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3 Small Ways to Promote Optimism

Dec 28, 2020

As the pandemic continues, whatever positive energy we had at the beginning has begun to wear thin. Some days, it feels difficult to face each new challenge thrown our way. It's important, however, that we not give up on optimism.

According to the explanatory theory of optimism, people who perceive failure or stressful life events as personal shortcomings are pessimists. Optimism...is the cognitive ability to understand the current situation as it is, and work for changing things in favor of ourselves. (Positive Psychology)

The ability to work toward changing things in our own favor is absolutely essential during a pandemic.

In addition to being good for our overall mental (and physical) health, developing optimism is a more achievable goal than some of us might think. Though the following steps may sound simple, they can make a huge difference.

1. Don't Get Stuck

Often, in the midst of overwhelmingly challenging situations, we have a tendency to get hung up on just one thing. We talk about it constantly; think about it obsessively; lose sleep over it. Sometimes we even dream about it. 

During challenging times, there's danger in getting hung up on just one aspect of our frustration. For one thing, this zoom focus keeps us from noticing other, smaller issues that we could easily solve. For another, it absolutely zaps our ability to harbor any sort of optimism. As long as our emotional equilibrium rests on this one problem, we won't experience joy--even when we experience a win in other areas!

To promote optimism during the pandemic, make sure you don't get too far in the weeds on any one issue. Take time to step back, evaluate the big picture, and celebrate whatever successes you may be experiencing.

2. Engage In Positive Self-Talk

Some of us have a small, negative voice in our heads, always talking down and telling us why things probably won't work out. In order to promote optimism during the pandemic, we must first promote it within ourselves.

When we're facing obstacles, here are some phrases we can use to think more positively:

  • I can handle this.
  • This situation isn't my fault.
  • It might be hard, but I can do it.
  • This is a great idea; I'm glad I thought of it.
  • I can't wait to see how this works out.
  • It's okay to learn as I go.
  • I'm doing the best I can.

Of course, in order to make positive self-talk possible, some of us must first deal with the thoughts that automatically pop into our heads unbidden.

When you realize you're talking yourself down in your own thoughts, go through this process:

  1. Listen to what you're saying to yourself.
  2. Challenge your self-talk.
  3. Change your self-talk.

This will put you on the path to promoting optimism.

3. Always Have Something To Look Forward To

Even if you have to treat yourself, always make sure you keep some light shining at the end of the tunnel.

Small accomplishments should be treated with small rewards. 

  • buy yourself a new book
  • order fresh flowers
  • take a nap

Big accomplishments warrant big rewards.

  • schedule a weekend getaway or staycation
  • have your house professionally cleaned
  • finally get that tattoo

Intentionally providing yourself with little pockets of joy amid the stress is one of the best ways to remain optimistic. Even during a pandemic.

We Can Help

Here at Futures Academy, we embrace the power of one-to-one engagement and small-group instruction to best meet the needs of individual learners. We're also committed to holding out hope and facing the ongoing pandemic with as much optimism as we can muster!

For more information on our programs, please contact us.