Wouldn’t it be great to have a carefree life, with no ups and downs and achieve everything we ever wanted? But unfortunately life isn’t like that, and as human beings we have to navigate our way through the challenges that face us.

For many of us life is particularly tough at the moment, but if we learn to think like an optimist, life’s challenges could become more bearable so we can hopefully get through them more easily.

When bad things happen, optimists believe they won’t last forever and that the good will return. Optimism is a hopeful, positive outlook on the future, yourself and the world around you. It is a key part of resilience, the inner strength that helps you get through tough times. By definition, optimism helps you see, feel and think positively.

If we can learn the techniques to be an optimist, it doesn’t mean that we don’t recognise the challenges and struggles in life, it simply means we choose to focus on all that is good in life because we know it doesn’t do us any good to focus on all that is wrong.

Try the following technique, it will raise the level of dopamine (a neurotransmitter in your brain) which makes us happy and increases our motivation.1

Tips for cultivating a positive mind

Create a daily ritual of reflecting on your thinking during the day:

  1. Write down the significant events of the day and how you responded to them
  2. Notice the thinking that underpinned your response. Particularly notice your habitual thinking
  3. Evaluate your thinking and ask yourself: “was this the most helpful way to think about things?”
  4. Consider how you would like to think about the situation next time, or what would be a more helpful way to think? Write a more balanced optimistic thought about the situation in your journal

It’s been proven if you can do this as a ritual, not only does it help reduce depressive symptoms, it can also provide lifelong tools to combat negative thoughts and cultivate wellbeing.2

Additional tools

Take control of your thoughts, feelings and behaviour with the My Possible Self mental health app. Use the simple learning modules to help manage fear, anxiety and stress and tackle unhelpful thinking. You can record your experiences and track symptoms to better understand your mental health.


1 Thrive Global 2 Dr John Sharry professor at the UCD School of Psychology. www.solutiontalk.ie

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