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On Becoming an Optimist

by Beth on September 22nd, 2010

Being an optimist increases your positivity and can help you to be more successful.  So what if you tend to be more of a pessimist?  No worries!  Optimism can be learned.  How you interpret events is up to you.  It takes just three steps to turn your pessimistic thoughts into optimistic ones.

Recognition

The first step is to recognize your own pessimistic thinking.  This requires that you become aware of what is going through your head.  By paying attention to your self-talk you will start to notice when you are having negative thoughts.

Rational thinking

The next step is to use rational thinking to dispute the negative thoughts.  Often our pessimistic thoughts aren’t realistic; they may be distorted by our emotions or simply be the result of pessimistic habits.  Try to think more objectively about the event, focusing on the facts.  Ask yourself if the thoughts are reasonable.  Search for evidence that proves your initial reactions aren’t true.

Redirection

Once you have disputed the pessimistic thoughts, you need to redirect your thinking by reinterpreting the situation or coming up with a more favorable explanation.  Prepare rational, positive thoughts to counter the negative thoughts.  Reframe setbacks by trying to come up with alternative causes, preferably external, temporary causes.

At first, it takes effort to recognize and dispute pessimistic thoughts, but the more you practice optimistic thinking the more natural it will become.  The next time you feel yourself starting to get stressed about something, take a moment to pay attention to your thoughts.  What are you saying to yourself?  Check to see how realistic your thoughts are.  Can you come up with any alternative explanations?  Often things aren’t nearly as bad as we paint them to be in our mind.  You have the power to change your thought patterns and become an optimist!

From → Mindset, Optimism

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