Tuesday Beauty Tips: Three Things You Can Do Today To Cultivate Your Inner Optimist

Published in: Beauty Tips

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.

STOP!

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,

Karen

43 Comments

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  1. I read the book The Secret and it transformed me into a positive thinker! It can be so hard though, especially when your brain tells you one think but you know better…and I feel ya on the brownie thing…why are sweets so bad for us!??

    Anyhoo, great tips, being positive really does change your life and allow you to achieve your goals!
    .-= Kajal Couture’s last blog post… How to Highlight Your Face – Tutorial, Tips, and Tricks =-.

  2. Devs says:

    Thank so much for this post Karen! I have been going through a though time lately and these sort of tips really help!

  3. lexi says:

    Thank you Karen – this will make me think twice about criticizing my waistline!

  4. Vanessa H says:

    Thank you for the post, Karen! I needed this :-D
    .-= Vanessa H’s last blog post… Steve Madden Won Today =-.

  5. Aparnaa says:

    Thank you, ma’am. I’ve been in a similar mid-twenties rut lately and I need to change my thinking so I can change my situation.

  6. Samantha says:

    I had possibly the worst day in a long time today. PMS, rude people, stressful work etcetera and this post made me smile! We’re not alone :) I think I can do it.

  7. Catherine says:

    I love your inspiration posts, Karen. I really needed this one right now. Totally going to start up my notebook once I get a breather later today and get myself some post-it notes so I can remind myself to think positive. =)
    .-= Catherine’s last blog post… Valentine’s Day Love from Lulu ♥ =-.

  8. Katie says:

    I always liked the saying “How can I decide whether the glass is half empty or half full if there’s nothing in the glass?” Cracks me up.
    .-= Katie’s last blog post… Viva Glam Gaga Lipstick Look (Part 01) =-.

  9. Darby says:

    Thank you so much for this post! I think it is an important message for everyone to hear. About a year ago I began making a conscious effort to be more positive and make myself happy. What worked for me was writing in a gratitude journal. I use the Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude where I write 5 things I am thankful for every day. It makes me end my day in a positive frame of mind and helps me forget anything that didn’t make me happy. Now I find myself thinking more positively as a whole and having a lot more in my life to be thankful for. =]

  10. Hafsa says:

    Great post Karen, I think we can all relate to this in some way or another. I’m totally like you, I tend to be more pessimistic than optimistic, especially now where I totally feel like i’m behind and everyone else is going somewhere with their lives. Your suggestions are on point, and I thank you for letting people know that they are not alone!

    <3 xoxo
    .-= Hafsa's last blog post… Snow White =-.

  11. CynthiaCCC says:

    My to-do list is always so long that it gets discouraging. So I’ve started writing down all the things I get done each day, including the must-do type things that always crop up in my email inbox but never make it onto the to-do list to get checked off. This way I don’t just focus on the things I didn’t get done and manage to feel like I’ve accomplished a lot.

    I also find that I feel better when I take a little time every day to do something just for me–whether it’s going for a run, doing my nails, or relaxing with a good book (or even a fashion mag). Even 20 minutes can make a big difference in whether I feel totally wrung-out or that I’m holding it together just fine, thank you! :)

  12. Kristen says:

    Karen, thanks so much for sharing your story. I went through the EXACT same thing a few years ago, around the same time as you (mid-20s): my roommate situation was the pits, my boss was verbally abusive, and things kept going wrong with boys. It’s so difficult to not feel trapped in these situations, and it can be really hard for some people not to spin into a major depressive episode (I went through a BIG one myself).

    I find that one of the ways to combat the blues when things just aren’t going well is to write down things you’re thankful for. Even if it’s a struggle to make a list of “good things” going in on life, it’s usually easier to think of things you are grateful for. The list can be as meaningful as “supportive family”…or as frivolous as “NARS lipgloss”!

    Also, I discovered yoga! Taking a beginner’s class was one of the best things I ever did to clear my mind and put myself at ease. The positive attitude of the instructor always calms me — no matter what pesky negative ideas or worries are nagging me in my head.
    .-= Kristen’s last blog post… Skin MD Natural GIVEAWAY! =-.

