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 Lifehack, The Huffington Post and Paulo Coelho’s blog. Click here to learn more…

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Mary Alice

    Very practical advice that I have used often. It has really begun to make me more optimistic overall. THANKYOU!

  • Anna

    Thank you Henrik! Important point to remember the three questions to ask to see the positive in the negatives, also the quote from the great Winston Churchill. You are always in point, have a joyful day!

  • Thank you for these helpful tips on becoming an optimist.

    Positive thinking will always lift our spirits better than negative thoughts.
    Always remember, “This too shall pass.”

    Keep moving forward.
    Jason Andrew

  • Lois

    Thank you, you gave me hope

  • Melon fred

    This words has created more vigor in me to deal with the ups and downs, and to have a BUT in all my decision before I go on to do it

    • Very helpful advice especially the 3 questions to ask ourselves during our low times.

  • Edgar

    Very inspiring quotes from Churchill and Nin
    Thanks Henrik!

  • :)

    Thank you for providing a positive content.

  • Please consider writing a more depth post on this topic. If it’s a very popular question you get asked, why not give as much information as possible to cover every angle? Not saying this wasn’t great, but I would have loved to have seen at least “10 Ways…”, making it a fuller, more fleshed out article. Just a suggestion.


    I live on the west coast of Michigan. On 10 August 2020 a huge storm came across Lake Michigan which caused a power outage lasting 43 hours. After a few hours of waiting for the power to come back on, I used your positive thinking ideas to get me through. I realized that it was August and NOT January so I wouldn’t freeze to death. What I learned is that being without electricity made the pandemic look like a walk in the park. Finally, I got to clean out my garage with a broom!

  • I love how starting your day in an optimistic way, like working out or reducing stress when waking up, is one of your main habits to focus on. I think too often, people believe optimism will just happen sometime in the day. When in reality, we could start our day with established routines, which can have a great effect on our mental fortitude for the rest of the day. Ryan

  • Great advice Henrik.
    We can find out who we are by examining our 5 closest friends.

    If we spend time with positive people, we will be positive as well.
    R.G. Ramsey

  • That awesome

  • I so much agree with the point that optimistic, like enthusiasm, is contagious. It’s hard to be positive when you’re surrounded by negative souls.

  • Great Post I’m really impressed with the writing and the thought especially. I also like to read more posts in the future related to that.

  • starting out day in an optimistic way is a great way to help us stay positive.

    If we surround ourselves with positive people

    R.G. Ramsey