Optimism…it’s a four-syllable word that can be harder to find than diamonds in South Africa. But believe it or not, you too can tap into the earth of your surroundings and dig up a rich store of feel-good. Here are a few ways to do that.
#1: Find laughter. These days, it isn’t hard to find. With Youtube and social media, there is no shortage of memes, videos, vines, and more to get you crackalackin. You could also rent a funny movie, watch stand-up comedy, or hang out with funny people. Laughter will lead you to smiling, and smiling will lead you to feeling good. Which brings us to our next point…
#2: Turn the frown upside down. It’s hard to believe that something such as smiling can improve your mood, but studies have linked outward acts of happiness to an internal shift. Practice by looking in the mirror and smiling, even it if feels cheesy, stupid, and inauthentic. Hold your smile for a minute, two minutes, five minutes…see how long you can go. Start the day off with a smile, and make a conscious effort to smile more.
#3: Use positive words. Studies have shown and confirmed what spiritual traditions have long held regarding the power of the tongue: words can literally shape the reality around us. If you want to build a more positive vibe, try using more positive words. Eliminate negative talk about yourself, and others as well.
#4: Find positive people. The impact of those we hang out with is enormous. Avoid negative influences and people who bring you down with complaining and criticism. Misery loves company, the old adage goes, and these people will quickly bring you into a downward spiral. Find friends who are upbeat, positive, and happy, and their resilience and optimism will pass on to you.
#5: Stay healthy. If you’re feeling tired and sick, it’s easy to get irritable and negative. By contrast, try maintaining an active lifestyle of healthy choices that can maximize your energy levels and build you up. It’s easier to be upbeat and happy when you feel good inside and out.
#6: Get spiritual and/or actualized. Most spiritual traditions promote a positive outlook on life. If you’re not so into organized religion, find something that can provide a positive outlet for you, like exercise, music, art, or reading. Just like using positive words can turn our perspective around, filling our hearts and minds with good stuff will help optimism come easier.