3 Very Simple and Daily Habits That Help Me to Stay Optimistic

by Henrik Edberg

Image by jonrawlinson (license).

.“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
Winston Churchill

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”
Maria Robinson

One of the most common questions people ask me based on this blog’s name and what I write about is simply how one can become more of an optimist.

So today I would simply like to share three habits that I use just about every day and that help me to stay optimistic in pretty much any situation. Sometimes it may take a while before I find an optimistic thread of thought but these three habits usually help me to find it.

1. Ask yourself questions that let you see the optimistic viewpoint.

When I’m in what seems like a negative situation my most common way of making something better out of that is to ask myself questions that promote optimism and helps me to find solutions.

Questions like:

  • What is one thing that is positive or good about this situation?
  • What can I learn from this situation?
  • What is the opportunity within this situation?

These questions are not something that I can always use right away when I wind up in one of those situations. Sometimes I need some time to process and accept the feelings and thoughts that arise. But after a bit of time, when those thoughts and feelings have mostly passed, I ask myself one or more of these questions.

2. Get optimistic support from the world around you.

One the most important factors for being able to stay optimistic are the influences around you. Optimism is – just like enthusiasm – contagious.
So find ways to create an environment that supports you.

  • The people in your life. Try to spend more time with optimistic people and less time with people who seem to always be negative about things. One practical way to gain a more optimistic viewpoint is by just talking to someone close to you about your current issue. Just letting it out and saying it out loud can often help you to hear how exaggerated your thoughts and emotions have become. And by talking about it with someone that is supportive you can get a positive and constructive change in perspective.
  • The information you let into your mind. One of the simplest things you can do to create and support your own optimism is simply to regularly read blogs and books and listen to or watch recordings created by optimistic people.

3. Start your day in an optimism creating way.

I have mentioned this many times in the past because the way you start your day often sets the tone for the rest of your day.

A stress-free morning leads to less stressed feelings and thoughts during your day. A work out early in your day leads to more energy throughout the day. And optimism while you are eating your cereal or having your coffee can help you to stay positive and constructive as you go through the ups and downs of your day.

Practical ways to get this good start is to read or watch something optimistic. Or to have an uplifting and/or motivating conversation over breakfast or early in your day.

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Petite Caja July 25, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Sounds good, I always try to stay positive but it’s hard, specially this year BUT I have done one thing to boost me, I have Dalai Lama’s Life rules right in front of the toilet so whenever I’m there I try to read the whole list or just read the one that I see when just glancing. :)

Helen July 25, 2012 at 5:30 pm

Henrik, thank you for this! I’m going through a tough time now and it takes a lot to be positive, but I find your site so inspirational. I’m surrounding myself with positive people, am trying to open myself to positive experiences and striving to see the good in everything. Thank you.

Lisa July 25, 2012 at 7:12 pm

An optimism creating habit that I practice ties in with #3 above. I write a page in a gratitude journal every day.

Samantha Light-Gallagher July 26, 2012 at 5:23 am

I completely agree with you on this post! One of the most critical components to a positive life is the people that surround you.

Rachel July 26, 2012 at 1:44 pm

Nice ideas – thanks

Larry Hochman July 26, 2012 at 5:31 pm

Like anything we want to learn, staying optimistic is a DISCIPLINE. It’s not something you do a few days in a row, then get your head turned by something else.

I’m on board with all three suggestions, Henrik. I also think it goes deeper. When one has a self-talk or NARRATIVE that says “I don’t like you very much” it’s difficult to commit to the three suggestions. I’d say acknowledging the difficulties you have with self respect and self love is a good start toward making peace with yourself…then agreeing to give yourself a strong COMMITMENT to the activities of self respect that will allow you to change that self talk once and for all.

By the way, that’s exactly what I did a few years ago when I had the realization at 2:00 am that I didn’t like myself very much, which is why I sabotaged every personal growth and business plan I made up to that point. When I made peace with where I was and changed my personal narrative, the techniques became easy…and fun! :)

Kumar Gauraw July 27, 2012 at 12:09 am

What works the best is an optimistic, gratitude filled self-talk first thing in the morning.
When we have an attitude of gratitude, our life is naturally filled with optimism. Being grateful for the countless blessings everyday is the secret formula I found to stay optimistic, stay happy and achieve amazing things in life.

