How to Be Optimistic: 10 Powerful Habits to Fuel Optimism

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There’s plenty of uncertainties in life, but one thing you can count on is that there will always be good and bad times. Some days are happy, and others are sad, that’s the nature of life. However, the way you choose to face daily challenges is what makes the difference. Your ability to ride life’s waves with optimism and composure is what determines your happiness and success.

You can never stop life from throwing challenges at you. You can’t prevent the unexpected from messing with your dreams and goals, but you can always choose how to respond. You need to train yourself to shift to a healthier state of mind, especially when obstacles pop up.

The moment you identify what’s deflating your spirit, make a plan to overcome it and develop mental weapons. Bring out the big guns if you have to, just make sure you turn those thoughts into action. Instead of getting angry, passive, or aggressive, use that time to solve the problem.

There are so many challenges that make us fall prey to hopelessness. Problems like personal health, world affairs, relationship struggles and standstill careers can all make you less optimistic. However, to succeed and move forward, you need to combat everyday blues when we are draining in despair. Here are ten habits that will help you be more optimistic:

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1. Change Your Life While You Still Can

I know! Very Cliché! But the thing is, it’s never too late to start fresh. If you feel like you’ve been stuck in the same situation for a while, and you feel drowned in the same habit, there is always room for restoration.

Maybe you think it’s impossible to change your life the way you want at the moment. However, you don’t need to have everything figured out at once. Small changes go a long way. The minor tweaks you make will make you more optimistic and give you the confidence to make even more significant changes in the future.

2. Stay Positive at All Costs

With all the challenges life tends to throw our way, it’s easy to get lost in negativity and pessimism. However, you need to learn how to remain positive even during adversities. Whenever challenges amass, try and put yourself in a good mood. Teach yourself how to enjoy each moment as much as you can and maintain an optimistic view on life.

Start being grateful for the things you already have. Taking time to appreciate everything you have will boost your positivity because you’ll begin to realize how lucky you are.

You can make this process easy by getting a gratitude journal and take a few minutes per day to jot down some of the things you’re thankful for. Get in the habit of filling out your gratitude journal at least once or twice a day, and you’ll slowly notice you’re more optimistic about life.

3. Start Your Day With Positive Affirmations 

How you start your day when you wake up sets the tone for the rest of the day. If you start your day on a negative note, you remain cranky, irritable and angry throughout the day. Negativity insights pessimism into every other aspect of your day.

On the other hand, when you start your day a positive tone, it’s more difficult for things to bother you or ruin your mood.

One way to kickstart your optimism in the morning is to start your day with positive affirmations. Even if something terrible happens to you throughout the day, don’t allow it to dominate you. Talk to yourself with statements like, “Today will be awesome” or “I’m going to have a great day.” 

It may seem silly, but positive assertions go a long way in making sure you stay optimistic.

4. Avoid Turning Molehills Into Mountains

It is our human nature to spin things out of control. Often times we find ourselves making a big deal out of a single thought or a small situation. Since we lack control over this sometimes, it’s good to try and stop it the minute you notice it.

Just telling yourself to “stop,” when you feel your mind overanalyzing a situation can be very powerful. That small gesture helps you become aware of what you’re doing, and stop yourself from letting the situation completely spiral out of control.

After you use the word stop, try and broaden your perspective by asking yourself what the perceived problem could be. Weigh how significant that issue will be after five weeks or years. In most cases, you’ll realize it’s really not that important. And that allows you to calm down and become level-headed.

5. Find Humor in Your Challenges

Even in you’re most trying and darkest of times, try to find humor in the situation. The chances are that whatever the situation, it will make for a good story later on in your life, even if you don’t realize it at the moment.

For example, if you got laid off your job today, rather than wallow in sadness and tears, think of the most ridiculous and absurd way you could spend your last day work. Think of some of the hilarious jobs you could pursue after that, like a bubblegum sculptor or kangaroo handler.

Believe it or not, this is often the approach some of the top comedians use to come up with material. Finding humor from pain is a great tactic that helps you stay optimistic no matter what life throws at you.

6. Focus on The Small Changes You Can Make

One of the best ways to master optimism is by focusing on what you can do about your problems and situations, and then take action. Repeatedly asking yourself why you failed or why something happened to you only results in pessimism and feeling powerless.

Rather than allow yourself to swim in the river of disappointments, try and find small steps you can take to mend the situation and get the ball rolling. Making small changes every day will lead to better tomorrows.

7. Change Negative Self-Talk Into Positive Self-Talk

Often we find ourselves using words like “I shouldn’t have tried this” or “I suck at this.” It’s not abnormal for negative self-talk to creep up on you, especially when things don’t turn out like you thought they would. However, this kind of talk and thoughts become internalized feelings that can result in negative perceptions about yourself.

Instead, replace the negative self-talk with positive ones. Change the “I suck at this” to “I will be better with more practice” and “I shouldn’t have tried this” with “Maybe next time it will work out.”

8. Focus on The Now

One of the most significant causes of negativity is focusing on the future and dwelling on the past. When we fail to focus on the exact individual moments, we tend to get riled up by things we shouldn’t even be worrying about or dwelling on.

Memories of recent events or exaggerated ideas of the kind of future you want are the highest sources of negativity. To become more optimistic, focus on the now. Stay in the current and present moment. Practicing mindfulness is a great way to help you develop this skill.

9. Learn to Handle & Reduce Worries

Worrying is very destructive. Especially when you realize that most of the concerns you stress over never actually materialize or happen. Worries are just monsters and nightmares in your mind. Even even when the things you worry about actually occur, they’re rarely as bad as you made them out to be in your mind.

Worrying is nothing more than a waste of time and energy that could be better spent elsewhere. When you notice worries cropping up, stop yourself on that track and ask yourself how many of your fears have come to reality in the past. It’ll help you think more realistically and approach your thoughts with more optimism.

10. Surround Yourself With Positive People

This can’t be stressed enough! Whether it’s your friends, co-workers, or mentors, make sure they’re all about positivity and optimism, otherwise you shouldn’t have them near you. When you surround yourself with encouraging folks, you’ll hear positive stories, positive outlooks, and positive affirmations on a daily basis.

Chance are, their positive words will sink in and affect the way you think, talk and feel. There’s a reason people are drawn to people who are always happy and upbeat. Their mood and attitude is contagious! Make sure your inner circle consists of people that add to your life rather than drag you down with their negativity and pessimism.


No matter where you are in life, if you apply these ten tips to your own life, you will increase your positivity and become more optimistic. And if you feel as though there is no way out of adverse situations, then maybe it’s time to shake things up a little.

Start doing some things differently. Whether you’re changing up your breakfast routine, learning a new skill, taking a new route to your office, or traveling solo for the first time to somewhere you have never been. When you’re struggling to be more optimistic, you need to make changes in your life. Because at the end of the day, you can only move forward, backwards or stay still in life. The choice is up to you.

Additional Resources

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About the author

I'm an avid reader and love anything to do with mindfulness and mental health!

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