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Become More Optimistic with These Simple Methods

Become More Optimistic with These Simple Methods

Are you living a life that is fully optimized? Do you feel that you are getting the most out of your life?

“The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true.” ― James Branch Cabell

What is Optimism?

Loving life with optimism is simply living life seeing the brighter side of life. Optimism is an outlook in which one views the world as a positive place. In doing so, one realizes that a wonderful life is worth loving.  So often, we get caught up in the trap of negativity and we may feel that everything is working against us—we feel overwhelmed and out of control, but there’s a way to break free of that.

Our Choice

Just because we are caught up in these negative circumstances doesn’t mean that we have to let them control our emotions:  we have the choice to change how we feel. Research in various sciences has shown that optimism can greatly affect not only our way of thinking, but also our entire way of life, and a great contributor to our thought processes is a positive outlook.

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Positive Choices

We can actually program ourselves to think positively over time: it is all a matter of choice whether one wants to make optimism a habit.   I personally like to use the “Flip Switch” technique, which allows you to immediately take control of your emotions and thoughts. The technique is really a very simple one: monitor your thoughts and feelings over the course of the day, and when you notice negative feelings, do this:

  1. As soon as you become of your feelings, STOP! Stop what you are doing and thinking.
  2. Be totally aware of your thoughts and feelings; just spend a second exploring exactly what you’re feeling.
  3. Decide to think a more positive thought.  This could be as simple as “I am grateful that I am alive today”, or “My work is very fulfilling.”
  4. Think as many positive thoughts as you can for about 20 seconds.
  5. Check in with your feelings and see how you are doing.

Most people will find even these few short seconds will make a huge impact on their emotional well-being.  After you practice this a few times, you will be able to change to more positive thinking in just a couple seconds.

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How to Find More Inspiration for Optimism

  1. Look for the silver lining: I know I know, it is a little cliche but it really is so true. It’s hard when you’re right in the middle of a situation, but take a few minutes to mentally step back from the situations and see if there is just one area that could be seen as positive.
  2. Positive Friends:  choose to spend time with the most positive people you know. If you don’t know any, time to step up and find some—it will be fun!
  3. Look for inspiration: there are several ways you can surround yourself with inspiration, such as spending time with smiling babies, or reading inspirational books, affirmations and quotes.
  4. Be Grateful: there is always something you can be grateful for, so acknowledge it, say it out loud.  My favorite is “thank you for my breath”

The more you are aware of your negative reactions, the more frequently you change to more positive thinking, and the more you look to surround yourself with inspiration, the more optimistic your life will be.   Once you are in this more positive frame of mind, the easier it is to make the decision to live a fuller life—one with more fun, more joy, more excitement,  and more adventure.

 

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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