Have you ever wondered how some people do it? They smile and people smile with them, they have good days even when they have bad days and they have positive relationships with other people and themselves. What’s their secret?
Well, here’s the secret. We’ve outlined 25 beliefs of the unwavering optimist so that you, too, can have great days even when things don’t go to plan!
1. Everything is temporary
Life situations, feelings, thoughts, emotions… everything will pass. This is particularly comforting when we are feeling unhappy or we’re going through tough times. Change is the only constant.
2. You always have a choice
Always. Even when it doesn’t feel like it, even when the option is between bad and worse, there always a choice. This gives you control of your life meaning if you aren’t happy with an area of your life, you can change it, if you want to improve it, you can change it; and if you really think about your options, you might find there are options you hadn’t thought of…
3. Compassion and forgiveness for yourself is essential
You did what you could with the resources you had at the time. The only one who suffers when you don’t let things go is you.
4. Smiling is contagious
Smiling makes you feel amazing and people see it. When have you been a good mood and walked down the street grinning. People smiled back, right? There’s absolute truth in the saying:
When you smile, the whole world smiles with you
Yes, even on the London tube. Try it!
5. Learn how to reframe
Reframing is the ability to put a new meaning to an old situation, just like putting a new picture frame on an old painting. It’s useful to learn if you have an option of bad or worse (remember this is still an option). Reframing allows you to make your chosen option easier to deal with by making it more palatable.
6. Every situation has a teaching
There is something to learn from every experience. Challenges and “failures” show us what NOT to do, they show us how to improve. So before letting a challenge get you down, write down everything you’re learning from this experience. Talking of failure…
7. Remove the word “failure” from your dictionary
There is never failure, only learning.
8. Expressing gratitude is essential
Happiness comes from appreciating the little things and celebrating every success.
9. There might be another explanation
Before jumping to conclusions that could be harmful to yourself and others, consider some other explanations. Just as a satsuma has many segments, there are many possible explanations for a single event. We do not know which answer is the truth so what is the point in being angry or upset about an explanation that could be completely wrong?
10. There’s a difference between experiencing and wallowing
We all need to moan and complain and curl up on the sofa and cry. It’s a healthy expression of emotion. Sometimes we need to cut off in order to collect our thoughts and emotions, and that’s good. What’s less helpful is getting stuck in this state and if you start to feel as though you’re stuck wallowing in your unhappiness, it’s time to ask for help. Talking of which…
11. It’s okay to ask for help
We all get stuck and we all need help. Whether this is because you don’t practically know how the next step or because you’re trapped in unhelpful thought processes and emotions, someone somewhere has been through it before. Very often, the quickest and easiest way to move forwards and push past the stuckness and pain is to ask for help.
12. Healing takes time…and that’s okay
Life is full of challenges, pain and setbacks, trauma and tragedy. As difficult as it is sometimes to deal with it, there is a way forwards. Recognising the need for healing is a necessary step forwards and acknowledging that healing takes time is the next step. Look after yourself and be patient when healing takes longer than you expected or wanted.
13. We’re all on a journey
If where you are isn’t where you want to be, it’s just a stepping stone to where you are going. It’s easy to beat ourselves down for not being where we think we should be. But we’re all on our own journey going down our own paths to our own chosen destinations.
14. Set intentions
Something close to magic happens when we set an intention or make a wish because some other part of you will start working to make it happen before you’re consciously ready. It’s as though the whole universe conspires to make it happen. Believe in miracles.
15. Do things for fun!
You’ll never lose out if your main reason for doing anything is curiosity, desire and fun. Whatever you choose to do, make sure it makes you happy.
16. Opportunities are everywhere
There is no such thing as “once in a lifetime” because when one door closes, another door opens. If it’s happened once, it can happen again.
17. You have control over your responses.
Yes, this is hard because our responses are so heavily built on our past experiences. However, it is possible. After all, what would be the point in existing if we could not manage and control our responses.
Personal responsibility is important because it puts you in control of your own happiness.
18. It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it
Communication has a huge impact on our relationships and, subsequently, our wellbeing and quality of life. Positive communication usually results in positive relationships as people respond positively to you. Similarly, being rude and aggressive means you’ll probably meet some rude and aggressive people in return! Learn how to say what you need to say in a polite, respectful and eloquent way to keep your relationships healthy and keep your heart alive.
19. You can choose who you keep in your world
The people we spend our time with will radically impact how you live your life and how you treat yourself. “you are the average of the five main people you have in your life” So they say. So look around you. Who do you have in your life? Do you want to be like them? Is their presence in your world helping or hindering you? Now, this isn’t to say we need to completely cut ties (unless you really want to!) Rather, what we want to do is just make the decision about where you put your time, energy and focus, and put the vast majority of it in a positive space with positive people who will help you expand, grow and move forwards.
20. Nothing is personal
Good or bad, nothing is personal. The rude cashier might have had a bad day, the bus driver might not have seen you. The world is not against you. Events are far less personal than we sometimes realise and liberation comes in realising that, quite bluntly, we aren’t the belly button of the universe!
21. People notice much less than we think
Talking of being the belly button of the universe, you know those times where you feel the world is staring at you and judging? This is called the spotlight effect and studies have shown that people notice much less than we think they do. So stop worrying and get on with living!
22. Help yourself
Do what you need to do in order to achieve what you want to achieve. If you want that job, hunt down the employer, if you don’t know what to do with your life, keep exploring. If you want to strengthen your personal relationships, connect with people, and if you’re getting stuck, look within yourself and seek the help you need.
23. Luck exists
Believe in luck because luck means amazing things can happen without you needing to do very much. Luck means being in the right place at the right time. Luck can be magical.
24. Synchronicity is a sign that you’re on the right path
So keep your eyes open for those coincidences, synchronicities and serendipitous occasions!
25. Life is finite, it’s too much work to be unhappy
We cannot control all of life or the world. What we can control is ourselves and how we deal with and manage what happens in our world. Life is finite, it will eventually come to an end.
Living in a state of stress is hard work, pain hurts, anger is lonely. It’s a lot of work being unhappy!
The moment you start practising happiness, is the moment you realise you don’t ever want to live in any other way again. Start practising how to live in a state of unwavering optimism and watch your life change.