Becoming an Optimist Is Easier Than You May Think—Here's How

While some people seem to have been born with a natural ability to always look on the bright side, others simply were not.

While you don't need to force yourself to be a Positive Polly at all times, especially since toxic positivity is a real thing, it is true that nobody likes a Negative Nancy. Optimists tend to live naturally happier, healthier lives—but the good news is that even if you weren't born an optimist, you can actually teach yourself to become one! While you may not start seeing the glass as half-full right off the bat, incorporating these habits into your life will benefit you in the long run:

A young girl wearing a hat smiles on a beach

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Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness doesn't have to mean meditating for hours on end. In practice, mindfulness just means letting yourself feel present in the moment. It's about appreciating the little things in life, even during things that wouldn't normally make you happy. Easy examples of ways you can incorporate mindfulness in your daily life include eating slower so you can truly taste your food and appreciate every texture and flavor, taking the time to watch a really beautiful sunrise or sunset, feeling the pleasant temperature of the water when washing the dishes after dinner, noticing a beautiful patch of flowers you walk by all the time and even smiling when you just see a really cute dog. It's about enjoying the journey instead of rushing from point A to B, and before you know it this can become second nature and have you on the path to optimism.


Do More of What Makes You Happy

This doesn't have to be something grand, expensive or even truly out of the way of your normal routine. If you love fantasy films or romantic comedies but always agree to watch horror and action movies because that's what your friends want to do, try saying no or suggesting something else if it's what makes you happier. Or, if you notice you feel better about yourself when you wear certain types of clothing, maybe wear them more often and choose more pieces that make you feel that way when you go shopping. Again, this doesn't have to be anything major, just incorporate more of the things you like into your daily routine and notice how your mood may shift.


Remember to Be Thankful, Always

In today's world, it's so easy to fall into a sense of negativity and thinking about everything that's going wrong in our lives and in the world. While it's okay to feel sad and upset sometimes, it's no reason to keep yourself from appreciating all the wonderful things you do have in your life. Stop and be thankful for things that are small and big in your life, from the roof over your head and the food on your plate to the education you're able to pursue and even the amazing friends you have around you. When you start feeling grateful for what you already have, you might just find yourself attracting more wonderful things into your life (everyone loves an optimist, after all).

A girl looks out at the water at sunset

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Find the Bright Side In Every Situation

To keep this one simple, think of situations like this: "everything happens for a reason, and it happens for the better." This can feel difficult at first, especially when it comes to things that may feel crushing at first like a breakup or not getting into your dream college, but it proves to be true every time. You may not see it at the time, but the things that don't work out for us end up leading to things that are so much better for you in the end. Maybe you didn't get into that one school because a different one is where you'll actually flourish, or maybe that relationship ending is what inspires you to apply to a job or school across the country. The possibilities are endless, but just remember that there's a positive to counter every negative and you can always look on the bright side. When in doubt, saying some affirmations and practicing other healthy habits (like the ones you can find HERE) can help you get started.


Spend Time With Positive People and People That Make You Happy

It really is true that we are a reflection of the people we surround ourselves with. That means that having a circle full of toxic people or people with nothing but negative things to say all the time can lead to you becoming more negative, and that's pretty much the opposite of what we're going for here. Of course, some people are simply going through a hard time in life that makes it harder for them to be happy all the time, in which case it's important to be there for them and support them however possible. However, there's a difference between this and people that are just downright bringing you down. Surround yourself with people you can talk openly with, who are there to support you and who simply make you happy when you're around them—even if that means cutting off a few toxic friendships in the process. 

Shutterstock: Young cheerful girl giving her friend piggyback ride while third girl laughing at them.

(via Shutterstock)


Get Some Exercise

It's true what they say—endorphins make you happy. Endorphins are essentially happy hormones that get released in your brain when you exercise, even if that sounds counter-intuitive since exercise isn't always fun (especially when you're first getting started or dragging yourself to the gym). But seriously, exercise is so beneficial to your mental and physical health and really can help you get on the path to overall optimism. It doesn't have to be unpleasant, either, as you can get moving in whatever way you like. If lifting weights or running isn't your thing, you can always dance around your room, go for a long walk or try an at-home workout.


Ready to get started? Remember, none of these have to be hard. Start simple and work your way up, you'll notice an improvement to your mood, attitude and general outlook on life before you know it.


If working out seems like a good place for you to begin, click HERE for some tips on how to start actually enjoying your workouts.