How to Stop Being Pessimistic: 12 Powerful Habits to Kill Pessimism

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Are you the type of of person that likes to see the glass half empty, or thinks that we are doomed and that the world will crash eventually? Or the type that likes to feel sorry for themselves, and you find it impossible to understand the essence of laughter in the middle of a storm? If so, then you might be a pessimist!

Pessimism can be the most disastrous attitude in your life because it ruins possibilities and hopes. Pessimists don’t hope for better futures, and they also don’t make any effort to achieve it. When pessimists face challenges, they find it impossible to overcome them. That’s why pessimists often remain stagnant in life and rarely move forward.

The truth is we all experience pessimism every now and then. But when you start to look at every situation in your life from a negative point of view, that’s when it’s a problem. It can even cause you to waste some of the best years of your life if you’re not careful.

Luckily, there are some things you can do to reverse your outlook on life. It won’t happen over night, and it probably won’t be easy. But it’s well worth it if you want to live a happier and more fulfilling life.

Here are 12 powerful habits you should master if you want to stop pessimism once and for all:

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1. Face What Scares You The Most

Sometimes you need to beat pessimism by facing your fears head on. Facing your biggest fears will make you realize that they’re not nearly as bad as you think.

It’ll also help you gain confidence because you faced “the impossible” and made it through. To gain courage, fear has to be eminent, and therefore accepting your concerns enables you to recognize your courage. If you keep avoiding those worries, you will never take any action, and you’ll remain a pessimist. 

2. Focus Less on the Impossibilities and More on the Possibilities

One of the primary roots of pessimism is focusing the mind on a bunch of impossibilities. Pessimists tend to see the enormity of the challenges they face instead of looking for ways to solve them.

That’s why they never see themselves as winners, because their minds are overwhelmed by the difficulties it takes to become successful.

To overcome negativity, you need to focus on the possibilities and solutions. Find a way to overcome the difficulties instead of dwelling on them. Look for ways you can go through the impossibilities and be victorious in the end.

As cliche as it sounds, you need to learn to look at the glass as half full rather than half empty.

pessimists see the glass half empty

3. Address Your Future Self

Maybe your life is entirely black or gray at the moment. Use that time to talk to your future self. Imagine the person you might be six years from now and talk to that person. Ask questions like, “Hey, how is life now? Still, have those issues from six years ago?”

Your answer will probably be that you don’t even remember what the problem was. Then your current self will smile and be more relaxed. This technique may seem silly and unrealistic to a pessimist, but it can be very useful.

4. Stop Caring About What People Think

Continually thinking about what folks will think or say if you do or fail to do something makes you fall prey to negative thoughts. It also makes you fall into an analysis paralysis. You will eventually get stuck in negativity that will draw you away from reality and what you want to accomplish.

Contrary to what you might think, most people don’t have the energy, attention, or time to talk or think of what you’re doing. Most people have their own hands full with their job, kids, spouse, and their worries and fears to be concerned with what you are doing with your life.

When you realize this, you will free yourself from constraints you create in your head and take small, or more significant steps towards achieving what you want in life.

5. Help Someone

Small acts of kindness help to shift your focus from your problems and replace your pessimistic mindset. When you help people out of the blue, you stop focusing on why you don’t have enough money, health or love.

Suddenly your focus isn’t on what you don’t have, or the things you wish were better. Instead, you’re thinking of how you can help someone else and improving their life, even if it’s by doing something as small as helping them carry their groceries or holding the door open for them.

6. Replace the Sources of Negativity in Your Environments

More often than not, negativity is brewed by what you allow in your mind every day. Identify the primary sources of pessimism in your life. It might be the internet, people, podcasts, music, magazines or anything in between. Then find ways to spend less time with those sources of negativity.

Instead, spend your free time on things that boost your energy, and the pessimism will slowly start to go away. The stuff you do in your daily life has a huge impact on you positively and negatively; it is up to you to filter out the negative and embrace the positive.

7. Talk it Over and Let It Out

If you decide to bottle up negative thoughts in your head, you will always be pessimistic about life. So when you notice bad thoughts creeping into your mind, talk it out and let it out to someone you consider close to you or a therapist.

Venting allows you to see the situation in a new and different light. Having a conversation about it will help you find a useful perspective or come up with an action plan that will recharge and relieve you.

8. Read Inspiring Stories

Read stories or watch videos of people who have gone through the same challenges as you. It will help you focus on the possibilities and less on the impossibilities.

Their stories and experiences will inspire you to be more positive since you know that other people made it out of similar circumstances. Use the inspiration as fuel to keep at it and never give up.

9. Live in and Come Back to This Moment

When you keep thinking about things that happened in the past, you become trapped in negative thoughts. Pessimism causes you to keep going back to the past or worrying about what might happen, or both, which only makes things worse.

To overcome this, you need to make a habit of spending more time in the present moment. This will allow you to have more positive thoughts, and become more constructive and open. You can do this by:

  • Focus on your breathingTake deep breaths and make sure that you’re breathing with your stomach and also through your nose. Focus on the air that’s coming in and going out and ignore everything else.
  • Get out of your head and shift your attention to taking in the world around you. Focus on the people walking around you, the noises and muffled words on the streets, the aromas around you, and feel the sun shining in and warming your skin.

Learn how to use mindfulness to live in the moment and reduce stress

10. Do Short Workouts or Take a Long Run

Sometimes you need to use your body to change your headspace. So when you feel negative thoughts storming your brain, go for short workouts. It could be 20-30 minutes of cardio, or you could lift some weights. Working out will help release the worries and inner tensions because it makes your mind focused and constructive.

You can also take long runs to help get your mind off your pessimistic thoughts. Running has been proven to be an excellent way to squeeze stress from your body. When you’re stressed, you unconsciously contract your muscles and put yourself in flight or fight situation. Releasing that energy helps you become more positive.

11. Practice Gratefulness

When you become consumed in negativity, it becomes so easy to forget some the positive aspects of your life. It’s easy to take the seemingly small things in your life for granted. Some of the typical things we should learn to be grateful for are shelter during the cold, rainy, and windy days and nights, food, clean water, and love from friends and family.

12. Connect to Your Spiritual Power Source

Sometimes, especially when our strength is limited, we need other sources of power. One excellent source of power is a spiritual source.

Depending on your religious beliefs, praying or meditating allows you to connect to a supernatural source for the guidance and strength you need. For some people, this has proven to be the most reliable power source and a good way to combat pessimism.


Pessimism numbs your dreams and steals your hope. It also ruins your day and stops you from fulling enjoying your life. Try beating negativity by starting your day on a positive note.Then keep going with that emotion and optimism until its bedtime.

Read quotes that inspire you, come up with dreams and goals that will make you passionate about life, or just write yourself positive notes. Take small daily steps of positivity that will propel you from pessimism to optimism.

When the door closes, look out for the open windows because sometimes success comes in the most unexpected and unpredicted ways. So open your mind to unexpectedness and let new things happen effortlessly.

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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