Optimism: It’s a Choice

Optimism is not just cheerfulness for no reason, it’s a conscious decision to live your life choosing to have a positive attitude and expect good things to happen. Being an optimist can help you live life to the fullest.

Positive thinking is more than just a tagline. It changes the way we behave. And I firmly believe that when I am positive, it not only makes me better, but it also makes those around me better. ~Harvey Mackay

Harvey Mackay is a businessman, author, and syndicated columnist offering career and inspirational advice.

I particularly like that quote because it points out that my attitude effects me AND others around me. Making life better for someone else is a good feeling.

Knowing that I have a positive effect on someone else would definitely bring me joy.

Importance of an Optimistic Attitude

Your attitude is essential to your happiness, and research has  proven that optimistic people are happier.

If you are optimistic and see a bright future, you’ll naturally find more joy in life.

In preparing for this post, my *research uncovered the following reasons you might want to strive to be more optimistic.

Positive, Optimistic People Tend To:

  • Handle stress better
  • Have healthier relationships
  • Live longer, healthier lives
  • Be more productive
  • Be more likely to reach their goals

Optimism feels a lot better than pessimism. You have control of your experience.

Clean up your attitude and realize that only you can bring more of the feel-good optimism into your life.

If you’re a “glass is half empty” type of person, here are some ideas for how you can grow your optimism by training your brain to think more optimistically.

5 Simple Daily Habits to Become More Optimistic


1 – Slow down and be mindful.

Sometimes a busy lifestyle makes you feel rushed and scattered.

Slowing down can help you be present in the moment, and then it’ll be easier to be mindful to find the good in day-to-day life situations.

RELATED READING: Read my article to learn how to slow down and enjoy life more – even if life is busy and chaotic.

2 – Believe good things will come.

Believe and expect good things to come.

As my friends at Abraham-Hicks say, “a belief is just a thought you keep thinking.”

If you want something different than what is, then you have to envision it and believe in it.

Don’t work against yourself. Stop pessimistic thoughts before they build momentum and get you to believe bad, rather than good will happen.

Scattering pessimism on your path will just give you a bumpy ride that simply isn’t necessary.

Believe and expect good things to come.

3 – Practice thinking positively.

If you make thinking positively part of your daily ritual, when you hit a challenge you’ll be better mentally equipped to tackle it with an optimistic attitude.

“Practice” is key because thinking positively needs to be an automatic reaction, and practice really does make that happen. You’ll be more apt to see the good in challenges the day brings you.

My favorite method of practicing positivity is each night I think about three good things that happened in my day.

RELATED READING: Read my post about the Power of Positive Thinking for several other ideas to jump-start your positive attitude.

4 – Surround yourself with optimistic, positive people.

Attitude is contagious! Start limiting the time you spend with Negative Nancys. Negative people can be emotionally draining.

Resist the temptation to join a conversation revolving around pessimism or complaining. If you find yourself stuck in one, try to influence the conversation to be more positive and optimistic in nature.

Complaining is something with which I really need to continually watch myself. Complaining can temporarily help me feel like I’m part of a little community, but afterward it makes me feel pretty bad about myself.

I’m getting better at recognizing a complaint session and knowing I need to get out of it. I don’t beat myself up if I do get involved in complaining, but because I recognized it I know that I’m growing.

Bottom line: Seek out happy people – it’s pretty easy to spot people with a “half full” glass.

5 – Be attuned to your attitude.

If you’re consciously aware of your attitude, you can adjust it when you find yourself less than optimistic.

If you realize you’re complaining or being more aware of what you lack versus what you have, stop and purposely refocus.

That reminds me of this inspirational quote by Helen Keller:

So much has been given to me; I have no time to pond over that which has been denied.

Being conscious of having a grateful attitude, even for the little blessings in your life, will certainly help you be a positive and optimistic person. Strive to remain positive and upbeat.

Choose Optimism

Now you have some tools to build an optimistic mindset and remain there. In the end, the true test is how you feel about yourself.

  • Did you attack your day with optimism?
  • Did you find the bright side or maybe even find humor in things you can’t control?
  • Did you have a positive effect on the people you encountered?

When you’re proud of your actions and reactions, you’re probably on a good path to being an optimistic person. Optimism won’t cure all our troubles, but it will make life more joyful. It’s your choice; do you choose to be optimistic or pessimistic?

RELATED READING:  8 Easy Ways to Build a Positive Attitude

Sunrise with optimism

Optimism Research:

12 Replies to “Optimism: It’s a Choice”

  1. Agreed! I lived most of my life saying “yes, but…” which led to all the possible negative things that could happen. I realized I have lived through some of my worst fears and survived and even thrived. It has changed my outlook on life. As well my faith has taught me to believe the truth about who God says I am. I am beloved and worthy of love and good things. Thanks again Ellen for words of wisdom!

    1. And thank YOU for your words of wisdom. “Survived and thrived” – love that. You didn’t have bad experiences affect you for the rest of your life. Faith can really help us get through challenges. Thank you for sharing.

  2. I’m reading that ‘No F***’s’ book at the moment, which I find quite negative, even tho I agree in a lot of parts with what he’s trying to say. He’s against the forced optimism but rather not giving energy unnecessarily to bad things when they happen. I think it is ok to see the bad and feel bad, as long as you don’t go looking for it, and don’t sit there (in that state). I notice in myself I can be ‘high’ and then something happens and I sink down in mood. Trying to work on not letting the little things bug me so much, because they’re just that – little things. I do think we should expect a positive outcome tho – no use setting off into activities and preparing for negatives….

  3. So important. I’ve been dealing with a health issue, but every day deal with it and believe that I can conquer it. Finding happiness in family and in joy of others can keep us grounded, but fill our souls and hearts at the same time.

    1. Interesting question! I’m curious of your definition of an optimistic realist. Do you mean that you’re able to naturally find the good in situations? Or do you mean that you can only be as optimistic as your perception of the situation? Or maybe it’s something different? Would love to hear back from you, Jae.

  4. I’ve never met a successful person who wasn’t an optimist. Its impossible to navigate through the tough times in life without a positive attitude. Love this post and its a wonderful reminder.

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