Without question, we all love to be around optimists. Those positive, chirpy, and excited personalities are a pleasure to behold – and somehow, they always get the breaks.
We may chalk this up to different characters…upbringing maybe? These positive people must have had a sweet life to be able to maintain that permanent sense of being bright and happy.
Optimism stems from the Latin word “Optimus” meaning good, or best. The dictionary describes it as “a disposition or tendency to look on the more favourable side of events or conditions and to expect the most favourable outcome. The belief that good ultimately predominates over evil in the world. Hopefulness and confidence about the future or the success of something.”
So, we can ask ourselves – not “what is my life like”- but “what can I make my life like”?
People are generally happy to give life advice, telling us to think positive, and be happy, make the best of things, do your best…
But what does optimism look like on a day-to-day basis, and how can we cultivate this essential behaviour?
Look for the silver lining
Bad things happen.
You may fail a test, or miss an important lecture. You may have a roommate with the hygiene habits of a silverback gorilla, or you may have serious money woes. However, psychological studies have shown that when we view the pressures and disappointments of life in a way that enables us to learn from the problem and look for a solution, it has a powerful effect on our overall mental health. We practice finding solutions (a valuable life skill indeed), we learn lessons so as not to repeat our mistakes, we push ourselves to a new place which may be better circumstantially than we had previously.
Clichés are there for a reason, and when life throws you lemons – yes, you guessed it. Actively turning an obstacle into an opportunity creates an inner strength and a quiet optimism that will keep you in an elevated mental space.
Focus on your inner dialogue
Optimistic people, without fail, have a positive inner dialogue. They talk to themselves in a kind way and don’t beat themselves up over past failures. However, the real secret to positive inner dialogue is to take responsibility for your position. As we said, bad things happen, but blaming our situation on others immediately turns us into a victim. The knock on effect of this is that when great things do come our way, then we know that they’re not simply “good karma” or a lucky streak. Rather, they are the results of consistently good decisions and a willingness to do the hard thing.
The mental fortitude that university life requires is nothing to be sneezed at. So take the time to prepare your mind to be positive, uplifting, and optimistic. Focusing on the good, being grateful and taking responsibility for your own life will stand you in good stead when the adult years arrive.
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