What sets an optimistic person apart from everyone else? What makes some people dour, while others always see the brighter side of life? How is it some people are always happy, energized, outgoing and full of joy?
For one thing, optimistic people look for the positive in every situation — they accept that there is negativity in life, but they still seek the brighter side — and, there’s certainly nothing wrong with that!
Positive (optimistic) people tend to have an open heart. They see beauty where others might see ugliness. If it’s a rainy day, they may be a bit bummed about it, but they realize that just above the clouds, the sun is bright and the sky is blue — and they know that the sun will eventually show itself again, so they just deal with the rainy day.
People who have embraced positivity revolve their lives around things that uplift and inspire and they see opportunity, where others may see obstacles.
So aside from a sunny disposition (which by the way, no one has all the time), what sets optimists apart from naysayers? Well, positive people tend to have better physical and mental health, they usually manage stress more effectively and overcome adversity quicker — often coming out of the adversity stronger than before!
Anyone can become a positive thinker. While it does take some effort, it has a cumulative effect and the more positive thoughts you have and the more positive actions you take, the quicker the transition into positivity. If you desire to be a happier person with an optimistic outlook on life, consider starting with these 10 traits and habits:
People with positivity care about others — they have empathy and compassion and they seek to help people whenever they can. Once we show compassion and act to help other people, animals and nature, the universe pays it back in kind — meaning, people sense you care and thus, will care about you. It’s the circle of life, love and positivity.
Gratitude is key. Rather than stress over the fact your car is 4 years old and you want a new one, how about being grateful you even have a car? There are children literally dying of hunger — be grateful for what you have! Positive people tend to be thankful and they’re quick to show their gratitude and appreciation. Giving a word of thanks creates an aura of positivity because it brings tranquility to the person who is grateful and it uplifts the person/thing, they are grateful for and to. Take some time to reflect on all the good things in your life and regularly contemplate on all that you have to be grateful for.
Not every positive thinker is a person with a religious faith, but many are. For those that are, a huge source of their positivity is faith in God. Norman Vincent Peale, the author of “The Power of Positive Thinking” was also a Christian Minister and his power of positivity was firmly rooted in his trust and faith in God. If you’re a person of faith, keep that faith and work to make it stronger. If you’re not a person of any particular religious faith, then keep the faith in your fellow man, trusting that despite all the negative in the world, there really is much more good than there is bad.
This can at times be easier said than done. Positive thinkers however, make the conscious effort to forgive and to try and forget. Holding onto bad feelings or anger only hurts you and gives your power to the person who may have hurt you. Show forgiveness and it can heal your heart and that of the other person as well. Forgiving helps restore the balance of harmony.
Be an inspiration
The world needs inspiration and it needs people to be inspiring! If you have an idea that will help someone or something, share it. If you have an opportunity to better the life of a person, go for it! Optimistic people have a desire to brighten and improve and they’re eager to share the good in life with others — be the person who guides a friend through a rough patch, who writes that book, who creates a work of art…foster positivity by becoming a beacon of light in the world. The energy created by cultivating inspiration is incredible.
Yes, positive people do listen to their friends and family — they make the commitment to “be there” for those in need and to give advice or a word of encouragement. But the key is to really listen and to absorb knowledge and to use that knowledge for good. To correct a wrong. To improve. To make better. Positive people of course listen to other positive people, but they also listen to their hearts and soul (if you’re a religious person, this means listening to what God puts in your heart). And, positive people listen for and to those who are in need or suffering, so they may help them in whatever way possible.
Something as simple and natural as a smile can often be overlooked as a key to optimism. Smiling is contagious — smile at someone and odds are great they’ll smile back at you. When we smile, we’re setting the tone — we’re telling people “I’m feeling good and I want you to feel as happy as I do!” When we frown, we set the tone, only it’s the wrong tone — we tell the world we’re grumpy and probably in a negative state of mind. Of course, sometimes, depending on the circumstances, smiling is just hard to do — that’s fine, because that’s life. But, the key is to try as much as we can to smile and watch how that smile spreads to other people.
Position things in the positive
Positive people tend to frame things in as positive a manner as possible. For example, instead of saying/thinking “this job really sucks,” say or think “well, this isn’t the most ideal job, but at least I have a job and I can always change jobs….” It’s subtle, but effective. If we approach what we say and how we think in the negative, believe me, it begins to adversely transform our whole mind-set. Make the conscious effort to start framing what you say and how you think in a positive light.
Analyze your behavior an attitude
Reality check! Positive people tend to be more open to self-analysis and will set aside time to reflect on their general tone and demeanor. If a positive thinker senses they’re allowing negativity to creep in, they face up to it and consciously work to overcome it. To become an optimist, take the time to do some soul-searching on how you’re acting, speaking, etc.
You are what you eat
In this case, you are who you think you are and you can become who you associate with and what you watch, read and listen to. Yep, if you surround yourself with negative people, things, words, images…it’s bound to affect you. Optimistic people are mindful to expose themselves to as much inspirational and uplifting stimuli as possible. Ask yourself if you’re watching the right TV programs, or listening to the right kind of music. If you’re coming away from social events or personal hobbies/interests feeling negative, consider the source and ask yourself if it’s helping or harming you.
At the end of the day, the key to positivity is wanting it bad enough to work for it. It won’t come just by wishing it — it takes commitment and effort, but over time, it becomes easier and more natural.
Also check out: Seven Essential Traits of Highly Resilient People