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Are you an Optimist or a Pessimist?

blog Jul 29, 2021
optimist or pessimist

Are you an Optimist or a Pessimist?

 “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”   Winston Churchill

How do we define optimism? Optimism is a future orientated attitude; it’s having the confidence and belief that things will turnout well. Optimists believe that good things will happen to them, and that with enough hard work they will succeed. And when luck knocks on their door, they take that offering and run with it. Pessimists, in contrast, believe that bad things will happen to them and doubt that they have the skills and stamina to achieve their goals. And even when they get fortunate, their subconscious thought might even warn them to watch out!  Research indicates that optimists and pessimists have very different expectations and their ability to cope with problems differs dramatically.

If we tend to be negative, focus on destructive thoughts, always complain, interpret events and people’s actions critically and generally be miserable and unhappy, then our world will be a very dark and lonely place.  But if we make a conscious effort to pay attention to the positive events and happenings around us, notice the problems but try to constructively explain them, find the silver lining in the situations in our life and generally think positively, then our world will become exciting, hopeful, and full of opportunities.

Realistic optimists don’t blindly ignore life’s problems or view the world through rose coloured glasses, they pay close attention to negative information that is relevant to the problems they face. However, unlike pessimists, they do not remain focused on the negative. They tend to disengage rapidly from problems that appear to be unsolvable, they know when to cut their losses and turn their attention to solvable problems.


During our life, we are all exposed to a barrage of information, sights, sounds and smells.  Out of this morass of information, in order to survive, we need to selectively focus on those stimuli and data that are most relevant to our well being.  Optimism has been proven to improve the immune system, prevent chronic disease, and help people cope with unfortunate news. Positive thinking is associated with optimism and has been determined that positive, optimistic and grateful people are happier, less stressed, and less depressed.

So here are three ways to help you on your journey to staying positive and becoming more optimistic:

  1. Become aware of your thoughts: Remember stress and negativity most of the time, doesn’t come from what’s going on in your life.  It comes from your thoughts about what is going on and how you interpret situations.  Being mindful of our train of thoughts, knowing and acknowledging what is going on in our mind enables us to follow either a negative or a positive route.
  2. Intentionally think positive thoughts: Each time we think a positive thought, we make a new memory trace in our brain and build a mental habit of positive thinking.  Affirmations are an incredible way to change your subconscious beliefs and become more grateful and positive.  Just the word “Thank you” invokes a myriad of helpful thoughts and feelings.
  3. Interpret situations positively: Another technique to enhance positive thoughts and optimism is all about changing our perspective. Altering the way, we view a situation or circumstance.  We can learn to confront and refute negative thoughts that are unrealistic or exaggerated by asking ourselves questions like “Is this really true? “or “what would things be like if I didn’t hold this belief?”. And when things are bad just remind yourself that whatever is going on won’t last forever; think of strengths and resources you have to help you deal with the problem and zone in on any encouraging moments, like other people’s kindness, your inner strength etc.  And especially when something good happens feel grateful, enjoy the moment, expand that experience as much as you can and store all those upbeat feelings and emotions.

 There are many ways to enhance realistic optimism and positive emotions such as focusing on the heartening moments of our life, cultivating uplifting thoughts, spending time with inspiring optimistic people, taking part in fun social events and doing things you enjoy.

 So next time you feel the world is against you, flip that thought and prove yourself wrong!

If you want to cultivate your optimism and share the positivity check out when the next Mindfulness Teacher Training Course is and gain an accreditation to start teaching mindfulness.


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