Pessimism is so common, especially considering these uncertain times. People are losing their homes, their incomes, their jobs. This is certainly not a time in history when our circumstances will dictate our outlook on life. None-the-less, we can choose how we react to our circumstances. Since pessimism in a known contributor to ill-health, in these uncertain times, it is of particular importance to be careful about how we react to all that we are experiencing.
Many times, our circumstances are out of our realm of control. What we can control is our behavior and attitude towards our circumstances.
Does thinking positively mean that we learn to be bubbly and excited about going through things like bankruptcy, difficult relationships, and terrible work environments? Absolutely not! It simply means that we learn to approach our daily trials and challenges in a productive and healthy manner instead of in a constant state of negativity.
In order to assess how you are currently viewing much of what life has put on your plate, take some time to listen to your thoughts or your self-talk. What are you saying to yourself about your job, your spouse, your finances, your home? Is it largely negative? If so, then you are likely a pessimist. That’s OK! Recognizing it is the first step in overcoming it.
The next step is to write down some of the thoughts you hear yourself think. Once you have done this, you will then physically begin to change how you think your thoughts by taking your negative thoughts and change them to positive ones. Here are some examples:
1. "I can’t do that." Change this thought to "I will find the easiest and most effective way to do that."
2. "That’s too hard." Change this thought to "I will find the simplest way to do it."
3. "I can’t stand my husband." Change this thought to "I will love my husband to the best of my ability. Everyone deserves to be loved. He may not treat me well, but I will learn to have healthy boundaries with him and learn to overcome any co-dependence."
4. "My kids just aren’t very smart or good at sports." Change this to "I am so thankful for the opportunity to be raising these children and I will do my best to find their strengths and help them succeed at everything they do."
5. "I can’t stand my job." Change this thought to "I would rather be working in a different position. I will work my hardest and do everything I can to change my current circumstances."
By now you probably get the idea that you have a choice as to how you think about your circumstances. Overcoming pessimism is easier than it seems. Make a conscious decision to physically change the way you think your thoughts. It will change every aspect of your life and of those around you!
Another very important aspect of becoming more positive is that of gratitude. Gratitude is the antidote for pessimism. Everyday, upon rising, think of three things you are thankful for. It is imperative that these things be related to the areas of negativity that you struggle with the most. For example, if you feel really badly about your current relationship, find a way, even one way to be thankful for that person and if you can truly only find one thing to be thankful for about that person, be thankful for it every single day when you wake up. If you do not love your job, find something there that you can be thankful for. Your job does provide income, so that is one thing you can be thankful for. Just make sure you make gratitude the first thought you think when you wake up.
Lastly, learn to forgive. Forgiveness is one of the most important things we can practice in life. For more information on forgiveness, view the article entitled The Importance of Forgiveness.