, in an email to Bustle. It may not always end up being true, but it's an excellent mindset to have.
5. They Live In The Moment
Optimistic people worry about the future, just like everyone else. But they far prefer remaining in the here and now. So go ahead and try it out for yourself. Savor your coffee, or chill outside for a while before heading into work. "In taking a moment to appreciate everything around [you, you'll] instantly become more optimistic," says celebrity yogi Lauren Imparato, in an email to Bustle.
6. They Hang Out With Cool People
Take a look at your friend group. Are they huge complainers, or are they kind of cool and motivating to be around? If they do the whole 24/7 venting thing, it may be a good idea to find a new group. "You'll soon find that optimists attract other optimists, and those folks will offer you support and encouragement, boosting your own optimism in turn," said emotional intelligence expert Harvey Deutschendorf, on FastCompany.com.
7. They Notice The Little Things
I know it's tough to believe, but even the worst days have something good about them. Maybe you got to work on time, or the weather was particularly lovely. Optimistic people notice these things and allow it to brighten their other-wise terrible day. And you should, too.
8. They Don't Put Themselves In A Box
If you get too hung up on your title at work, or your status at school, all it takes is one false move and suddenly your whole identity is chattered. That's one reason why, as life coach Dawn Mitchell tells me, optimistic people develop a sense of identity that can't be affected by outside circumstances. This means working on yourself, and truly believing you're awesome no matter what happens.
9. They Set Goals And Intentions
Even when sh*t hits the fan, optimists keep working towards their goals. And, of course, they have them in the first place Lauren Zander, life coach and author of 'Maybe It's You' tells me. They also set intentions and never lose sight of where they're going — even when things go awry.
10. They Focus On Doing Their Best
"At any time in the day when my energy has lowered or I’m feeling pessimistic ... I remind myself to simply do my best," says spiritual empowerment coach Kelsey Patel. Because really, that's all you can do. And that's totally OK.
11. They Go To Bed Feeling Grateful
Instead of lying in bed reviewing all the bad events from the day, optimistic try to review all the good things. "This type of reflection can help you program positive thoughts and images into your minds for the night," said Deutschendorf. Way easier said than done, of course. But totally worth the attempt.
The sooner you can steal these habits of optimistic people, and adopt them as your own, the better you'll feel.
Images: Pexels (11), Unsplash/Tamarcus Brown