It’s easy to be a pessimist these days. There are struggles all over the world, challenges close to home, and on top of it, you’re probably climbing your own personal mountains. I find that I default to pessimism – if someone says there’s a slight chance of sunshine, I expect rain; when I wake up in the morning, my first thought is usually related to how much I hate my alarm; and at the beginning of the week, I get a pretty bad case of the Monday’s.
Often my pessimism goes deeper than that. I am rooted in expecting failure, not believing in my abilities, and not having faith in the bigger picture. Recently, my pessimism became so overwhelming, that my boyfriend and I had a chat about it. When he expressed his concern with my general disposition, I realized I needed to change. He’s so low-key and easy-going, that for it to bother him it must have been pretty bad.
But how the heck do you change your natural tendencies? My brain has been working on pessimism-mode since I can remember. What am I supposed to do differently? Change is possible. Truly. It’s possible to re-map your brain. You’re not hard-wired to expect the worst; it is conditioned from a young age. However, you can always, ALWAYS re-condition yourself.
Here are a few things that I’ve done on my journey to optimism:
Gratitude journals are fantastic. Before bed every night, you can sit back and reflect upon your day and write one thing that you were grateful for. No matter what happened to you that day, there is always something that shines through. Personally, I find that waking up with a grateful mind really helps to start my day. Instead of dreading going to work, I take a few minutes to be grateful that I am present to live another day on this earth, with the people who I love and with so many projects make me feel fulfilled.
Tune into your thoughts
Pay attention to how you react or respond in certain situations. Is that negativity warranted? Are you assuming the worst? Has any indication been given that the worst will likely happen? When you think negative thoughts, it poisons your spirit and your mind. Thinking positive keeps hope alive, and it’s important to put faith in positivity, because the worst isn’t always going to happen. All it will do is bring you down in the process.
Do more of what you love
Do you love tea? Drink more of it (drink as much herbal tea as you want! – says the nutritionist-to-be in me…). What about Netflix nights? Plan them so you can enjoy them! Are you obsessed with yoga? I don’t think too much yoga ever hurt anyone. Point is, when you do the things you love, you feel refreshed and rejuvenated. Your spirit feels lighter and you are happier. These days, I make sure to carve out time to cook good meals, experiment with recipes, and practice yoga. This can truly affect my positivity.
Just remember that these three things won’t solve all of your problems. Anytime you’re faced with a challenge, you will default back to your pessimist ways. I know I do. What these tools can do for you, though, is help put you back on track. Today, I notice my pessimistic thoughts more than ever. I’m aware of them, and doing everything that I can to keep them rational and positive.
Change takes time. If you’ve been a pessimist all your life, you can’t expect to become an optimist in a day. I’ve been actively trying for months, and although it’s becoming more natural, optimism is still something that I strive for every day.
What helps you when you’re having a difficult time feeling positive? Let’s chat in the comments!