Emotional Wellbeing


Mental Health

Mandy Kloppers

The 9 secrets of optimists


They like themselves

Optimists have a good relationship with themselves. Their inner dialogue is not self-deprecating or critical. They regularly look for reasons to like themselves and remind themselves of their strengths and achievements.

Optimists possess a ‘self serving bias’

Optimists, unlike pessimists see the world in a way that bolsters their positive view of themselves. When something goes well they chalk that up to their own skills and competencies whereas pessimists tend to blame luck when they are fortunate. When things go wrong optimists tend to look at the situation rather than blame themselves and pessimists, predictably, see failure as being their fault.

optimistic photo

Optimists nurture hope and watch their thoughts

Optimists protect their sense of hope at all costs. Hope is a driving force when it comes to an optimists motivation. They have a “can do” attitude to life and look for ways to make things happen rather than focusing on everything that might go wrong. Optimists have mental buffers that allow them to see the brighter side of life. They are less inclined to catastrophise or see the world through a negative filter. They choose thoughts that keep them balanced and are able to rationalise when life throws them a curve ball.

Optimists expect others to like them/they are more outgoing

Optimists see the world in a positive frame of mind. They see themselves as good company and automatically expect that others will like them. Because optimists have such a positive view of themselves and how they fit into society, they tend to be more outgoing.

Optimists feel more in control of their lives

Much research has been done on happiness levels related to how much control a person feels they have in their life. It has been found that the more control a person feels they have, the happier they are. Optimists take responsibility for where they are in their lives and feel a great sense of control over their futures. They know that they cannot control everything and that there may be problems along the way but optimists tend to believe in their own capabilities to cope and find a way forward.

Optimists know how to be assertive

Optimists tend to have healthy self-esteem and as result they do not shy away from being assertive and asking for what they want. They tried to achieve a win-win situation where everybody’s needs are met. They do not automatically expect others to know what they want and are happy to express their needs.

Optimists are self aware

Optimists tend to be people who are quite self-aware. They clearly understand their strengths and weaknesses and they capitalise on their strengths and minimise their weaknesses. They are not afraid to try new things and don’t allow fear to paralyse them.

They possess an attitude of gratitude/appreciation

Part of being happy involves having the ability to appreciate what we have instead of constantly comparing ourselves to others that are more fortunate. This serves no other purpose than to make us feel deprived. Optimists enjoy striving to improve themselves that they are also fully aware that making comparisons with others is a dead-end road. It is far more effective to compare how far they have come on the progress they have made for themselves. Optimists empower themselves.

Optimists have positive expectancy – about  life and other’s intentions

Optimists have a very healthy view of the world. Generally, they are not bitter and twisted and they can happily enjoy the success of others. They do not see success as a finite resource. They expect good things in their life and they also expect that other people are generally well meaning. They tend not to have negative preconceived ideas about strangers and tend to maintain an objective approach.

I am aware that this blog post portrays optimists as superhuman. This isn’t the case. Optimists are just normal people who have learned to choose their thoughts carefully and to replace negative thinking with more objective possibilities. Some people are naturally more optimistic than others and this will be down to their genetic make up but we can all CHOOSE to be happier.

How to be more optimistic

Act as if

Every time we act we reinforce the idea tendency behind it. Our behaviour can change the way we see the world as well as our thoughts. It is just as easy to act into a new way of thinking as it is to think yourself into a new way of acting. Use the phrase “fake it to make it”. Sometimes we have to pretend in order for something to become real.

Going through the motions can trigger the right emotions. Getting out there and being sociable forces us to behave as if were happier and this can in fact free us from feeling unhappy and pessimistic. Learn to stretch yourself little bit by little bit. Think about a role model that you particularly like-this could be a family member or a well-known celebrity. Imagine how they would act and behave in certain situations and try to emulate this. There are many routes feeling happier and more optimistic.

Mandy X

Recommended Reading – The pursuit of happiness : David Myers

optimistic photo

Photo by symphony of love

Photo by symphony of love