Practicing Optimism When Uncertainty Strikes
Life is full of uncertainty. Although you can make plans, they don’t always work out. Optimism is a powerful tool that can help keep you balanced and moving forward during situations that are out of your control. Optimism is both a natural trait and learned skill, according to leading social scientists. When you practice optimism, you maintain a sense of hopefulness, confidence, and positivity without losing your ability to be realistic.
There are people who believe that being realistic is more important than maintaining optimism; that is, if you lower your expectations, you’re less likely to experience emotional pain if you’re let down. However, research has found that living with the fear of getting your hopes up or having high expectations only increases anxiety and depression.
No matter what uncertainty you face in life, you will face it with more resilience and healthier coping techniques if you are optimistic. If you weren’t born with a natural tendency to be an optimist practicing these skills can help:
Practice stopping negative thoughts. Athletes use this technique to shift their mental focus away from negative outcomes or self-doubt. It’s difficult to practice when you’re in the middle of a negative situation, but it’s important.
Fail wisely. Every mistake, failure, or setback offers a lesson. Practicing optimism means you don’t repeat the mistake, get into a shame cycle, or play the blame game; you quickly look for the lesson and redirect in another direction.
Make choices not reactions. Optimists are better at managing themselves and practice more self-control. Practice taking time to reflect and gain control over your emotion. Optimists avoid drama.
Communicate hope even in negative situations. Being an optimist does not mean you’re in denial or lying – it means you visualize the truth but you’re able to remain confident that things will work out for the best. This increases well-being within the optimist and those closest to or working with them.
Practice reframing. No matter what situation you’re going through, there are many perspectives to choose rom. The optimist chooses to reframe things in a more positive light. Maybe things didn’t go as well as you hoped with your situation, but that doesn’t mean it won’t work out in a way that’s actually better. We’ve all heard stories about people who were fired at work who went on to get a much better job than the one they were fired from. Or the friend who got a terrible diagnosis but ended up being healthier or going through an incredible experience that changed them for the better.
To be optimistic means you expect more from life. Optimists enjoy life to the fullest and find satisfaction in life experiences. Practicing optimism is a choice you can make today. Life is much too short to be anything but excited about it!