Learn Optimism

Here are 6 ways to be happy, smiling, "sunshine person" from Edel Jarboe's "Learning Optimism" article in The Insight Newsletter.

1.    Overcome negative thinking with positive thinking. Our negative thoughts have a great deal of power over us. They feed on themselves, multiplying until our spirit is smothered under a pile of "what if's".

Since negative thinking is a habit we must replace it with another habit. Start by paying attention to your thoughts. When you catch yourself indulging in a negative thought, say, "Stop".

Then immediately rephrase the negative statement into something more positive.

2.    Learn to trust others. When you reach out to others you find yourself. If you have a hard time trusting others, begin reaching out to others in small ways. Take small steps towards building your trust in others.

First of all, be yourself then be willing to give others the benefit of the doubt. Don't assume the new member of your games club doesn't like you, for example, just because she disagreed with your assessment of the last badminton match you played.

3.    Don't be afraid to express yourself. Identify what you are feeling and learn how to express these feelings in healthy and constructive ways.

If you aren't comfortable opening up with another person just yet, start out by writing down what you are feeling. Really get into it. Let your emotion flow across the page.

After you are comfortable expressing your emotions on paper, share what you are feeling with someone you trust. Don't assume that no one wants to hear about your day, for example. Rather when you share something amusing or frustrating about your day with someone, it opens a bridge of understanding.

4.    Stop living up to other people's expectations. When you are living your life exclusively to please others or to project a certain image, you lose a bit of yourself in the process. You lose touch with who you really and what really makes you happy. Don't do this to yourself.

Stop looking for approval outside of your own heart. Whose love or approval are you trying to earn and why? Once you figure this out, have the courage to deal with this issue head-on and begin living your life for you.

5.    Get rid of a victim mentality. Take responsibility for your happiness because life doesn't just happen. The choices you make or don't make directly influence your current and future situation.

While you may not always be in control of circumstances, you are responsible for your choices. Never forget this. Stop blaming others and life in general for where you are now. Own up to your life so that you can own your happiness.

In other words, don't be shy about making things work out for yourself. Don't be shy about reaching for your happiness with both hands.

6.    Express your gratitude, not your fears. What you focus on is what you get. The more you focus on the negative, the more it is manifested in your life. Stop focusing so much on what you do not have or on what is not working out as you had planned.

Make the conscious effort to focus on all that is good and abundant in your life and to look for the lesson in your difficult situations.

Believe that something better than what you had imagined is in store for you. Believe that your happiness is a sure thing and it will be.

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