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So you want to know how to be an optimist? In this day and age, it can be a struggle to remain optimistic with the daily doom and gloom in the papers, on TV and even in Facebook.

I find a lot of people have become pessimistic, because they feel overwhelmed with financial difficulties or watching others suffer hardships caused by the fluctuating economy.

There are also new challenges brought on just by new technology, new rules of business and the changing job market.

Your success depends on our ability to remain optimistic by observing and accepting everything that is going on around you. I am not saying that you have to see the world through rose-colored glasses. You just have to learn how to trust your ability to deal with any situation that crosses your path.

Constant pessimism and negative thinking causes you to lose sight of what makes you happy and miss opportunities to make your situation better. If you are so convinced everything is going wrong for you, you are not in the “right” frame of mind to see and make improvements to turn your life around!

What is Optimism?

Everyone interprets the meaning of the events in their life, but optimists find meaning that makes it easier to be happy and for the most part, difficult to be miserable.

While pessimists, on the other hand, find just about anything can make them unhappy.

Even simple things like missing an elevator, dropping their coffee cup on the ground or hitting all the red lights. They have a very low threshold of “what gets them upset”, whereas optimists are just the opposite.

If you ask an optimist what makes them happy they say “being able to get out of bed in the morning or spending time with my family.” Simple, every day occurrences make them happy.

It is all about your perspective and frame of your mind.

You can be grateful you got to work on time and safe or mad because someone did not hold the elevator for you.

How to Become Optimistic Again

There’s no instant fixes on the road to happiness, but here are some simple steps that’ll help you make big strides in getting there:

    1. Write It Down

Grab a piece of paper and pen and complete these sentences:

“I’m happy when _________ happens”
“I’m unhappy, when the following things happen”

Don’t overthink what you are writing. Just allow the thoughts to flow from your hand. This is just an exercise to help you see and understand your innermost feelings and thoughts.

    1. Analyze It From Another Perspective

Pretend what you wrote was written by a stranger. Does this person have an attitude or a way of living that brings happiness or misery? Does the way they think make it easy to be miserable by believing those thoughts?

I would imagine your thoughts are probably bringing you pain and suffering or you would not have bothered reading this article. So read on, there is a method to this madness!

Now step back and see if you can figure out why you hold on to these beliefs. Do the rules that you live cause you to have lower expectations for yourself or give you an excuse for failure? In most cases, you create these rules because you are afraid to be disappointed.

    1. Lay Down New Ground Rules For Happiness

Now it is time to start fresh with a new piece of paper and answer the following questions:

  • What daily events could make me feel happy?
  • What unanticipated events could make me unhappy?

The wording is important. You’re thinking about possibilities of what “could “make you feel a certain way, not your current reality.

List out as many things as you can for the first question. Keep the second list short; only list the really serious stuff.

When you’ve finished with your lists, write down your new “optimism” rules like this:

  • I am happy when [event]
  • I am miserable only when [event]

Stick to the wording, it is important. Now you have two pieces of paper. One outlines your current “pessimistic” rules and the “optimistic” rules you’d like to believe.

    1. “Destroy” The List

Take your old list and burn it, tear it up or shoot in the waste bin! This act may feel silly, but it has an important symbolic effect and makes a big deal of it.

When we destroy something, we are telling our unconscious mind that those beliefs no longer real or true for you. They no longer count – they are ashes or trash.

  1. See It

Destroying the old list will create a space in your mind for the new beliefs. Your mind will be ready to absorb the new rules.

Post the rules on your bathroom mirror, in your car, on the refrigerator, wherever you are most likely to see it regularly.

Make sure you hand write everything, so when you look at it, your mind “knows” it is your thoughts and beliefs.

Follow these steps and you’re bound to feel happier and more at peace with what goes on around you. You are more likely to see all the amazing things and great opportunities that are surrounding you in your life.

Would love to hear your comments and/or experiences below!

youth sports parentsWendy Lynne is the Director of Mental Toughness Academy. The Academy’s online Mental Toughness Training helps kids build confidence, focus, determination and the ability to bounce back from adversity – what we call Mental Toughness.

Her passion is helping kids, their parents and coaches transform their thinking so they lead happier, healthier and more successful lives.