Eek! Friday the 13th! How Developing Your Optimism Can Help You Through Your Worst Days
Well it’s Friday the 13th! Eek!!
You may have woke up today with dread,
expecting your day to be horrible. There is a real name for this fear and my inner psych-nerd just must share it with you…mainly because it is really cool to try to pronounce 🙂
This is such a great day to focus on one of the areas of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) that fosters your Stress Management capabilities, Optimism. Don’t forget to take my EQ Questionnaire (see Menu above) and find out how you are doing in the Stress Management areas of EQ (Flexibility, Stress Tolerance and Optimism).
Let’s start with a definition of Optimism…
Optimism is often defined as a disposition to expect the best and view events and situations in a positive light. In the context of resiliency, optimism refers to a sense of a positive future, to a tendency to find positive meaning in experiences, and a belief in one’s ability to impact positively on one’s environment and situation. Optimism has many benefits for mental health, including protecting against depression and anxiety. It also increases the likelihood of effective problem solving.
Does this mean you need to have only positive thoughts all the time!?!?!
No! This does not mean that every thought that goes through your mind is a positive one, actually is quite the opposite. Optimism really is the ability to balance both the positive and negative aspects of life, problem solve your way through and lead your self in a direction that is helpful in reaching your goals, and feeling happier. There is some research out there that says that tempering a “sunny disposition” with a dose of realism, even pessimism, may be the best way to build resilience in some circumstances. Sometimes being a “defensive pessimist” and preparing yourself for all the possible outcomes, can be very helpful.
It depends what you do with the negative information…
does it freeze you?
does it stop you from moving forward in your life?
does it kill your confidence?
Use this information to make a plan, to develop a new strategy, create a new perspective. No matter what you do, make sure it helps you and not hurts you. Keep trying!
“We know why optimists do better than pessimists, optimists are not simply being Pollyannas; they’re problem solvers who try to improve the situation.”
Psychologist Michael F. Scheier
Benefits of Optimism
- Better Health: Optimists tend to have better physical and mental health. More Information
- Greater Achievement in Life: Optimists have a personal style of viewing and dealing with adversity called “Explanatory” which really helps you stay on track and get back up when you are knocked down. More Information
- Persistence: Optimists don’t give up as easily as pessimists, and they are more likely to achieve success because of it.
- Stronger Emotional Health: many research studies have found that people who tend to be more optimistic tend to feel hopeful about their future, which is a key ingredient in coping with depression. Check this out for strategies: click here
- Less Stress: Optimists also tend to experience less stress than pessimists or realists. Because they believe in themselves and their abilities, they expect good things to happen. They see negative events as minor setbacks to be easily overcome, and view positive events as evidence of further good things to come.
It is a matter of mindset
Infusing Optimism: What You Can Start Doing Today…
- Recognize When You are Stuck: try not to let one thing ruin your whole day, try to notice both the positive and negative aspects in your life (what is going well), resolve conflicts as soon as possible and try to develop GRIT.
- Remember that there’s always a silver lining. If you’re having a bad week, it’s not a reason to let negativity cloud your thinking. Seek the silver lining in every challenging situation. Remember that setbacks often occur right before you reach success.
- Get over the past. Remember that the past is the past; it doesn’t need to keep repeating itself. In fact, if you keep recalling the past, you are the one taking it with you into your future.
- Be Grateful. Make a list of all the things you’re grateful for in your life. Include all smallest things to the biggest things, for example, not having to wait in line, not getting a parking ticket or appreciating the people in your life who support you. Keep this list close by for the tough times when your mind slides to the negative side.
- Use positive affirmations. Nothing brings out optimism like the use of affirmations. These positive statements bring optimistic energy into your present. Yes, there are positive things about you! Gather quotes that offer support and guidance to keep you in the best state-of-mind.
- Surround yourself with positive people. Humans are social beings that can feel the energy of others. Have fun with positive and supportive friends and family members. Just being around positive people can lift you up when you’re feeling down. You can also learn to be more like optimistic people in the way you think and what you choose to do. Let them teach you!
- Watch your language. Do you speak positively to yourself and others, or are you judgmental and negative? Try to shift over to only positive speech. Oh yes, it can be hard at first, but try it! Practice using upbeat words while you focus on the positive in every situation. Build the habit.
- Remember that even a positive life has ups and downs. Life won’t always be perfect, but there are many ways you can still make the best of it. Accept the fact that bad things will happen from time to time, but avoid dwelling on these things. You’ll bounce back if you remain open to optimism.
Check Out This Video!
I challenge you to take a moment and watch this and not feel a perspective shift in your day.
#Mindfulness #LifePerspective #Gratitude
Gratitude is associated with optimism and has been determined that grateful people are happier, receive more social support, are less stressed, and are less depressed. Recent research indicates that optimists and pessimists approach problems differently, and their ability to cope successfully with adversity differs as a result.
Remember, you are not alone on this journey. Take the opportunity to meet with a counsellor and develop the skills and strategies that will foster the best possible mindset in your life. Mohawk College students, take advantage of free counselling services! Also, there are many places around the world that offer counselling support for free or for low cost. Try it out…counsellors are not that scary…Friday the 13th may be, but we are not 😉
Thank you so much to those who have emailed me comments!
Seriously! You are helping to build my optimism 🙂
Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)
Counsellor * eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success
If you are inspired by this blog to learn more about optimism, gratitude and bringing the science of happiness into your life…check this out! Click Here
The Benefits of Looking on the Bright Side: 10 Reasons to Think Like an Optimist