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7 Ways to Become More Naturally Optimistic


By Joni Sweet, ClassPass

Negativity feels (literally) like a weight on our shoulders, holding us down from reaching our goals and becoming our best selves. It’s a defense mechanism, used to ease the blow in case the results of our efforts fail to meet our expectations.

But achieving greatness in our lives, whether it’s with our health, relationships or careers, comes with great risk. And while we might face rejection if we push for that extra mile, that higher salary or that next stage in a relationship, it’s equally true that we might see success — if not with this attempt, then the next.

The benefits of approaching challenges with optimism extend beyond just feeling better, but actually living longer, healthier lives. Here are seven simple techniques to help make optimism more than a mindset, but a way of life.


Ditch the Debbie Downers

While occasional venting is perfectly normal, social interactions consisting primarily of complaints, gossip and rants drain energy and motivation. Try to steer water-cooler conversations toward good news, like that great new lunch spot that just opened up or an upcoming vacation, and if all else fails, politely excuse yourself. In your social life, surround yourself with upbeat people who motivate and inspire you. That energy is contagious.


Learn to meditate

Sitting in a quiet place and concentrating on breathing frees the mind to embrace new perspectives on difficult situations that might otherwise bring us down. It’s less about stopping your thoughts than learning to acknowledge them, sans judgment. And you don’t need to join a weeklong silent retreat to reap the benefits of this practice. You can meditate for as little as 10 minutes a day to cultivate peace of mind and a positive outlook.


Express gratitude on social media

Counterbalance the angsty posts on your newsfeed by posting about things that enrich your life. Think about what you’re grateful for every day, whether it’s a walk with your dog, praise from your boss for a job well done or a new personal record. Then share it with the world. Plus, the archive of these posts gives us something to reflect on and pick us up when we’re feeling down.


Wake up on the right side of the bed

Optimism is a choice. Before you even open your eyes in the morning, decide to focus on happiness and the best parts of the day’s agenda, such as your favorite yoga class or lunch with your bestie. Take a gentle stretch, peek at the sunshine and let the day begin by saying, “Today is going to be a great day.” Then make it happen.


Learn to say no

While the third happy hour of the week might sound like a blast, even the most fun activities turn into chores if our schedules are so full that we barely have time for ourselves. Block out an afternoon or evening each week to take care of your mind, body and spirit. It’s the perfect time to schedule that mani-pedi, read a book in the park, get lost in a museum or write in a journal.


Donate your time

Spending time on meaningful causes, like feeding the homeless, caring for shelter animals or tutoring kids, creates noticeable progress in our communities. By helping the world change for the better, it’s easier to see the value we bring to the planet and develop a positive outlook on life.


Smile (seriously!)

Cracking a smile can actually trick your brain into feeling happy. The physical act releases feel-good endorphins and anti-depressant serotonins that make us feel amazing all over. Smiling is also contagious, encouraging kindness in others and improving your interactions, even if they’re as simple as ordering a coffee. You might have to fake it at the beginning, but after a couple of minutes, the positive energy will be genuine — and so will your smile.
Mind & Body

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