Thank you for this nice post Henrik. Appreciate you sharing these.

Jess @ Sparrow + Sea July 27, 2012 at 1:55 am

Great post Henrik! I think many people are not aware that there are conscious choices and actions you can take that will drastically improve your outlook on life.
Most mornings, before I get out of bed, I try to list 5 things that I’m looking forward to that day. Sometimes they’re big, obvious things (a friend’s birthday party, my boyfriend coming home from a trip) and sometimes they’re small (eating delicious chia pudding for breakfast, checking my blog’s comments). It’s a quick, easy way that I can refocus my mind on positive things throughout the day and to actively cultivate optimism. Thanks for your post!

Stefan Parmark July 29, 2012 at 7:31 pm

Very insightful article, Henrik. Positivity works good when you are in decent mood, but what if you aren’t? What works best for me is to have positive and supportive friends. When I’m down, they always bring me back on track.
A friends also taught me this: You are the average of your six closest friends. So just by surrounding yourself with more positive people, you automatically become more positive. It is hard to be negative when you hang around positive people. :-)

Stacy July 30, 2012 at 3:56 am

I am all about HAPPY……it seems to be others that inflict their sorry selfs upon me which makes me look for insurance to remain happy.

Andreea July 30, 2012 at 9:15 am

Something that I do when I’m in a “not so agreeable” situation, is to constantly repeat to me, that I will see later on why my life turned this way! And that all what happends to me will turn out for the best. That relaxes me a lot and doesn’t let me forget the complexity of life..

Miranda July 31, 2012 at 5:34 am

When there’s chaos, I always act not like the Lion, the Hyena, or the Water Buffalo. I act as the Leopard, and I look for something ‘useful’ or positive in the situation. Bad things happen, and what like Simba learned in The Lion King, ‘hakuna matata’

Great post, as usual :-)

Henrik Edberg July 31, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Thank you everyone for all your kind words and added insights and tips on optimism! :)

Furries @ Furries-Happyclub.com July 31, 2012 at 3:53 pm

A bit of reversed psychology might also help.
Think of the worst possible situation you could be in, or somebody else is in and then look at where you are…
A wave of gratitude and thankfulness often comes and everything looks much brighter.

Musings in Red August 1, 2012 at 10:10 am

I ran across your blog about a week ago and it has been of immense therapy and help to me! Thank you so much for taking the time to write about a very much needed topic!

:) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

Dennis August 1, 2012 at 12:13 pm

Loved the article, definitely keeps me on track to stay optimistic. I wold have to say that surrounding myself with positive people is the one that helps me the most.

Success August 1, 2012 at 10:45 pm

My biggest thing I do to stay optimistic is to simply do things that make me feel good in the beginning of the day, which gets me in the right mood before I do things that I don’t really “want” to do, which makes those things a lot more fun to do.

Lynn Ruby August 4, 2012 at 10:32 pm

Thank you for another wonderful post.

As for #2 it is incredibly important. Especially for those who might have a family member who is a natural pessimist and who cannot be avoided on a daily basis. In those situations, I like to always remind myself that “They are doing the best they can with what they know now. Just like I am!”

Randy Higgins August 6, 2012 at 3:59 am

I read anything that is inspirational or motivational first thing in the morning! I love to listen to positive affirmations. And I believe personal development first thing in the morning allows me to not only have a great attitude but also to pass it others who I come in contact with!

Thank you!


Joe August 6, 2012 at 8:51 pm

I believe point #3 is a huge key. However, even bigger is maintaining that optimism throughout the day, especially as the obstacles arrive. I believe that’s where the questions in point #1 come in handy. These are excellent tips and I will certainly take them with me today and everyday. Thank you!

sreekanth August 11, 2012 at 8:03 pm

Great thoughts, useful in day to day affairs and most of them are actionable.

Iványosi-Szabó Zoltán August 12, 2012 at 10:46 pm

Great post! Fully agree on the advantages of positive thinking! I also believe that recording positive, reassuring thoughts about oneself can start the establishment process of having a positive attitude for the rest of the life. Also dream videos are hugely motivating!
Always look on the bright(er) side! :)

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