It is widely understood that what happens inside your brain influences what happens to your body, and consciously cultivating a positive outlook on life is no different.
When you have a positive mindset on what’s ahead, it is easier to feel more enjoyment in the present, and you will probably live longer with far fewer health problems. Research also shows a strong link between optimism and positive health benefits, such as better weight control, healthier blood sugar levels, and a decreased chance for heart disease. That same study, conducted by Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, also suggests positivity can play “an important role in adaptation to chronic illness.”
Although the benefits are striking, looking on the bright side isn’t always easy, but there are some practical ways to adopt an optimistic perspective. Read on to discover 5 easy ways for how to become a more optimistic person.
5 Easy Ways to Become an Optimistic Person
1. Recognize and reflect on a positive event each day
This can take the form of a simple mental acknowledgement, a journal entry, or can even be brought up during a conversation among friends. Once this act becomes more comfortable, a daily gratitude journal is also a great way to promote consistently positive thinking.
2. Identify a personal strength
Rather than focusing on all the ways you may be falling short, or where you’ve gone wrong over the course of a day, try recalibrating to notice your unique personal strengths and how you use them. Maybe it’s a hidden talent, area of expertise, or special personality trait.
3. Set an attainable goal and note your progress
Nothing can send a person into a negative tailspin quite like falling short of a goal. To start feeling more confident and happy, set attainable goals (such as a micro-goal) that you can achieve, celebrating each small increment of progress along the way
4. Reframe stressful situations into opportunities to be positive
Perhaps you have heard the saying, “when one door closes a window opens.” It’s simple, but reappraising an event in a positive light can be an easy way to remember to find the silver lining in difficult situations. Maybe you missed your exit, for instance, but by taking the road less traveled, you are able to experience new places you would not have otherwise.
5. Practice mindfulness
When you focus on the here and now rather than the past or future, you open yourself up to better enjoying each day and new experience. Focus on finding pleasure in all the small moments throughout your day and consciously choose to acknowledge them. You can practice mindfulness through mindfulness meditation strategies, yoga, journaling for mental health, and more.
Put Optimism into Practice
Change is never easy, but taking a little bit of time each day to recalibrate your mindset can have a serious long-term positive impact. The smallest adjustments to your thinking and routines can make you a more optimistic person over time – whether it comes naturally to you or not.
Be Wary of the Optimism Bias
It’s important to note that while being an optimist has its benefits, be mindful of the optimism bias. The optimism bias is something we humans all have; it’s a false belief that our chances of experiencing bad events are lower, while our chances of experiencing good things are higher than the chances of our peers. This bias can lead to poor decisions, such as electing to not wear a seatbelt when driving, or leaving a lit candle unattended.
Work Towards Being an Optimist with Talkspace
If you’ve tried the above recommendations and still find yourself struggling to become a more positive person, it may be time to consider professional mental health support. With online therapy through Talkspace, taking control of your mental health has never been easier. You can work with a licensed professional who can assist you in dealing with negative emotions or difficult situations, and help you build a more positive attitude and optimistic outlook on life. Get started today; positive change is just a click away.
1. Brummett BH, Helms MJ, Dahlstrom WG, Siegler IC. Prediction of All-Cause Mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale Scores: Study of a College Sample During a 40-Year Follow-up Period. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2006;81(12):1541-1544. doi:10.4065/81.12.1541
2. Moskowitz J, Carrico A, Cohn M, et al. Randomized controlled trial of a positive affect intervention to reduce stress in people newly diagnosed with HIV; protocol and design for the IRISS study. Open Access Journal of Clinical Trials. 2014;2014:85. doi:10.2147/oajct.s64645
3. Meevissen YMC, Peters ML, Alberts HJEM. Become more optimistic by imagining a best possible self: effects of a two week intervention. Journal of behavior therapy and experimental psychiatry. 2011;42(3):371-378. doi:10.1016/j.jbtep.2011.02.012
4. Sharot T. The optimism bias. Current Biology. 2011;21(23):R941-R945. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2011.10.030
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