O is for Optimism

Okay, I confess I actually changed my ‘O’ word for today because the Tween and the GG wanted me to write about ‘Over’ as in Over the Hill or Over the Rainbow. Since they were attempting to have a dig at me, I changed it. lol
So today we talk about optimism.
What is optimism? According to my friend Wikipedia, optimism is a mental attitude that interprets situations as being ‘best’.
Some people are incredibly lucky to have been born with a natural optimism that exudes outwards to all that they meet. For most of us, it is something that we can learn.
Of course the counter to optimism is pessimism (it’s all bad) and realism (stop and realise exactly what is happening around you).
Martin Seligman in his book “Learned Optimism” states that there are two ways of looking at life and situations. He goes on in his book to explain that anyone can learn to be optimistic about their every day lives.
It’s all about how we look at things. I’ve blogged before about the ‘frames’ we put around situations that colour our perceptions. When we become optimistic we choose to put a frame of optimism around a situation. This means that whilst bad things happen to good people, you can choose to bemoan the lemons or make lemonade.
Being optimistic is not about burying your head in the sand and ignoring reality. It is hoping for a brighter future.
To make any difference in the world, we first need to start with ourselves.
I am the worst for imagining the bad in any situation and becoming anxious about it. I become paranoid and I stress.
I am teaching myself to become more optimistic about things.
I need to change myself.
Really, how I feel is a choice (most of the time).
So I can choose to see a rainy day and bemoan the dreary weather or I can choose to see it as a way to green up the grass and make the flowers grow.
Today I am going to become more optimistic.
With optimism comes happiness. That’s got to be a good thing right?

I wanted to include some songs about optimism and hopeΒ  to conclude.
The first one I found was “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” by the Monty Python crew however since it could be deemed offensive to many of you I won’t put in the link. I will admit that it always makes me smile when I hear it though.
I have found a couple of others for youΒ  so I hope you enjoy them.

 

 

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18 thoughts on “O is for Optimism

  1. I too have always looked at the bad that could be happening. This transferred to intense anxiety about the safety of my children. They were never late home on the school bus because traffic was heavy- to me the bus had had a bad accident …or my children had been kidnapped walking from the school gate to the bus while being escorted by the teacher. Then as they got older they never just failed to hear their phone or happen to be out of reception- they had been murdered, in a bad accident, swept overboard…no doubt you understand . But over the past year I have made the conscious choice to push those thoughts ( and how loud they can be) aside to let the softly spoken voice of optimism have it’s turn. It doesn’t always work but the loud ones are definitely getting much less airplay.. As a result I’m having more fun, doing more things, have actually experienced joy in activities when I’m in an area where I can’t contact my family easily- not to mention the enjoyment my kids have not always having to find a ph to keep in touch. I am optimistic things will be good and if they aren’t I will find strength somehow ( “I hope!” says the loud voice of anxiety) . Keep Happy Suz πŸ™‚

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  2. I found Seligman’s book fascinating, and at the time, it really rocked my world. I thought that my pessimistic view was hard-wired and his book enabled me to see that I can overcome that. I especially liked how he talked about the narratives we tell ourselves – the framework idea you mention above.

    As for the Monty Python song, optimism and laughter is a winning combination! πŸ™‚

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  3. First off, I love that song, “Here Comes the Sun” one of my favorite Beatle songs. I agree it is all in the way we look at it. I have always been a pretty optimistic person. But in the last couple of years, some life changing situations have caused me to suddenly feel afraid; sometimes depressed, or anxious. I now have anxiety attacks in certain situations, and now avoid doing certain things because of this. I am learning to work through this and am doing much better as of recent. I just tell myself that I am blessed. I have two wonderful children and good friends …my health is good …so I just try to be optimistic again and have hope and faith. As you say, turn a rainy day into a day that is good for the flowers etc. This is a great post and I really enjoyed reading it this morning …I need the reminder sometimes to be optimistic and thankful for what I have! πŸ™‚

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  4. great post- I wish I could be more optimistic sometimes- I tend to let my imagination run wild with negativity sometimes. I think a result of bad things happening around me- leads to fear. I try to keep my cup half full- it is looking ahead with the cup full that can be challenging. Loved the music, and I do love Monty Python too!! πŸ™‚

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  5. My coping mechanism is imagine the worst outcome and figure out how I can handle that. Once i do that, all the other outcomes are manageable and I stop stressing about what might happen. It’s not the most optimistic approach but it keeps the negative anxiety in check.

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      1. I needed to use it more in earlier decades when more stressors were part of life. Retirement and aging bring a certain acceptance to “what comes” which is much easier to handle!

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          1. Yes I think citizens and businesses have been so screwed by the uncertainty of msny things governmet controls. It is a colassal shame for all of us.no matter ehere we are in life, there is too much uncertainty to the direction we are going.

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