Being a pessimist is not in my genes. I have been blessed with being raised by parents who always looked for the light at the end of the tunnel. This has given me a strong foundation in being optimistic about things, so when it comes to helping pessimists feel happier, I feel I might have a few good ideas.
1. First things first
The first thing you must do to break negative habits and make new positive habits, is to commit. You have to want to be happier. You have to work hard at changing your mindset. It is not easy to change habits that have been a part of who you are, so be prepared for working hard, failing at times, and trying again until you have developed a new habit.
2. Look through rose-colored lenses
The next way to feel happier is to see things in a different way. This will need to be very intentional, so you will have to have laser focus to make this work. The idea is to take the negative thought and turn it around into a positive thought.
For example, let’s say you had a time at work that you were disciplined or “written up.” You could look at it as you are ready to look for a new job, or you can change the way you see the situation. Instead, think of what you learned from this experience and how it could improve your work skills.
I suggest keeping a journal. Write down the negative thoughts and then take a moment to think about how to turn it into a positive thought and write that down. Do this every time you catch yourself being pessimistic.
3. Evaluate all outcomes
This is similar to the suggestion above except that you will do a “this versus that” list in order to evaluate and compare all possible outcomes.
An example might be “new job vs. old job” where you are evaluating whether it would be in your best interest to find a new job. When writing this list, you will only want to include the positives – no negatives allowed. Not only does this help you change your pessimistic habits, it helps you see things clearly.
4. Enjoy the flaws
Ditch the perfectionism! You will not be good at everything, nor will you be perfect at anything. Now, you might think that is a pessimistic view, but it is just reality.
Once you ditch the perfectionism, you realize that a failure is an option, and it helps you improve yourself and your way of thinking because it is an opportunity for growth. The world will not end because you were unable to accomplish something set to your unrealistic, perfectionist expectations.
It is just like when you learned to ride a bike. You fell off a few times, skinned your knees, and got right back up. You did not decide that you were a failure and that was the end. You learned from that and grew which led you to accomplishing your goal without all the pressure to be perfect.
Breaking old pessimistic habits is no easy task. It will take work and maybe a little sweat, but it is possible if you keep trying and make it an intentional part of your daily life. You can do it.