In dark times, our feelings often start to match the mood. We try not to be too positive or upbeat. Pessimism and cynicism may start to creep in. The dark clouds descend.
But I feel strongly that it's exactly at these times when we need to surround ourselves with people who radiate, illuminate, and attract us to the light.
So I've been thinking about Optimists. What are the traits of an Optimist? How can we recognise who is an Optimist? And how can I become an Optimist?
Express gratitude frequently
Optimists are acutely aware of the people who surround them and the impact of others on their own lives and sense of wellbeing. They see the difference people make in their lives and they aren't afraid to say thank you. Whether that be through a (virtual) hug, a kind message or a thoughtful gift.
Find positives in tough times
It's not because Optimists are ignorant or can't see the challenges ahead but because they are problem solvers by instinct. They are always looking for solutions. Like water, they try to flow around, over and under obstacles in order to find a path forwards.
Generous with time and energy
It gives Optimists a sense of purpose and gratification to know they are providing help and support to others. Sometimes giving can actually be a distraction from their own difficulties but giving in this way provides them with a return that helps to keep them positive and constructive.
Optimists are almost childlike with their relentless energy and curiosity. They have the confidence to take risks, enjoy learning and challenging their own understanding of the world.
Attract positive people
Like magnets, Optimists tend to attract positive people and sadly are often the subject of ridicule from those who are threatened by their positive outlook. Don't be afraid to look on the bright side and by surrounding yourself with positive people, in turn, you'll likely become more positive too.
Though they feel hurt and anger, Optimists instinctively rationalise, try to be objective and use their high levels of emotional intelligence to understand the position and reason for other’s behaviours.
Finally, Optimists smile a lot! Smiling is actually proven to release hormones including dopamine, endorphins and serotonin which make you happier. It takes far fewer muscles to smile than frown! Even forcing yourself to smile is proven to make you feel better.
So say goodbye to cynicism and pessimism, I think it's time for a new age of optimism.