Exercises to Increase Your Optimism

We’ve all heard that being optimistic can help you live longer, sleep better, and handle the curveballs in life with resilience.

If it’s not all sunshine and roses, there is good news: optimism is a mindset that can become a habit with regular practice.

Below are some exercises I’ve been trying to keep a positive outlook. I think optimism is especially important in the postpartum recovery period when sleep is lacking, stress is high, and life might not be going according to plan.

Be Grateful

Gratitude is really powerful. I like to start the day by thinking of a few things I’m grateful for. They can be as complex as family and friends, or as simple as hearing my favorite song on the radio.

See the Good in Others

The negativity bias is a psychological concept where our brains assign more meaning to negative or unpleasant situations. This was a survival mechanism for our ancestors, but it isn’t very helpful to us now. This bias is why we tend to focus on someone’s bad qualities instead of their good ones.

When it comes to seeing the good in others, I try to remember that no person is all good or all bad. Instead of seeing the things I don’t like about someone, I try to focus on the good instead.

Recognize Your Achievements

Thanks to the negativity bias, I sometimes dwell on what’s not going my way. I combat this by thinking about the things I’ve already achieved. It helps to remember the feeling of achievement, how my hard work paid off, and how far I’ve come.

Become Solutions-Oriented

Optimistic people tend to be solutions-oriented. Instead of placing blame on someone else or acting as a victim, they reflect on things they could’ve done better.

Surround Yourself with Other Positive People

We’ve all heard the quote: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Basically, positive people tend to surround themselves with other positive people.

Think about the people in your life who life who lift you up. Are you spending enough time with them?

Working to see the beauty in every situation has helped me tremendously with my mental health. Although it’s not always easy to be optimistic, it’s a worthwhile journey.

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