Live Better #1 : Positivity

Half full? Or half empty?

Live Better is, as its name suggests, a series of articles (lifehacks, more like) on how you can improve the way you live, and make life a happier experience. Today's article will be about how positivity affects ourselves, and even the people around us, as well as how you can cultivate the right form of this attitude.

Why should you be an optimist? 

Scientific studies have shown that people who are pessimistic are better prepared for trouble as they can forsee them easily, and are better at planning safety nets for their expected losses or downfalls. This being said, why not be a pessimist instead? According to research, it has been found that despite optimistic people are more unprepared when it comes to problems, they are usually happier, healthier, more successful in many ways, live longer, and enjoy better relationships than pessimistic people, more than making up for the setbacks they encounter. Not only that, people who are around optimists tend to feel better about themselves, or do better at whatever they're doing.

Why do optimists benefit so much? 

The reason why optimistic people enjoy these benefits is because they don't dwell on the negatives and instead, magnify positive events; pessmistic people, on the other hand, do the opposite, and focus on the negative rather than the positive. Optimists, by doing this, are encouraged to dream big, become more confident, as well as being more bold to keep trying, even when they fail or encounter a problem.

The downside


Everything comes with flaws, and so does optimism. The downside to this is that optimists could create a sense of false security for themselves, thus making them less prepared for setbacks. However, this doesn't make optimism bad. In fact, by having a positive attitude, situations that would make a pessimist feel that the world is a hopeless place may not be looked at in the same way for an optimistic person, who would probably see the bright side of it and seek new solutions.

The smarter optimist 

Instead of being purely optimistic, you can overcome the downsides to it by doing the following:
  1. Expect the unexpected - Yes, be positive, but not to the extent that you think that everything will go swimmingly. Be ready for failure, but make sure you learn from them as well. An optimistic attitude will help you with that.
  2. Value/ Be grateful for what you have - but at the same time, don't get too attached to the point that you can't live without it. This will help in the event something bad happens to an item you like, or anything related to that.
  3. Remember what's important - Don't let problems get in your way, and remember that other than whatever problem you've encountered, you've other priorities that are equally, or even more important. Also, you must bear in mind that you control yourself, and that you are more than what you have, so try your best to control your negative emotions, and focus on more important things.
  4. Know that whatever is happening will pass - and that you'll eventually have to get on with your own life, so realize that sulking or getting extremely angry over a certain situation will only waste your time, and leave little room for productivity. It's not good for you at all.
How to start being optimistic 

So you want to convert to the bright side eh? Well, here are some ways to get yourself into the world of optimism.
  1. Focus more on the good than the bad -  This is the key to optimism. As mentioned before, by doing so, this will increase your motivation, confidence, and drives you to pick yourself up quickly after failures to try again until you succeed.
  2. Practice thinking positively - by repeating thought patterns, it becomes automatic. This takes time, so don't expect your life to change drastically over the first few days.
  3. Learn to love your mistakes - forget about being a perfectionist and getting things right all the time! The only way you'll learn and make sure that the knowledge sticks is by making a mistake and learning from it to make sure it doesn't happen again. Did you know that every successful person has made many mistakes in their lives? The thing that sets them apart from the rest of the world is that they chose to learn from them instead of sulking over their errors and giving up; now look at where they are now. Embrace mistakes!
  4. Be forgiving - don't take your mistakes too seriously. Never place the blame on another person because it not only leaves the person with a nasty picture of you in their head, but it also allows you to wallow in your errors and remain in denial of what you've done wrongly. So learn to be forgiving, and this in turn will help you handle your mistakes better.
  5. Analyze and Improve - Another way to learn form your mistakes. Try to look back on past situations and try to find what you could have done better in order to improve yourself later. It's a good practice and it makes you a better person. 
  6. Positive Affirmations - They really work! But make sure to keep them realistic, because if you go too far, your brain won't accept it. Also, make sure to keep the statements you tell yourself free of negativity. Here's an example:

    Instead of saying "You are not ugly", say "You are beautiful". 

    Repetition is important too! In order for these positive affirmations to take effect, make sure you repeat them to yourself regularly.
  7. Think about the future - You'll have plenty of opportunities in the future, far more than you've ever had so far. So don't feel down if you've lost your chance at doing something, or if you failed to do something right, because you'll have many more chances to do better.
  8. Know that every moment bears a gift - even failures bring something good to us, though we may not notice it then. Realize that even if you've failed, you would have gained something out of it. It could be that the dream job you've always wanted wasn't as great as you thought it was, or staying back for detention meant that you could spend more time with the person you have feelings for. No time of our lives is short of that little bit of goodness, no matter how bleak the situation you are in seems to be.
  9. Try to be around more positive people - and also try to avoid negative people if you can. According to studies, it has been found that if you have more positive than negative friends, you'll most likely become an optimist, while if one should have more pessimistic friends, the person would most likely become a pessimist. Being around positive people not only helps you feel better, but it also helps provide that extra boost of positivity you might just need to get something done. Having said this, I'm not saying that you should abandon your pessimistic friends (not a very nice thing to do, isn't it?). Remain the same way, but it doesn't hurt to spend a little more time with some optimists. And who knows? Maybe some pessimistic friends might just join you one day.
  Extra: The Law Of Attraction
Made famous by the book 'The Secret', the Law of Attraction is, in a nutshell, increasing our chances of achieving something by thinking about it a lot. In more basic terms, it's positive thinking. Before you start jumping for joy, thinking that by merely thinking about the thing we want most, we'll get it eventually, stop and think for a moment. The fact that we don't have to do anything but think to get what we want is utterly ridiculous! In truth, what the Law of Attraction does is that it makes us more confident and more motivated, and this is reflected by the work we do. Yes, you have to work for what you want. But what's interesting about the Law of Attraction is that it proves to be an awesome source of motivation and positivity, and that really does contribute a great deal to success.


Shufei said...

Awesome post. It's like listening to one of my dad's "Power of Thinking" CDs...but a hell load more interesting.

Jill said...

Haha thank you, Shu Fei :)

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