Are you an optimist or a pessimist? If you feel like you’ve been looking at life with a negative lens lately, here are 6 steps to train your brain to think like an optimist – so you can feel happier and more confident.
It happens to all of us.
If you’re feeling particularly angry at life right now, I’ve got a terrific tool which has been proven to help.
This “self-talk” can either enable you to persist in the face of challenges – or completely disable you.
Martin Seligman describes it like this: “Pessimists, who generally don’t bounce back easily from bad times, see failure as permanent, pervasive, and personal. They tell themselves things like: ‘My life is ruined!’ and ‘This bad thing is going to undermine everything.’”
Optimistic people, in contrast, tell themselves that setbacks are temporary – confined to that one situation. Optimists tend not to get angry at the universe.
Optimists simply assume that bad events are an exception – and good things will continue to happen.
Dr. Seligman has partnered up with Dr. Karen Reivich to create a specific process for thinking more like an optimist – that’s literally as easy as A B C D E.
Write down the 5 letters A, B, C, D. E on 5 different pages of your journal.
Write down the nature of your “Adversity.”
Describe the situation in terms of…
Think of yourself as a reporter writing down the facts and nothing but the facts.
Be as objective and as unemotional as possible.
To identify your “Beliefs,” slow down and listen to your self-talk.
Specifically listen for beliefs that sound “permanent, pervasive, and personal.”
It takes practice and lots of self-awareness to identify your “self-talk” or “story,” but it’s important that you learn to recognize your self-defeating (and inaccurate) Beliefs.
Take some notes on the chatter in your brain.
Listen to yourself. Write it down. Capture it.
In other words, how has your Adversity changed you?
Question the reality and accuracy of your interpretation.
“I’ll never get a job.”
“This always happens.”
“I’m an idiot.”
Come up with an alternative (and more realistic) way of looking at what happened.
Restate your beliefs so they’re more accurate.
Start your sentences with…
Disputing often puts us in a resourceful place. When you have been effective in disputing the beliefs, you feel a surge of energy, a sense of renewed hope.
Write about how your answers to #4 improved your “Energy.”
(I write about this more in an article here.)
Swap feeling like you’re wearing a “KICK ME” sign – and start feeling like you’re wearing a “KICK ASS” sign!
Recognize that you are strong and worthy – and you have it within you to create the life you want for yourself – if you just take each day one day at a time!
Need more support to think happier?
I’d love to hear your insights on the comment section below! What’s something which comes to your mind and heart when you read my tools for letting go of anger at life? Be specific! Share your personal story or a personal happiness tool!
Hi I’m Karen Salmansohn, founder of NotSalmon. My mission is to offer you easy-to-understand insights and tools to empower you to bloom into your happiest, highest potential self. I use playful analogies, feisty humor, and stylish graphics to distill big ideas – going as far back as ancient wisdom from Aristotle, Buddhism and Darwin to the latest research studies from Cognitive Therapy, Neuro Linquistic Programming, Neuroscience, Positive Psychology, Quantum Physics, Nutritional Studies – and then some.