Do you want to tap into the upward spiral of success and happiness? I have the solution for you: Be optimistic! Optimism is one of the most important ingredients for achieving your goals and experiencing inner gratification. Learn in this blog post how the upward spiral looks like, and how to tap into it to achieve greater success and inner happiness.
This blog post gives you 3 effective techniques that will help you nurture optimism throughout your life. I’ve also designed an exercise for each technique that you can apply easily to reinforce the learned techniques right away.
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The Upward Spiral of Optimism
By being optimistic, you create positive anticipation about something. This positive anticipation creates the desire to take massive action. By taking massive action, you make progress, and get fantastic results. Seeing the progress and results, you believe that your efforts will pay off. If you believe that you achieve your goals, guess what? You will be optimistic, automatically.
So, this upward spiral gives you the power to take the steps required to make progress. By taking action consistently, you will succeed. But not just that! Be optimistic and you create fewer stress hormones. Fewer stress hormones means you are relaxed and much happier. Everything seems to go more smoothly.
Pessimism, on the other hand, is the killer of success and happiness. It pulls you into a downward spiral. By being pessimistic, you doubt your success. Doubt creates hesitation in your actions; if you take action at all. Reserved, or worse, no action, won’t move you forward and will create, at best poor results; more likely, no results. With no or unsatisfactory results, you will get discouraged. You don’t believe in your success and guess what? You will be even more pessimistic.
Now, when we arrive at an obstacle or feel that our goal is unrealistic, it can be challenging to feel optimistic. Unfortunately, our brain thinks negatively by default. So, we need to condition it to stay positive throughout. Here are three techniques that help you to be optimistic and enter the upward spiral to ultimate success and happiness.
Visualize Positive Outcomes to Be Optimistic
The process of visualizing is really powerful. Try out the following exercise to realize its power.
Close your eyes and create a picture in your mind of your favorite food. Visualize eating it and imagine how good it looks, smells, and tastes. By doing so, do you feel a difference in your mouth? Did the saliva start collecting?
So, why did your saliva collect in your mouth, even though you are not eating? That happens because visualizing is real for your body. Whatever you visualize, your body is going to react in a specific way to it.
What does that mean for your optimism?
We’ve learned that what we visualize is real for our body, which means, you can practice visualizing good things, like great outcomes out of an action you took or seeing yourself succeeding at something.
Just by visualizing, your body reacts with action. So, if you have a goal and you visualize a good outcome, you will automatically have the desire to go for it. This helps you to enter the upward spiral. Once you are in there, everything falls into place, and you’ll be optimistic by default.
Of course, visualizing the good needs to be practiced consciously in order to become conditioned. So, I created the following assignment for you to nurture positive thinking.
Take a goal of yours and visualize how you succeed. Really focus on the good outcomes in a mental picture. Practice that at least once, every day for the next 15 consecutive days and you’ll recognize huge progress in your optimism.
Use Positive Language to Be Optimistic
Language is a really powerful tool that is, unfortunately, not taught in school. So often we use language unconsciously, without knowing its power. Its power can be positive or negative. Most often we use it negatively on default, which does not help us to be optimistic.
When we become aware of the small differences of language, then we have a chance to change it to the positive. The following example will illustrate a small difference in the use of our language.
‘I am a bad article writer.’
‘This is not my best article.’
Do you feel the difference? The following analysis will make them really clear.
‘I am a bad article writer.’
- ‘I am’ creates the feeling of an identity. By saying ‘I am’ you identify yourself with something. You make it a part of you and it is internal.
- This statement is global. The way it is written gives you the feeling that it affects your writing skills in general.
- By saying this to yourself, you’ll think that it can’t be changed. It seems to be permanent.
- This statement is pessimistic.
‘This is not my best article.’
- This statement is external, because it is without the identity term, ‘I am’.
- It is very specific, because it just affects this one article and not your writing skills in general.
- By referencing it to just this one article, it is also temporary. It gives you the feeling that the next one will be better.
- This statement is optimistic.
Being aware of these small differences and adjusting your language to be optimistic can make a huge difference in your optimism.
First, we need to become aware of our language. In order to do that, for the next three days, examine how you phrase what you say to yourself carefully. After that you will easily recognize how you use language.
Then take a goal and by having recognized what you are saying to yourself, you can consciously change that statement into an optimistic one using the example above as a reference. For the next 15 consecutive days, say the positive statement out loud to yourself. Not just once, but a couple of times in a row, every day.
Ask Yourself Positive Questions to Be Optimistic
You can change your perception of a specific event by asking yourself effective questions. Questions are one of the best tools to change your focus. For example, you focus on something bad if you are pessimistic. By asking yourself specific questions, you can easily direct your focus to the positive.
The following three questions are examples of effective questions.
- What else could that mean?
- What is actually good about it?
- How does this situation serve me?
You are actively seeking the good things in this situation.
This also needs to be practiced to become conditioned, so that we react positively and think optimistically in the situations that might challenge us in the future.
This can be done with past experiences. Past experiences have two advantages:
- You are already disconnected to the experience, because it happened in the past. Your feelings about it are not as strong anymore. That means, you can come up with optimistic thoughts and alternatives more easily.
- Past experiences already exist. You can take them and practice with them. That prepares you for other situations in the future.
Take a past experience and ask yourself the three questions mentioned above. Come up with answers and recognize how your focus changes. For the next 15 consecutive days, use a different past experience each day and change your perception of this experience by asking yourself effective questions.
You have now three powerful tools that will help you entering the upward spiral of optimism.
- Visualize positive outcomes
- Use positive language
- Ask yourself effective questions to change your perception to the positive.
Have fun trying them out and stick with what helps you most.
Do you have a friend or family member that is consistently pessimistic and it hurts to see how they are holding themselves back? Contribute to their lives by sharing this article with them.
How are you conditioning yourself to be optimistic in your life? Share it with us by commenting below.
Till then, smile and be optimistic!