Is Your Cup Half Empty or Half Full?
Looking at life through the lens of optimism is advantageous. In fact, research has found that seeing the glass half full not only makes you happier but can also make you healthier and wealthier.
Some level of “bummer” is warranted these days. We stand about two and half years into a slowly waning global pandemic - people lost loved ones, careers, lifestyles, and countless other things. It would be strange if people weren’t sad about it… but humans can eventually rally and move on. We always have throughout history. This is why optimism is so beneficial to human psychology.
When our perspective shifts positively on the pessimism/optimism spectrum we see the world through the lens of “what can I do today to make my life better?” Hope gives us a sense of possibility. It in turn inspires proactive measures to make the world a happier, safer place for ourselves and the community.
Studies show optimism helps our mental wellness via a beneficial cognitive structure, supplements our physical health through positive lifestyle choices, and even increases income through an active willingness to recognize and pursue opportunities that otherwise may be overlooked.
Bad life experiences happen to all of us. Humans are individuals and our reactions to adversity range from “this is the end of the world” to “onwards and upwards!” Genetically some people are more prone one way or another. But changes to thought patterns (through self-care or therapy) may condition the mind to see things in a more hopeful, positive way.
How can we build an optimistic outlook for ourselves?
Here is a gathering of useful self-care tips for staying optimistic and making the most out of life:
Set your intentions: Formulate a positive agenda at the start of the day. When we have the intention to be hopeful and see the good in people and events, we become more proactive. Setting this goal creates the motivation for shifting our attitudes which can sometimes be a difficult task.
Get outside the comfort zone: “Get out of your comfort zone…” It may be a cliche, but leaving comfort is often seen as a problem. Our minds like what they’re used to, and many people may at first resist change. But if we can do it, leaving the comfort zone can be used for good. Make that phone call to an old friend, go out to the lunch you’ve been putting off, have that conversation with your boss, etc. It just may make your life fertile for growth.
Reframe it: Sometimes a dour picture just needs a more cheerful frame. We can turn adversity into opportunity by looking at things differently. Maybe internet problems can give us time to be outside in nature, and a job loss might spark meaningful career change.
Stay away from negative people: Toxic people have a habit of not only being pessimistic, but drumming it up in others as well. By more often surrounding ourselves with positive people, we begin cultivating a forward looking, uplifting mindset by way of our social interactions.
Fix your posture: Walking tall and straight not only changes your inner confidence levels, but it helps project a positive image to others. As a bonus, it keeps your musculoskeletal system sturdy and healthy.
Fake it till you make it: Maybe things aren’t going just right and you’ve gotten stuck in a cycle of negativity. In this case it may be useful to try your best at being hopeful even if you don’t feel it. Sometimes if we keep smiling we’ll start believing we’re happy - in other words, fulfill the prophecy of an optimistic outlook.
Lighten up: Humor has been proven to uplift our mental wellness, and being able to laugh things off makes it easier to be optimistic. When we see humor in life’s foibles, we’re able to be less affected by it. The process of making lemonade from lemons gets a lot easier. Plus laughter helps us sleep better, boosts the immune system, increases endorphin levels in the brain, and has countless other benefits.
Exercise: A lot about exercise has been written and talked about on our blog and podcast, but it can never be stressed enough. Exercise can lift the mood considerably, and when our mood is good our ease of optimism is high as well.
Some patients have a severe neurological cause for their mental illness. In combination with medication and therapy, cultivating optimism for these sufferers can be the final green light on their road to recovery.
Bregman Medical Group has decades of experience treating a wide range of mental health disorders. We offer online psychiatry and therapy right to your device - schedule at www.bregmanmd.com or call 305-740-3340.