If you ask, the best tool for battling against stress is optimism. Shocking, right? The reason why is simple: for a while now, researchers have found that optimists are nearly twice as likely to meet their primary life goals, on average. Plus, optimists have been shown to experience 145 fewer days of financial stress each year than pessimists. Should you want to bring a little more optimism to your life, here are a few simple habits anyone can adopt to become more optimistic.
First habit: take a ‘now’ step. In a survey, researchers found that optimists don’t wait for the perfect, detailed plan. Instead, they try to accomplish their goals, even with a rough one. Research shows making and celebrating progress in small increments can make you more successful at meeting goals, whether financial or otherwise. A now step is the smallest meaningful action you can take in the face of a challenge. It reminds the brain that your behavior matters as you experience a win from completing it.
Second habit: focus on the good. Our mind focuses on the things that we’re stressed about. But we often need a little help to see the positive parts of our life that are worth celebrating. This is the fuel that keeps us going. Each day, take two minutes to write down three new, specific things you’re grateful for. This simple practice can change how you see the rest of your day as you get better at scanning for things to add to the list.
Third habit: expect the unexpected. Even optimists experience setbacks. But, they are more likely than pessimists to have recovered and learned from those setbacks. Learning from mistakes only fuels your optimism, so make a list of three of the most stressful events of your life, how you overcame them, and what you learned. Your resilient past can help boost your optimism.