  13. I think we all go through that horrible depressed stage, where we feel nothing is going right, and our lives are meaningless (maybe I revealed a little too much, lol) but what I did in the past to combbat those feelings is read a great book called “The magic of thinking big.” I also sent out a mass e-mail to my best friends, telling them I was a little down and to please just e-mail me anything Im good at. I really thought I would get like one response, but I go tso many, and by the end of reading all those e-mails, and all those things that I was good at, I felt amazing. I felt like I could do anything. I still do.

  14. Tiffany says:

    Great post, Karen :) I’m feeling pretty stuck and pessimistic recently as well. School (and work, to a lesser extent) is causing me so much anxiety, and I feel trapped and like I’m not getting anywhere…

  15. Trude says:

    Thanks for sharing this Karen! I really doubt there is a person out there who hasn’t gone through something like that. Mine started in the fall of ’08, when I was laid off from my job, then things fell apart with my longtime boyfriend and I moved back home. It’s been a long hard climb back up since then, but I focus on the little things that are improving and then suddenly it’s like a lot has changed! I’ve since gotten a job, started finally dating again (nothing serious yet, but I’m getting myself out there), and now I’m really starting to work on health. It’s the little moments of win that make the difference. That, and having super supportive friends and family doesn’t hurt either. :)
    .-= Trude’s last blog post… iPhone Madness! =-.

  16. Nina says:

    You dont know how apropos this entry is to how the rest of my day turned out. The Hubs and I had a bit of a “discussion” and it got me feeling a bit sorry for myself.

    When I got home he told me that I overly punish myself for things that are not my fault …. pretty lopsided way of saying that he assumes responsibility for our “discussion” huh? But it made me smile anyways….

    We really do need to be the best advocates we can be for ourselves — if we dont stick up for ourselves and push and enourage US — who will?

    Thanks, Karen! ^_^

  17. Hazel says:

    thanks for this, karen~ i’ve been feeling down lately. felt like i don’t fit it anywhere. i’m bookmarking this post :)
    .-= Hazel’s last blog post… i never thought i’d say this but FML =-.

  18. Sarah says:

    I love this! I’m trying to be less Debbie Downer and more Suzy Sunshine, so this is perfect timing!

    When I am feeling actually crappy, I just try and do ONE THING that I know makes me happy. Sometimes its doing a quick workout, reading a favorite book, or even going shopping for something pretty. And then I try and take it from there!

    When I lived at my last place, I used to go to this one shopping area and browse for hours to find a book. Then I’d read it at my favorite restaurant! That always seems to do the trick. In fact, this Saturday I might do that after pilates!

  19. Gemma says:

    I agree with you 100%. It takes time to re-train and re-write the brain’s negative script with a positive one, but it is possible through constant repetition (much like strength-training a muscle). I learned that through my struggles with an eating disorder and major depression. Happiness IS possible, but it must be worked for CONSTANTLY! Thank you for a great post. You’re the best. =)
    .-= Gemma’s last blog post… ART : Speechless =-.

  20. Lauren says:

    I really needed this post, I just had the most crap-tastic day and this really helped me put things in perspective, i’ll try to keep these in mind for later :)
    .-= Lauren’s last blog post… =-.

  21. Lee says:

    I am pretty down right now and don’t know why. You’re topic is interesting but somehow it isn’t helping me. I don’t believe I am depressed right now. I’m just confused and there has been a lot of changes in my life right now so I think that could be why. I also have a fear that I won’t be the person I was before…I guess that’s stressing me out.

    btw, I’ve watched “The Secret” a couple of years back. It inspired me but right now…nothing seems to.

    I DO think the glass is half full though so looks like there’s hope.

  22. marisol says:

    Great post Karen! You read my mind. I needed some positivity today.

    I feel as though i am a pretty positive person but there are times when I do get down on myself for various reasons. Like some of the other ladies posted, I too have read the Secret and believe in it. It such a simple concept & at times I forget about it.
    .-= marisol’s last blog post… This is me lately =-.

  23. Sakura says:

    Thank you I’m going to write myself a positive note for my desk! I’m so hard on myself!

