Let me ask you one question: What is your nature? Are you pessimistic or optimistic? Pessimism not only affects the ability to enjoy our lives or to be brave, but also affects our health. Studies have shown that optimists are 45% less likely to die from any cause than pessimists. One study even showed that positive thinkers are significantly more resistant to infectious diseases than negative thinkers.
Pessimists always believe, that it’s for personal reasons, when bad things happen. They feel, that negative results apply to all events and last indefinitely. On the other hand, positive results just appear accidentally for pessimists, temporarily and only apply for the specific Event. Optimists are the complete opposite.
So, if you feel you are on the half-empty glas side of life, don’t despair. The good news is that you can learn how to be optimisitc. And this blog posts will show you how to do it.
Handle your adversities and change your beliefs
Usually, with pessimists, the negative circle is as follows: You experience an adversity, this experience manifests in a belief and this belief causes you feel negative consequences.
For example, your new boyfriend cancels a date with you, which you were really looking Forward. This adversity results in the belief: He doesn’t love me. I knew from the beginning that I am not good enough for him. As a negative consequence of your belief you feel bad, unloved and sad for the whole day.
So, how can you overcome that?
First of all, empathize with the one who annoyed you (for instance, your boyfriend). Reflect about the possible reasons why he couldn’t meet with you. Maybe he was just busy? Or too tired? Or he just needed some time and space for himself, because he didn’t feel good enough to meet you? There are so many reasons why he could have cancelled your date. So, why just focussing on that single one, that could makes you feel sad?
Secondly, do something else. Don’t just stay at home, waiting for his call, but enjoy! Have fun!
Of course, this is not easy, when you’ve been kept entirely on the half-empty glass side of life up to now. So, let’s do a little exercise at any time, the adversity-belief-consequence spin wheel overruns you:
1. In case, you experience an adversity, always write that adversity down.
2. Write down all thoughts and beliefs that you develop as a result of the adversity.
3. Document all consequences that you experience as a result of your developed beliefs.
4. This is the hard part: Reflect on how your beliefs triggered your negative emotions or behaviour. What are the reasons that you feel so bad? Which of your thoughts cause you feel depressed?
5. Refute your negative beliefs. When you experience adversity, recognise all negative beliefs and then consider which other explanations could have led to the adversity. Search for different explanations why your boyfriend canceled the date.
6. And finally: Choose one of the optimistic beliefs that you developed through step 5 and check whether they stop the negative rolling snowball you sit on.
Practice this each time, something happens not in the way you hoped. It may take more than one try, but you will get braver from case to case and at some point, this practice helps healing your soul as well as your body.