Stress Management Workshop Key Point: The Importance of Optimistic Thinking
We live in a world that seems to thrive on negative news. Our newspapers, television and radio news focus mostly on what is going wrong around us. I never hear stories that focus on what’s good in our world. I am finding myself getting more and more sad listening to the news. How can I learn to be more optimistic? Any suggestions?
We are a product of the environment we live in, so firstly don’t be so hard on yourself. The world we live in seems to support a pessimistic way of thinking.
How to Become a More Optimistic Thinker
What can you do about it? Here are some suggestions for you.
- Take a day out of your week and avoid listening to the news on TV, the radio and don’t buy a newspaper. Then see how you feel when you don’t have that negative reinforcement.
- Practice Learned Optimism. This is a concept coined by Dr. Martin Seligman, author of the same title (‘Learned Optimism’), in which you practice learning to be optimistic. For instance, one of the concepts of Learned Optimism is called ‘Reframing’. When you reframe an event, you take something you would normally perceive of as negative and think of ways you can view it positively. Ask yourself the question, “what did I learn from this?” The moment you learn from something, it becomes positive. Look at ways that this seemingly negative event can be viewed positively. Think out of the box.
- Start a gratitude journal. Like thoughts attract other like thoughts. The more you focus on what is good in your life, the more you will find yourself having those types of thoughts. The more you change the focus of your mind, the better you’ll feel. Everyday at the end of your day, think about, then write down everything positive that happened. Keep adding to this. Then when you are feeling down, pick up the book and read it.
- Realize you can’t control what is happening outside of you, but you can learn to control yourself, your thoughts, your focus.
- Practice a relaxation technique like meditation to focus your mind on what it is you want to focus on.
As you rechannel your thinking to a more positive focus, you’ll be retraining the mind. As you continue to retrain yourself to thinking more positively, I believe you’ll find it easier and easier to think in more optimistic ways. Good luck!