Optimism: The Stories We Tell Ourselves

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Would you like to feel better and enjoy your life more?

There is a good amount of evidence that shows that optimistic people maintain better health and enjoy life more than pessimistic people.

So, if you are a pessimistic person how do you become an optimist?

Can we learn to be optimistic?

I believe so.

The difference between an optimist and a pessimist is the stories we tell ourselves and our interpretations of events; which in turn cause us to develop beliefs.

Telling ourselves we are great and marvellous and everything will be fine doesn’t seem to have much impact in turning a pessimist to new optimism.

So what does?

It seems that the most effective way is to change our interpretation of things that go wrong – or appear to go wrong – and how we handle adversity.

Here’s a simple example:

You apply for a job you feel you were ideally suited to, yet you get no response, not even an interview.

Pessimistic interpretation: I don’t have good skills and there is no point applying for anything else because I’m not good enough to get a new job.

Optimistic interpretation: Maybe there was an internal candidate or someone with more experience in some areas than me. I will review my CV and also check that my core skills and attributes really shine through, and that I’m going for the jobs that I really want.

The pessimistic approach often involves internalising negative thoughts and self criticism which is frequently not founded whereas the optimistic approach interprets the adverse event with an external explanation and without self criticism.

Changing how we think about and interpret things takes practice but with persistence becomes our natural default.

For some people who may have developed their pessimistic approach a long time ago, this new thinking may take time but it can really help to elevate mood, self esteem, confidence, self worth and health.

Working with a good life coach can help to challenge and support change in thinking patterns. If you’d like a confidential discussion to see if I may be able to help you, please do feel free to contact me today.

 

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