How to be more Optimistic: Live a Healthier, Happier, More Productive Life

The way we think has tremendous power over nearly every area of our lives. Thoughts, like words, are powerful. The ability to think in a more optimistic way will do wonders for nearly every aspect of your life. But, how can we go about doing this?

Luckily, there are ways to train your mind to be more optimistic. I used to think pretty negatively about a lot of things and I believe that was one of my biggest roadblocks to living the life I really wanted to live. When I finally realized my pessimistic thinking was an issue, I decided to do something about it. I started finding ways to think more optimistically.

Full disclosure: Nobody can make you change but you. If you truly want to be healthier, happier and live a more productive life, optimistic thinking is an awesome first step. If you want to train yourself to be more optimistic, check out these tips that have worked wonders for me: 

Focus on the Positives over the Negatives

Optimism begins with the ability to put positives at a higher priority than negatives. This can be done in a few different ways. Here are some really good ones to give a try: 

  • When faced with a negative thought, combat it by thinking about 2-3 positive thoughts.
  • Surround yourself with positive things (scents, visuals, music, etc.)
  • Combat negative thoughts with questions like: “What did I learn from this?”, “What could I have done to make this situation better?”, “Is there a positive viewpoint from this negativity?” 
  • Challenge the way you’re allowing yourself to think. Replace all negative thoughts with positive ones, (even neutral ones.)



Use Affirmations

The use of mantras and affirmations is one of the best ways to train your brain to be more optimistic. At first, I thought it sounded a little hokey but then I remembered the incredible power of words.

While it may seem silly, (at first), to repeat things aloud to yourself, it will make a difference in your life. It keeps the positive vibes present throughout the day and forces you to believe the words you’re saying.

Some Affirmation Ideas: 

  • “I have the power to control my thoughts.” 
  • “I choose to believe in myself.” 
  • “I will continue to learn and grow.” 
  • “No matter what, I will not give up.” 
  • “I will honor every commitment made to myself.” 

 

Let Go of the Past

A huge source of negative thinking comes from past experience. Maybe you had a bad experience in a particular area of your life and when faced with a similar occurrence, your brain automatically correlates it to the past negative experience.

The past cannot be changed. Let it go and do not allow the past to dictate your present. 

Be Goal-oriented

Focusing on goals is a great way to remain positive. Instead of focusing on anything else, (especially things that aren’t productive), focus on goals. Keep track of your goals. Make action plans to achieve goals.

Being more goal-oriented is going to help you accomplish a lot more and in turn, become more optimistic.

Some Goal Ideas: 

  • Fitness Goals (Reach a certain weight, accomplish specific workouts, increase stamina, gain more muscle mass)
  • Career Goals (Work towards a promotion, earn more money using x amount of steps, build stronger working relationships, learn a skill that’s helpful in your career, build on a skill you already have)
  • Relationship Goals (Make more time for family & friends, build a deeper connection with your partner)
  • Learning Goals (Anything you’ve wanted to learn – make a goal to learn it)
  • Creative Goals (Writing Challenges, Artistic goals, musical goals etc.)

There are always new goals you can and should tackle.

Always seek solutions over excuses

Excuses aren’t going to get you anywhere and honestly, we can all come up with an excuse for just about anything. But why do that? Seek solutions to problems and ditch the excuses. You’ll be happier for it and of course, more optimistic!

Eliminate Negative People from your Life

Being around negative people can influence you to be more negative and generally just bring bad vibes into your space. Why deal with that when you don’t have to? Toxic people are bad news – cut them out of your life. You’ll be happier for it.

Commit to Self Improvement & Personal Development

I always talk about how self-improvement and personal development are lifelong journies for all of us. We can always improve ourselves and develop more skills. To be more optimistic, you should fully commit to this process. Again, this goes back to setting goals and being more goal-oriented. Always strive to be better. The positive changes that come with self-improvement will encourage a more optimistic attitude.

Some areas of Personal Development/Personal Growth to Focus on:

  • Self-Esteem
  • Career
  • Relationships
  • Creativity
  • Health & Mental Health
  • Emotional Intelligence

Make Self-Care a larger Priority

If we don’t take care of ourselves properly, we feel like shit. Take time for self-care. It’s worth it. Ensure that you’re taking the time to take care of yourself. When we feel our best, we tend to view things in a more positive manner. Always take care of yourself! 

