Ways to Cultivate Optimism

It might surprise you to hear that optimism is not an intrinsic characteristic. Optimism is looking at yourself and the world through a positive filter. On the other hand, pessimism is a way of looking at yourself and the world through a negative filter.

When you believe they reflect your mindset, it is much easier to think you can change. As it is with any new behavior, you need to practice daily to become a habit.

Try these six tips to cultivate your optimism every day.

Keep a journal:

Journaling provides a way to process situations and to get a different perspective on them. Further, journaling inspires self-reflection and allows you to gain insight into your thoughts and actions. Write down events or situations that occurred during your day and document not just the facts but how you did it, what you did to make it happen, and what you did correctly. Most importantly, how you felt while doing it. Don't just record the good or the things that went well; remember to write down what didn't go so well and reflect on what happened, how you dealt with it, and how you might things do the next time differently.


Deliberately notice the humorous aspect of things and write them down. If technology didn't work, and you were forced to give a presentation without your slides, or the power went out, or there was a power failure in the middle of your important meeting. Rather than look at these situations as a disaster, you can look at them as a comedy of errors.

Write to your future.

Write a letter or a journal entry that sets out the future you want. What job are you doing? Are you running your own business? What have you learned? What has changed? Imagining how your future life looks and feels can be a powerful motivator.

Keep a kindness list.

Have a page in your journal where you note down kind gestures. Write down when you are kind to someone or when someone is kind to you. Even little things count, like opening a door for someone or letting them go first in the line for coffee. You'll be surprised at how quickly they mount up, and your ever-lengthening list will give you a different perspective on things.

Say thank you

Write a letter or email, phone, or visit someone (a person outside your family) who has been genuinely kind to you. Tell them how much you appreciate what they did or said and how it has affected your life.

Choose positivity

Make a positive choice to develop and maintain an optimistic outlook. Do this every morning when you wake up. Decide that today is going to be a great day. Everyone will have some level of suffering in their life. Choosing to be optimistic will make it easier to bounce back from the bad times and enjoy and be sure of the good times.


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