How to Be an Optimist
Optimism is something we can improve with practice. Here are five exercises rooted in scientific studies to help train your brain.
EXPLAIN SUCCESS AND FAILURE LIKE AN OPTIMIST
Research shows that it's not what happens that determines your mood but how you explain what happens that counts. If an optimist encounters a computer program she can't figure out, she's likely to say, "Either the manual is unclear or this program is hard or maybe I'm having an off day." The optimist keeps the failure outside herself ("the manual"), specific ("this program"), and temporary ("an off day"), while the pessimist would make it internal, global, and permanent. When success occurs optimists say, "Of course dinner turned out; I'm a good cook," while pessimists say, "Boy, was I lucky today," literally snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. If you start to speak to yourself in a more positive way when you succeed and fail, you'll gradually become more optimistic.