Sunday, March 9, 2008

How to become an optimist (and here, I thought I already was one)

Four steps to becoming an optimist - here they are:

1. Accept that optimism does not mean "relentless cheer". It is about "engagement and persistence toward one's goals". Pessimists, it seems, are "skeptical that their own actions can lead to good results." This explains why one then gets stuck or worse, takes no steps at all. Discouragement sets in, as it seems the actions you are taking aren't resulting in the change you want to see (usually in others!).

2. Write down three positive things that happened in your day. But start the day with the intention to pay attention so that you will be aware of the good fortune that surrounds us (don't forget the mundane).("This will help convince yourself that favourable outcomes actually happen all the time, making it easier to begin taking action.") Ties in nicely with the first step - actions can lead to good results.

3. Journal but here's the shift: instead of emptying all the drivel and whining that's swirling around in your head, try envisioning a future that you desire and describe how it could come out of your present situation. (Ties in nicely with the Buddhist belief - we create our world with our thoughts.)

4. Use enthusiasm to cushion failure. (OK, I'm puzzled a little with this one. Will have to experience it to see just how this works.)

This is just what I needed - these steps were in the Toronto Star today (they sourced it from the April edition of Psychology Today). I know that I have been discouraged and wondering what good can come of this blog. Very little. But I do have a vision of the future and I have thoughts of what I can do in my present situation to educate people about the vegan or vegetarian diet. Those thoughts or dreams can take flight in action.

No matter what your goals are, if you are feeling discouraged, see if you can't tweak your approach to life with these 4 steps.

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