A sense of optimism may reduce our risk from dying from major causes, including heart-related disease, in a recent Harvard study among 70,000 women. According to Dr. Travis Bradberry, the foremost leader in emotional intelligence, we should not only tell ourselves the best is yet to come, we should believe it.
Here are 5 ways, in these changing times, we can improve or better yet bolster our optimistic outlook:
1. Write down specific outcomes that can happen in your life, in terms of career, family or friendships, in a forward-looking personal reflection. Postdoctoral research fellow Kaitlin Hagan, co-lead author of the Harvard study, describes this step as a low-cost and likely useful intervention. For example, you might consider yourself becoming a gracious host for family and friend parties in a few years.
2. Exercise routinely and don’t hesitate to share your workout achievements with others. If you need convincing on the benefits of regular exercise, learn more here. Running, hiking or yoga may protect you from feelings of anxiousness or the blues. You may even choose to join an exercise group online that meets regularly or workout with a friend or family member.
3. Find what you are passionate about, and move forward on that! According to author Ayo Olaniyan, who writes more on how to build optimism, embarking on a journey with a purpose will keep you feeling more optimistic than if you just went through the motions. For example, you might be an especially good listener and decide to pursue a graduate degree in social work or counseling. Whatever your interest, make sure to work consistently at it and you will feel rewarded.
If you are having trouble identifying your ideal career, read here to learn some tips on how to figure that out.
4. Remember, there are failures on the path to success. Accept these as part of the process. According to Dr. Travis Bradberry, highly successful people are resilient to failure while pursuing success. Researchers interviewed 800 entrepreneurs, in a recent study at the College of William and Mary, and found that the most successful were “terrible at imagining failure.” So, while you may have been fired or quit one job, remember the opportunity to pursue your passion and succeed in fulfilling your potential may be next on the path to larger success.
5. Celebrate other people’s success. If you cannot be happy for others’ success, take it as a signal that your own life’s outlook may need some polishing. You may not be happy for every success outside of your closest social networks, but at least work on adopting the mindset for friends and family. You will see a deeper optimism rise in you, well beyond your own personal satisfaction.
In total, you can try these ways to help improve your sense of optimism. You might try an extended list of options found here written by Ayo Olaniyan. Regardless, instilling in ourselves a deep sense of optimism has many health benefits and can help you find happiness, success and satisfaction in the long run. From the ways suggested above and more, pick the ones to help you create a powerful optimistic view in your life.
Najma Khorrami is a global and public health professional with a passion for writing to help others. She earned her Master of Public Health in Health Policy from The George Washington University in 2012, and rounded out her studies with a Global Health Certificate from The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. In addition to her passion for global health policy and wanting to one day help create public health programs for the disadvantaged in developing countries, she enjoys cooking and volunteering. She hopes to spread self-empowering messages for audiences of all ages, especially youth. You can follow her on Instagram at @najonoor!