Although March is National Optimism Month, any month can be an opportunity to build your tendency toward optimism and reaping its many benefits. Optimism is linked to many benefits in life, including increased health, happiness, and longevity. Even though a tendency toward optimism is partially due to inborn factors like openness to experience and agreeableness, optimistic thinking patterns can be developed any time during your life and can bring these benefits with them.
While you can focus on optimism any time from moment to moment and improve your outer and inner experience, focusing on optimism for a full month can really help you to make it more of an established part of your life. This is true for several reasons:
- Optimism is about more than looking on the bright side. Becoming more of an optimist may involve examining your current thinking patterns, deciding on new perspectives to adopt, developing new habits, and other actions. This can take time.
- Habits take time to develop, whether we’re talking about habits of thought or about lifestyle habits. Both types of habits can help you to be more of an optimist, so it helps to give yourself a few weeks to cement these new aspects of your life.
- Some changes may work better for you than others. If you spend a month focusing on making optimism-supporting changes in your life, this gives you time to try and discard a few things before you settle on the changes that will work best for you. (This is true whether you’re focusing on optimism, happiness, stress relief, or anything else that requires change.)
Here are some ideas on how to get started on being optimistic:
- Learn about what optimism is and isn’t. This will make it easier for you to know what direction you should be moving toward.
- Examine your habitual thought patterns, and see what you can change.
- Develop optimism-enhancing habits: maintain a gratitude journal, a coincidence journal, or a vision board.
- Look back and re-examine your past with more optimistic eyes.
- Practice other everyday optimism habits.
Lastly, the Freeman/Lozier Library has these resources to help you think on a more positive note:
Prospection, Well-Being, and Mental Health BF698.35.O57 M33 2017
Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation BF698.35.O57 O38 2014
Half Empty, Half Full: Understanding the Psychological Roots of Optimism BF698.35.O57 V38 2000
Positive Thinking [electronic resource] Streaming Video Online Access BELLEVUE: Access limited to Bellevue University patrons – click here to view