I went through a serious doom-and-gloom phase in my mid-twenties, and pessimism, well, it was MY JAM.
I was unhappy with my job and living situation (roommate trubs!), and things on the boy front were full-on craptactular.
Basically, I felt stuck, as in not going anywhere. Worst of all, I couldn’t stop the negative record always playing in my head: “Everyone around you is doing well, Karen, and your life sucks in comparison.”
If this sounds familiar — if you’ve gone through phases in which you’ve felt like a perpetual pessimist whose glass was/is always half empty — you’re not alone.
It took time, but once I made the conscious effort to see things in a more positive light, slowly, things began to improve. Studies show that optimists tend to live longer, forge stronger relationships, and lead happier, healthier lives.
Is this glass half full or half empty?
Um… easier said than done, I know. So how do you join Team Optimism?
Here are three things you can start doing today:
1. Challenge your negativity
As you go through your day, be aware of your inner playlist. What thoughts run through your head when you’re struggling, whether it be with getting yourself to exercise, study, get out of bed or prepare for a big meeting at work.
If you find yourself reciting a negative script, interrupt — STOP! — the running dialogue with soothing tips, hopeful reminders and evidence of positive outcomes from things you’ve done before.
In my case, I’ve had a really tough time getting myself to exercise this month. My playlist was going something like this: “What’s the point, Karen? You’ve already put on so much weight over the last year. Just eat another brownie instead…”
To change my negative script, I catch myself each time I notice my negative play list.
Then I change the script. “You’ve set and met exercise and weight loss goals before, and I know you can do it again.”
2. Keep a list of optimistic thoughts
Contradict pessimistic thinking, and enhance your sense of confidence by keeping a running list of positive, hopeful thoughts.
They serve as reminders that good things really DO happen, and writing them down makes them more real. Aim to jot down at least two good thoughts a day.
One recent optimistic thought from my journal: “You’ve had great work days many times before where you finished every task and met every deadline; you can have a day like that today.”
3. Overwhelm your inner critic
Whenever a negative thought crosses your path, squash it with THREE positive ones. That’ll teach it not to mess with you.
These are just a few of the things I do to keep my inner pessimist at bay. Do you ever struggle with negativity? If you have any words of advice or suggestions, please share them in the comments.
Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,