Being and staying an optimist – is it possible?

In today’s world many things look upside down and to be and/or stay optimistic, can be a challenge.  Changes come quickly and it can make us feel as if Mother Earth is spinning too fast.  If there is one thing that is a certainty, it is change.  Change is inevitable; nothing in life is permanent; it is part of life.  So, how do you cope with it? 

Stop and breathe!  Take a few slow, deep breathes in (counting to 8 or 10) and slowly exhale through your mouth.  Instead of turning every hiccup, every change, into a crisis, see it as a challenge.  No matter how “dark” the road ahead looks, there is really and truly a light at the end of the tunnel.  I know it’s a bit of a cliché, but there cannot be a rainbow without the rain.  More often than not, your ego will go into overdrive and your mind will be filled with “what if, but.”  Alas, this will make you worry, stress and overthink far too much.  When you step back and look at whatever life is throwing at you (as if you are watching a movie scene), then you will notice that you can and are able to deal with it. 

Indeed, when a tragedy strikes it can be more difficult, but trust me, time does heal and you will cope.  We are far stronger inside than what we give ourselves credit for.  The ego, although it serves a purpose, should not be given the “go ahead” to overrule our common sense, gut instinct and our heart.  When we are in a state of peace (even when the going gets tough), then we can look at situations much more objectively.  Instead of letting our emotions (ego) take over, our intellect and gut instinct will know what to do, how to react and that “this too shall pass.”  Here are a few tips to help you become and/or stay an optimist.

Wise up

With so many viewpoints, opinions, news outlets and more, it can become overwhelming to know who and what to believe.  Luckily there are books and the internet, that one can go to if not sure about the facts.  Do your research, ask questions and take stock / make a list of what you know and what you don’t about a situation, health diagnosis, and so on.  According to Travis Bradberry (co-writer of the book Emotional Intelligence 2.0), putting pen to paper can take the power away from the unknown.

Meet your inner cavewoman / -man 

Our inner alarm bells, the “fight or flight-response,” goes off when we are worried and stressed.  Stress, in small doses, can be healthy because it makes us more alert and kick our mind and gut feeling into action.  However, too much stress can be dangerous to both ourselves and the people around us.  Thus, step back and take a deep breath (as mentioned in the beginning).  Your nerves meet / come together in your naval-area.  Taking deep breathes in and out and focusing on relaxing that part of the body, will quickly put us in a more relaxed and clear-headed state of mind.

Embrace the chaos 

If you imagine being a feather that is blown by the wind, never knowing where you will end up next, does it make you anxious; or is there a sense of freedom?  People want to be in control most of the time, but this often backfires when external forces make you believe that you have failed in some way.  Instead of feeling believing that you cannot do this or do that, do what you can and remember that you are human.  Instead of focusing on / seeing something as a loss, see it as a gain.  Don’t “catastrophise” a situation / change; see it as an opportunity.

Keep your feet on the ground 

When your life takes a turn into the uncertainty, past hurts / disappointments can creep up and make us worry about the future.  Stop and bring yourself and your thoughts back into the now / present moment.  The past is gone and the future is not yet here.  Breathe, do some yoga poses, go outside and connect with nature, take a bath, or put on some uplifting music and stay centred in the present moment.

Trust your gut instincts 

The tummy acts as our “third brain.”  Together with the head and heart, these 3 make a great time to keep us centred, relaxed and in the now.  Stop ignoring the little voice inside your head; don’t ignore that nagging feeling in your gut.  Life will be so much easier if more people will listen to their inner voice, their instincts.  Whether you tune in during your quiet time or when you are exercising, get in touch with yourself.  Albert Einstein got his best ideas when sailing, for example!

Train your brain 

Instead of allowing our thoughts (ego-based) to trample our brain, cloud our judgement and make as unnecessarily anxious or stressful, replace those negatives with positives.  It is often during the night, when we get into bed, that these thoughts creep up, because then we become quiet and the world around us as well.  Dr. John Demartini calls it “have an attitude of gratitude.”  Whatever life is throwing at you at this very moment, know that you’ve been through similar situations before and you came out stronger.  Being centred and grateful for all the positive things, people and situations in your life, at this very moment, will transform the difficult into something that is easy and/or attainable.

Being optimistic when the world around us go mad, is not easy, I agree.  Staying an optimist can even been trickier.  However, by using our breath and becoming centred and stilling our minds, can help us to cope better.  Just saying thank you for the people and things we do have in our lives, is already a step into the right direction.

The Universe will give you what you want when you are grateful and thankful for that which you already have.  Sometimes you might not get something or someone, but always know and trust that the Universe / Divinity only wants what is best for you.  “Look up and look pleased!”

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