Happiness is a virtue that not all of us possess, but just because you’re someone who generally doesn’t peek out at the world from behind rose-tinted glasses, that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. Your pessimistic nature just means there’s that much more room in your life for a little up-lifting. After all, happiness is a journey, and there are so many habits that make you happier, guaranteed. Of course, the tricky part isn’t finding them; it’s actually having the motivation to implement them into your daily life.
I encourage you to turn that frown upside down and smile, smile, smile. Yes, I do realize how unbelievably corn-dog of me that was to say, but what’s not so cheesy is how well that little trick actually works. I was skeptical too, at first, when I was feeling exceptionally cynical one day when my husband instructed me to do the same. He told me to smile, so I offered a small wince. When he told me to smile bigger, I ended up laughing and feeling a little better! Now every time I’m in a funk, I take a second to stop what I’m doing and smile.
TV and movies have us convinced that happiness is defined by grand gestures, and that a genuine feeling of pleasure can only be obtained from having your sh*t entirely together. Well, let me tell you something: Nobody has their sh*t entirely together — at least, not all the time.
Happiness is something to strive for every single day, so despite work deadlines being pushed up, spilling coffee on new shoes, or failing that midterm you thought you'd definitely aced, the goal is to focus on the positive details. Skeptical? Here are a few life hacks to make even the most pessimistic person a little bit happier because, I promise, life's not so bad.
1. Surround Yourself With Optimistic People
You know how yawns are contagious? Positive forces work the same way. Hanging around a group of friends who aren't so cranky could be your one-way ticket out of your relentlessly pessimistic vibes.
And if you're not feeling particularly chatty, no worries. You don't have to talk about what's eating you, or put the word out that your mind's in a negative funk. According to Khajak Keledijian, founder and CEO of meditation studio Inscape, simply surrounding yourself with positive people is usually enough to trigger a smile.
"They may not know exactly what you're going through," he tells Elite Daily, "but their energy can change your vibration and shift your mood."
2. Pay Close Attention To How You're Perceiving Things
Someone who is predominantly pessimistic likely settled into that mindset for a reason. Dr. Danielle Forshee, LLC explains to Elite Daily that people with pessimistic viewpoints tend to take on this negative attitude as a response to past experiences:
Someone who has a pessimistic point of view may receive a text message from a friend and interpret that text message as offensive or hurtful, whereas someone who has an optimistic lens through which they see the world may interpret that same exact text message as supportive or humorous.
The difference between the two is what meaning they attach to that communication.
Every person and/or situation is unique, and deserves to be treated as such until proven otherwise. So if a best friend backstabbed you in the past, and your trust issues are getting in the way of a new bond becoming stronger, it's important to learn how to separate past from present, and move on.
Personally, I find it really helpful to look at a conversation or situation at face value. I know myself, and I can be pretty quick to assume the worst before playing devil's advocate, so in order to put any pessimistic emotions aside, I try to examine the circumstances for exactly what they are before jumping to conclusions and reacting in a negative way.
3. Trust Your Intuition
This is definitely something that takes practice, but learning how to unapologetically trust your gut instinct is one of the most beneficial things you can do for yourself.
In regards to happiness, you know yourself, and you know when a person, place, or thing elicits a drop in the pit of your stomach. That little jolt is a warning sign. It's telling you that something is not right and that you need to disconnect ASAP.
Hannah Monahan, women's empowerment and business expert, mentor, and speaker, tells Elite Daily that every time we listen to ourselves and make decisions based on our intuition, we grow stronger as a result.
Learning how to identify these feelings, and having the ability to point out who or what brings you joy or stress, is a powerful skill. Monahan encourages women to take advantage of their "innate ability to know what is going on and what [they] should do."
4. Try Not To Harp On The Negative
To all my pessimistic peeps out there, I know I just heard you face-palm through the screen. Pessimists are negative, but that's kind of the point, so hear me out.
Millennial life coach Jess Hopkins tells Elite Daily that, generally speaking, optimistic people see "bad juju" as temporary, and positive things as more permanent in nature. Pessimists often "assume that failure in one area of life means failure in life as a whole," Hopkins explains.
If every one of us blocked out all the little, sweet details of our days and zeroed in on everything even remotely negative we encountered instead, the entire world would be one majorly gloomy place.
So how can pessimists cope? Hopkins suggest that, before jumping to conclusions and letting negative thoughts take control, take a few deep breaths, find your center, and "take a minute to honestly assess the situation from an objective perspective." Because, truthfully, at the end of the day, your thoughts are just that — thoughts, and thoughts can be changed.
5. Refine Your Vocabulary
Sticks and stones may break your bones, and words can sometimes hurt you. A pessimistic mindset stems from a few things: your mental health, your environment, and negative self-talk.
This is a friendly reminder to that little voice inside your head that if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all. Pessimistic viewpoints are often polluted with self-doubt. In order to create new, positive perspectives, behavioral scientist and author of relationship blog You're Just A Dumbass Clarissa Silva tels Elite Daily it's imperative to delete words and phrases with a negative connotation out of your vocabulary.
This means that words like "no," "can't," "won't," "don't," and "shouldn't" need to go.
Silva tells Elite Daily,
The world is about solutions, not problems. Someone telling you “no” is creating a problem.
6. Find (And Hold On To) Your Zen
It may sound uber cliche by now, but trust me when I say practicing daily meditation will have you well on your way to a happier lifestyle. It doesn't have to be a lengthy obligation, but do yourself a favor and set aside at least five minutes a day to collect your thoughts and set intentions.
Keledjian tells Elite Daily that he begins every morning on a clean slate by reading an inspirational quote to instill wisdom, and bring awareness to himself and the world around him:
Every day, you have the opportunity to set your intention and reflect. This perception helps bring deeper clarity for whatever you’re weathering.
Meditation will raise your awareness overall, and you can start examining your behavior and your patterns.
It may seem awkward at first, but there are plenty of guided mediations out there (via apps, like Headspace, or YouTube) that can offer instructional practices.
Namaste positive, friends.