"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty." - Winston Churchill
Is the glass half-full? Is it half-empty? Does it even matter?
In my journey with burnout, I learned the relationship between optimism and health. Early on, I suffered from fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and burnout. I experienced every challenging emotion on the spectrum - loneliness, frustration, anger - and felt very much like a pessimist.
And I stayed that way for a while... Bedridden and isolated from the world.
Until I realized: I was choosing to feel this way. I was choosing to feel sorry for myself. I was choosing to stay stuck.
I didn't want to feel that way anymore. I wanted to feel empowered again. Now, I choose to look at the glass half-full. Sure, my situation sucked. But positive change depended on ME taking action and having a positive outlook.
And it worked. Through optimism and taking action, I healed from burnout and fibromyalgia.
Optimism saved me and it can rescue you from signs of burnout, as well.
What is Optimism?
Optimism is about staying hopeful and positive about your present and future.
But it's more than a mindset shift. It's a lifestyle change. Optimism can have a profound impact on your life satisfaction, how you make decisions, and what types of goals you embark on.
However, many pessimists and realists are skeptical of the benefits of optimism. They believe that optimists suffer from the Pollyanna Principle or positivity bias - an unhealthy fixation on the positive while avoiding the negative. They prefer to feel happy instead of taking action and facing reality.
Sounds more like delusion and wishful thinking, right?
After all, how can optimism pay your bills? Or pick up the kids from school? Or restore peace to your chronic anxiety?
I felt that way until I discovered firsthand how life-changing optimism can be.
What Can Optimism Do For You?
Optimism benefits both your mental and physical well-being. Studies show that those who are more optimistic are at less risk of coronary heart disease.1
Another study shows that greater optimism can reduce the effects of chronic disease.2
Optimism has a healing effect on your body!
By replacing my victim mentality with optimism, I was able to take charge of my burnout and fibromyalgia symptoms. This is because my new positive outlook changed the way I related to these symptoms and empowered me to take action through self-care.
When you embody positivity and optimism, you tend to live longer, you're more likely to build healthy habits, and you cultivate greater resilience during hardships.
Are you ready to welcome more optimism into your life? Here's how you can do it.
4 Tips On How to Be More Optimistic
#1 Practice Gratitude
When was the last time you sat in silence, appreciating the blessings that touch your life?
It may have been a while.
Your life often gets hectic. Your calendar is overbooked. You have obligations to fulfill and deadlines to meet.
In the hustle and bustle, you forget to simply appreciate.
Take a moment to do that right now. Ask yourself:
What are three positive things that happened today?
Make answering this question a daily habit. This simple activity will train your brain to actively seek out what's right in your life, instead of dwelling on what's wrong.
#2 Surround Yourself with Positive People
Jim Rohn said that you are the average of the five people you surround yourself with. If the people around you are constantly complaining, negative, and pessimistic, then you are more likely to exude those same characteristics.
Instead, set yourself up for success and wellness by associating with people who:
- Set goals and take action
- Choose optimism over pessimism
- Encourage and uplift you
- Cultivate a growth mindset
- Build healthy habits - The friends and family you keep close to you can influence your daily habits and your overall well-being.
#3 Use Inspiring Affirmations
Pessimism affects more than how you perceive the people and world around you. It can also distort how you see yourself.
You put a magnifying glass over your flaws. You catalog your faults. You doubt your skills and potential.
Daily affirmations help you replace these pessimistic thoughts with more optimistic beliefs, by giving voice to reminders of your strength and worth.
Every morning when you wake up and every evening before you go to sleep, look at yourself in the mirror and say:I love myself. I respect myself. I accept myself. I am worthy of love and abundance.I exude optimism, confidence, and self-compassion.
You might not believe the words at first, but they will eventually manifest into your reality. Over time, you will believe that you are worthy, valuable, and powerful.
Optimism isn't about overnight change. It's about being open to positive change, even when your current situation is less than ideal.
#4 Be Solution-Oriented
Think about the last time something didn't work out the way you wanted. It sucked, right? You might have felt discouraged. Perhaps you blamed the world for this setback.
It's okay to process your emotions before taking action. Just keep in mind that the worst thing you can do in adversity is nothing.
Optimism is more than looking on the bright side. It also encourages you to take real action to effect positive change in your life.
Don't let your temporary setbacks limit you. Instead, take back your power.
When you're struggling with something, approach it as a challenge to solve. This perspective shift will keep you focused not on what happened to you, but rather what can you do about it?
Think about a setback you recently experienced. What action steps can you take to solve it?
Optimism and Health Begins With Self-Love
The choice to be optimistic is an act of kindness we show ourselves.
Each time you express optimism, you're choosing the glass half-full over half-empty. Choosing to keep going over giving up. Choosing positivity over cynicism.
Optimism also inspires you to make more empowering choices, even in hardship: choosing self-compassion and self-love over despair.