If you are like me, you tend to get more done, feel happier and are a better friend or relationship partner when you are optimistic.
We all have days where we feel better naturally, but we also have many days where we may feel down, pessimistic, or downright depressed.
Happily, there are simple daily practices that we can follow to help improve the number of optimistic days and squash the days when we feel down.
Start your day with a practice of expressing a deep sense of gratitude – with this approach you put your mind in a state where you can't help but be positive about what you have and who you are before negative thoughts begin to enter your mind. Better that you pre-define some basic statements that emotionally trigger gratitude so that you are not having to think about this each day but instead can just re-focus your attention. Gratitude may come from your family, your own character, something you have done that you are proud of in the past, something you have, someone you have helped, etc…
2. Movement & State
Sleeping in, slouching in your chair, sitting idly in front of your TV or computer are not the best states to improve your mood or energy. Better is to stay standing, do 5-minutes of exercise after you wake up, go for a brisk walk ensuring you take 5-10 minute breaks to focus on movement for each 1-hour in a day.
3. Ask Positive Questions
When you reach decision points and/or challenges in your day (and we all do), instead of thinking the worst or asking negative questions try instead to re-frame your thoughts in terms of positive questions such as: How can we turn this to our benefit? How can we help? How do we turn this into a more positive result?
4. Exposure To Positive Stimulus
I use this quite often, I make sure that my breaks and at set points in the morning, afternoon and evening are spent exposed to positive stimulus – it could be a positive meditation, soothing music, a positive or self-growth video on YouTube, a non-fiction book where I learn about something positive, etc… Make sure you plan this because if you do not, others will dictate what you are exposed to and more often than not it is negative. Limit your exposure to news, negative TV, negative people, etc..
5. Don't Succumb To Escapism
Too many times we try to reduce our "down" times by using alcohol, anger, video games, binge eating or other methods of escaping down times – by now you realize that these behaviors do not actually work and only tend to dig your hole deeper in terms of feeling less productive and less fulfilled. Instead, replace this with positive visualizations, positive stimulus, exercise and other methods of changing your state and thought patterns without resorting to bad habits
Of course these techniques only work if you apply them daily – especially those days when you are struggling with pessimism, you want to have these techniques already established so that you are not tempted to ignore this and get stuck in a downward spiral that ends up lasting days, weeks or months.