The last few years seem to have sucked our optimism dry. From the pandemic to the cost of living crisis to the war in Ukraine, the future has started to feel frightening rather than hopeful. On top of the state of the world, we all have our own individual issues to deal with – stress at work or home, paying our bills, relationship problems, health concerns – the list goes on and on.
With so much to deal with, how are we supposed to maintain a positive attitude? Well, throwing off our negativity bias is the first step we need to take. There’s absolutely no reason to believe that 2023 is going to be a bad year. It’s barely even begun.
In today’s blog, we’re going to look at how we can establish an optimistic outlook for the year ahead. Maintaining an optimistic outlook has positive benefits for our wellbeing. Research suggests that optimism has a positive influence on both our mental and physical health by helping us cope with our working and social lives and contributing to a longer life span.
One of the best ways to increase your optimism is to take action. Ignoring our problems and worries will not make them go away. Instead, start to tackle them head on. You don’t have to completely upend your life to make a positive change.
Start small by making a list of the things that are worrying you – it could be that you feel out of control with your spending or you’re feeling hemmed in by clutter at home or your concerned with a health worry. Break down your list of worries and assign an action to them. You could start a spreadsheet to track your spending habits or take a day to go through your direct debits and identify those that need to be cancelled. You could start cleaning your home one room at a time. Whatever the actions you need to take, no matter if they’re big or small, stop putting them off and take control. It’s the best way to start feeling hopeful about your future.
Find the Good
As well as taking action, it’s important to acknowledge the feelings you’re having over your personal concerns. Don’t fall into the toxic positivity trap of forcing yourself to present a fake persona to the world. If you’re unhappy or worried, it’s important to make sure you talk to someone about it rather than trying to hide those feelings inside yourself. It won’t make them go away.
They say a problem shared is a problem halved so confide in a friend, talk to your partner or a family member. You can get the help and emotional support you need but first you have to be willing to share your fears so that you can move towards embracing a more hopeful perspective.
As well as sharing your problems, another way to look at them in the right context is to reflect on tough times you’ve had before. For example, how did you cope during the pandemic? What strategies did you rely on to get you through that unsettling time? If you’ve been through tough times before, it can help to remember how you got through them so you can feel more hopeful of your present circumstances and remind yourself that you possess the tools to cope and overcome your struggles.
Look After Yourself
Self-care is not selfish. Read that again. Self-care is not selfish. Looking after yourself is so important. Getting enough sleep, eating well and exercising are the basic self-care skills that are all too easy to overlook when we’re coping with stress and anxiety.
Make sure you give yourself some ‘me-time’ and switch off the day whenever you can. Rest and relaxation are essential for maintaining a positive outlook. Looking after our bodies and minds will help to provide us with greater resilience when times are tough. So take that bath, have that pyjama day and enjoy the occasional glass of wine.
We hope that today’s blog has given you some ideas for increasing your optimism about the New Year. There may be forces beyond our control, but we can all take small steps to make our lives better in 2023. The future is in our hands.