We all have pessimists and optimists in our lives, and we likely fall into one category ourselves.
There’s the guarded grouch who’s always warning of impending disasters.
And there’s the glass-half-full individual who’s always brimming with positive enthusiasm.
Pessimism runs in families but it’s also one of the most changeable character traits, according to Martin E.P. Seligman, director of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania and author of “The Hope Circuit.”
No matter if your predominant disposition is optimism, pessimism creeps into all our psyches occasionally. Here’s how to get yourself pointed in a positive direction when doubt strikes:
Visualize. Put pictures of the best possible outcomes in your brain. What do those look like? Think about them, write them down, and do it every week. Be specific about family, health, career and relationships.
Acknowledge Disappointment. Disappointment is an everyday reality of life so get used to it. It’s not unusual. You’re not alone. So expect positive outcomes, but understand they’re occasionally proven wrong.
Argue with Yourself. Negative self-talk usually pops up when bad things happen. So argue with it. I’m not bad at my job, I’m pretty good, actually. My kid’s behind, but he’s getting better. Money is tight, but we’re making progress.
Gain Perspective. Mistakes happen. People fight. We all suffer losses. Instead of jumping to the worst possible conclusion, imagine the best. Reality is somewhere in between.
The above exercises have been proven to work with thousands of people. Over time and with a little effort, you can reduce pessimistic thinking and put yourself on a more positive trajectory.
In the immortal words of Shakespeare’s King Henry V: “All things are ready if our minds be so.”
Have a great week.
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