Don’t Compare Yourself To Others

The ‘comparison game’ as I call it, is a game you’ll never win. Somebody is always going to have it better than you and someone is always going to have it worse. Do not waste your energy focusing on what other people are doing. Instead, focus on yourself and your own journey.

Journal Your Way to Optimistic Thinking

A great way to trick your brain into thinking in a more optimistic manner is to journal about it. Again, words contain tremendous power. Use some prompts to force your brain into optimistic thinking. Stuck on what to put into a journal? No worries, use some of the prompts below to become more optimistic!

Optimism Journal Prompts: 

  • 5+ Things I’m Thankful for
  • Things I love about Myself
  • What I love about my home
  • Small Things that make me happy
  • Advice for 16-year-old me
  • Things that made me smile today…
  • I feel most powerful when…
  • A funny memory I won’t forget
  • 3 Steps I can take to be even happier are…

Choose to look at the bright side – you’ll notice the changes quickly. Optimistic thinking is life-changing 🙂

Nobody but you can change the way you think but remember this: nothing good can come from dwelling on the negatives. If you continue to focus on the negative aspects of everything, growth will be more difficult and the energy you attract, (the vibes), won’t change for the better.

Commit to being a more optimistic person. Use the tips I’ve shared. Do more of what makes you happy and strive to be better.

24 Comments

  1. Great tips! Thank you for them. I like the idea of surrounding yourself with more positive people best. I believe attitudes and emotions are contagious. My #2 is positive journaling. I was thinking about doing it myself and now I just might start with your ideas. Thank you.

  2. I think these are all really helpful tips. I’m a huge fan of affirmations and I love that you’ve included letting go of the past. I feel this is a really important part that many people don’t do.

  3. I love these tips and I need to practice more of this

  4. I love fighting negative thoughts with positive ones in the moment! Great tip

  5. Thank you so much for sharing this! I love this list, especially the affirmations.

    • You’re welcome, Morgan 🙂

  6. I’m a big fan of setting goals for myself. There’s something about tracking progress that really motivates me to keep going!

    • Same here!

  7. I love these positive affirmations and your note to seek solutions over excuses. I LOVE that! Currently at work, I’m facing some issues with co-workers regarding a couple misunderstandings. This is great advice for this situation. Rather than making excuses, I am going to strive for a solution.

    • Thanks, Monica! Solutions over excuses are always a better option. I hope that the issues with your coworkers can be resolved peacefully 🙂

  8. This was such a helpful article to read right now! I’ve been going through some really stressful situations in my life lately, and I’ve been swimming in a very negative mindset. It’s so good to have these reminders!

    • Thank you, Stephanie! I hope that these tips can help you banish that negativity 🙂

  9. Such great tips! I need to get back to keeping a journal.

    Denise | http://theelleaesthetic.com/

  10. These are great tips! I found that even making sure who I surround myself with on my virtual space is just as important as the people who are in my personal circle!

  11. Affirmations can be helpful in reminding yourself that you are capable of getting the task done. I find most of my motivation comes through my morning cup of coffee tho lol

  12. Can definitely use some more positive vibes in our lives! Thanks so much for sharing this optimistic advice!

  13. This post is really powerful! I love the idea of positive affirmations. I’m 2 weeks away from my due date with my third baby & your post has inspired me to do a few things to prepare…1) come up with some positive affirmations for after baby comes when it comes to mothering & fitness. I know these two areas are so hard postpartum and 2) journal! I am in the habit of writing a gratitude list but I like the specifics you listed. Thank you so much!

  14. Great list, and very thorough! I have made positive thinking a priority, and have learned to challenge negative circumstances by simply stating “what can I learn from this?” Journalling is on my list, too – I did it for years, got away from it, and now I feel it’s time to start again. Thanks for a good read!

  15. What great suggestions!!!! I have been doing most of these for alnost 2 years. ish I had started when I was younger!!!!

  16. Great tips! Our thoughts and the things we say to ourselves is so important to our outlook.

  17. I love setting goals and this was very helpful. I like being positive.

  18. I love the “Seek Solutions instead of Excuses!” There is a phrase I try to repeat to myself (like an affirmation) – Work the Problem!

  19. I think eliminating negative people is so powerful, yet difficult. I had to let go to some of my dearest friends because of this – and they were not extremely negative people, they just had a very different mindset than mine and I didn’t feel like going that path.

  20. These are great tips! I’m always working on being more positive and optimistic throughout the day.

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