Us pessimists like to say we are actually realists and that we try to avoid deluding ourselves with silly things like “optimism” and “a positive attitude”. But the truth is that keeping a constantly negative attitude about life is not only an obstacle for happiness, it is also a great way to rack up the stress, anxiety and all their unhealthy consequences. And don’t even think about saying “but that’s just who I am” because you can absolutely train yourself to have a better outlook in life until it’s as natural as smiling.
1. Avoid thinking about worst case scenarios
Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, right? There is some true to that, but if you are having trouble with the “hope for the best” part, then you might be actually setting yourself up for failure. Expecting the worst in any situation will make you act like the worst already happened… and it will probably lead you to an unfavorable outcome. That’s what we call a self-fulfilling prophecy. Instead, try to think about “Okay case scenarios”. You know, you are probably not going to get the best possible outcome, but maybe you will get the bare minimum to avoid complete failure? Baby steps.
2. Get a mantra that works for yourself
We all know that repeating “I’m a rockstar” or “everything is awesome” is not really effective because we don’t actually believe it. So trade your mantra for something you actually believe, like “things could be worse” and “I can totally solve this eventually”. At the same time, focusing on the parts of your life that actually bring you happiness can help you get through the day “this sucks but my kitty is waiting for me at home” can be the thing you need to endure that final presentation at work.
3. When you complain, be funny about it
Humor helps us cope with even the worst things in life. Instead of whining to your BFF, find the funny side of your problems and laugh about it with her. You will make things easier for you, and it won’t be as annoying to your friends. Bonus points, laughing and smiling actually trigger actual feelings of happiness and positivity, even if you are faking it, brains are funny that way.
4. Be kind to yourself
When you are thinking to yourself or talking about yourself, stop and ask this simple question: “Would I say this to my best friend or my partner?”. If the answer is no, it is time to find kind and loving words for you. You would never say to someone you love: “You are an idiot”, you are more likely to say something like “I know sometimes you feel like an idiot, but you are capable and you can do this because blank”. Talk to yourself like that, encourage yourself and cheer yourself up when you are down. After all, you should definitely love yourself.