Turns out that the primary difference between an optimistic view of an event and a pessimistic is how we choose to explain it to ourselves. You can choose to view set backs in your life as confirmation of your failure or opportunities to learn from. Dr. Martin Seligman , Director of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania and author of the book Flourish, observed that we can learn to be more optimistic. Basically, it takes the courage to look at yourself honestly and conviction of character to become more mindful of your actions and reactions.
Starting to develop a strong foundation in mindfulness and positive outlook will increase your chances of being successful in reaching your wellness goals. Those inevitable setbacks will merely be bumps in the road rather than derailing your journey completely. So much of our failures are exasperated if not caused outright by low self esteem, low self confidence, and a habitual tendency to see the negative. Without taking a hard look at ourselves and honing in on that causality we risk sliding further into unhealthy behavior.
A good first step is to become aware of and reflect on positive events in your daily life. This could be anything from hearing your favorite song on the radio, a beautiful sunrise, or getting that spot right in front of the supermarket – whatever it is, pay it some homage! Write it down or share it at dinner with your family or friends. Start to make it a habit to dwell on those good moments more often than the bad.
Keep up with the practice of recognizing the positive in your life and slowly incorporate other positive behaviors into your daily routine. A few suggestions are reengaging yourself in a social outlet (regular dinner date with friends, a club, etc), cultivating a relationship that may have taken a backseat due to career, childrearing or other factors and pursuing an interest that you’ve been thinking about but putting off. It helps to sit down and schedule time for yourself but after a while you won’t have to worry about scheduling. Keep it up and it will become part of your healthy lifestyle.
Checkout these great books and websites to learn more about this subject.
Spontaneous Happiness. Dr Andrew Weil, MD
The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living. Howard C. Cutler, MD & The Dalai Lama