  24. Frances says:

    Great post, Karen! Chosing optimism is so much better than the alternative. I tend to get mired down in negative thoughts sometimes, so I have to make myself stop, ask myself if any of those thoughts are true or if they are just baseless assumptions (usually) and focus on turning my thoughts to what I want to achieve.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Frances, I like the positivity routine you’ve got going. :) It really does help to just take a second and think… I know I tend to often react emotionally and taking that extra minute to assess things helps a lot.

  25. Molly says:

    Hi Karen,
    Thanks for this post! I have been trying to be a lot more optimistic and these are great tips!
    By the way I totally know what you me by that little voice in your head saying ” you might as well have another brownie”

  26. Alyssa says:

    Once again, a wonderful post. You have such a resounding impact with your words…I wrote Le List on Monday and mentioned my current heartache – your sweet and uplifting words truly turned my day around. I plan on printing this article out and also giving a copy to my mom. Awesome, awesome advice!

  27. Marce says:

    I’m going through a fase like that ATM, and I’m not liking it at all…this post couldn’t have been better timed! I try to remind myself that to go up a ladder, one must start at the bottom…and I listen to music, of course :D
    .-= Marce’s last blog post… Look – Viva Glam GaGa! =-.

  28. Shefali says:

    I sooooo needed this article today!! It’s like you read my mind. Thanks for the tips. I’m going to use them!!!

  29. NC says:

    Thanks Karen , for the tips , I have been going through the phase of pessimism as we speak …. will def remember the tips ….

  30. Daya says:

    Thank you for your post! It seems a lot of us are struggling with negativity right now :) I have an issue at the moment doing it and I’m trying to stay positive…of course, the sun being out is also helping a bit! :)

  31. Lindsey says:

    Great Tips! They come at the time I really need them, too :)

  32. Dawn says:

    Great post Karen! It’s funny I am taking a counseling theory class and last night we we read a quote that said “change is possible and worth the effort”. I just thought that was a great thing to keep saying to myself every time I wanted to be lazy about exercise or be crabby for no reason. Thanks for your positive advice!!

  33. Andrea says:

    Hey, thanks so much for this post!

    I know I sometimes overreact when I get bad grades in school (I’m in University), but I try to remind myself that it’s just one bad mark. I think for those of us who are in school, we need to remember that we can only do our best, and if we get a bad mark, the only thing you can do to fix it is just try to do better the next time. Generally, these grades won’t individually “make-or-break” your post-secondary career. Hehe, hopefully that made sense!

  34. singrsling says:

    Thank you for this great post, Karen. I tend to beat myself up ( had a bad year in 2009 – unemployed for five months, missing family, very little dating) but am trying to be more optimistic. Your tips are very worthwhile, and things are now looking up – I work with a great group of folks, I like my job, short commute, and I am healthy, so I can’t complain.
    Thanks for the upliting thoughts and all of the reader tips!

  35. Meghan says:

    I am too much of a realist to be all sunshine and puppies, but I am a strong believer in the consistent task of finding 3 good things that happened every day no matter how small. (such as, seeing a puppy, hearing a good song, etc.) This has kept my head above water more than anything else.

    That being said, thanks for this post Karen, I love getting tips like this, because every little bit helps. :)
    .-= Meghan’s last blog post… sneaky new zoya pic! =-.

  36. Jean says:

    Hi Karen! Great post. I always tend to look at things in a negative way but I am really trying to overcome this and become optimistic instead. Your message is a really a big help.

    Thanks.

  37. diane says:

    Thanks for the sweet words :)
    .-= diane’s last blog post… Red lips – hot or not? =-.

  38. Sarah Maria says:

    Thanks so much, Karen…really helped me out a ton today.

  39. Erica says:

    Great POST!!! I love these types of messages. I’m always battling my naughty bully thoughts. Sometimes when something reallll nasty pops up and makes me hurt I think “alright how fast can I flip this”. I start feeding myself positive thoughts about how wonderful I am and know that this pain means self growth and that there is something better waiting. Affirmations help like QTIP “Quit Taking It Personal”. Also, exercise helps me so much and even if I don’t have a weight loss goal, working out just makes me feel better. Deff. going to start a journal. Thanks again!!

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