How to Become an Optimist: 3 Daily Habits To Help You Get Started

How to Become an Optimist: 3 Daily Habits To Help You Get Started

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

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”
Anais Nin

One of the most common questions people ask me via email is how to become more of an optimist.

So this week I'd simply like to share three habits that can help you to get started with that.

I use these myself just about every day to stay optimistic in pretty much any situation.

It may sometimes take a while before I find an optimistic thread of thought but these three habits usually help me to do 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 is one thing I can learn from this situation?
  • What is one opportunity within this situation?

These questions are not something that I can always use right away. 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 of the most important factors if you want to be 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.

Positive people will support you, add upbeat energy and can help you to find a constructive change in perspective when you have a situation that is bringing you down and when you are just making a mountain out of a molehill.

The information you let into your mind.

One of the easiest 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.

The way you start your day often sets the tone for the rest of it.

A stress-free morning leads to less stress and better focus 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 traveling to work or school can help you to stay positive and constructive as you go through the ups and downs of your day.

Three practical ways to get this good start is to:

  • Read or watch something optimistic or funny for 10-20 minutes during your morning.
  • Have an uplifting conversation over breakfast or early in your day.
  • Listen to a motivating audiobook or podcast as you ride the bus, your bicycle or while you're walking somewhere.

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About the Author

Henrik Edberg is the creator of the Positivity Blog and has written weekly articles here since 2006. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Gothenburg and has been featured on Lifehacker, HuffPost and Paulo Coelho’s blog. Click here to learn more…

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Powerful points you’ve put together there.
    At every bad situation the is a valuable lesson from it, if you carefully look in that bad situation you will find it.
    People see what they want to see, not what is really is.
    I also encourage everyone to hang around positive people, people who are succeeding in their life & you will see the positive change in your life too.

  • This is encouraging, i have learned to always look fr the positive in every negative.

  • oven James

    Good start makes good ending

  • Gunjan

    This is surely encouraging .
    But every early morning my father starts our day by his lectures and the habbits of us that he doesn’t like….how can I get through this?
    Please help.

  • Aba

    the article could be improved by adding examples of audio books, podcasts etc. :-)

    • Hi Aba – I recommend a free app (iPhone and Android available) called Insight Timer. There are loads of FREE guided meditations, lessons, and courses that address this and many other related topics. I use the app daily. Some of my favorite meditation and discussions are by Dr. Tara Brach and Dr. Kristen Neff. Check it out and let me know what you think!

      • Chris Staubly

        Thanks for the app suggestion, Chris. I just downloaded it and look forward to diving in. It appears to be exactly the tool I have been looking for. Again, much appreciated!

  • Autumn

    This is wonderful! Thank you for sharing this.

  • Tom Underwood

    Just wanted to say I love your inspiring email and am enjoying your self esteem course !
    Thank You !!!

  • Newseela

    A friend shared a link of your blog a year back. So grateful she did.
    It’s always so uplifting to read your blogs. Thank you.

  • Stella

    Oh, I wish I had know about your blog earlier, I would be completely a different person now. Many many thanks Henrik. You have saved my life through your blog inspirations. I feel in this shortest time I came to know about you, I have changed greatly.

  • Vickie R

    Great advice, as always. You put the powerful and important stuff in, but you keep it brief–no nonsense, no long, boring intro, etc.
    Great writing, and great advice!

  • Ryan Morgan

    Hi Henrik! I love your blog and this is a great post – thank you! One of my favorite quotes is from the American naturalist John Burroughs: “A somebody was once a nobody who wanted to and did.” (Source: Optimism is really a mindset and sometimes requiring remembering that you can choose to be hopeful and optimistic.

  • I love it! A great article! It took me a while to read with 2 small children it is not easy. But all young mothers are encouraged to read. They give kick and motivation to act! Thank you!

  • Thanks for sharing this!

    Definitely agree with the point about being around with people who are optimistic.

    I actually can’t stand being with people are negative all the time, it’s such a huge drain.

  • Hi Henrik – fantastic post, and very useful. Optimism isn’t fooling yourself into being happy. It’s a powerful mindset to help you live a meaningful and fulfilling life.

    One method I use, and teach to my clients and my own child, is to start the day by writing 3 things that you are grateful for. Research (and personal experience) shows that this simple method can have profound effects on our outlook on life!

    I look forward to reading more insights on your blog!


  • Khadim Hussain

    it’s all in mind. it’s a matter of choice. It’s indeed very important to stay motivated to be optimistic. We are supposed to clear all the clutter or unnecessary troubling stuff from our mind and always think positively despite odds.