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3 Easy Steps to Becoming an Optimist

You're convinced, being an optimist is the way to go. But beyond the old adage "See the glass half full" how do you do it? Here are three quick, easy steps to becoming an optimist.
08/26/2015 05:27pm ET | Updated August 26, 2016
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optimism road sign

You're convinced, being an optimist is the way to go. But beyond the old adage "See the glass half full" how do you do it?

Here are three quick, easy steps to becoming an optimist.

1. Play the "What If" Game Positively

We all play the "what if" game, but for the most part, we play it negatively. For example, you haven't been feeling at all well lately. It's not a cold, not indigestion, nothing you can put your finger on. Your mind starts spinning: "What if it's cancer? I'm getting older, maybe it's diabetes? Or something leading to a stroke? Heart attack?!" which leads to "What if it's already too late? What if I've got something terminal? What if they can't figure out what it is? What if I don't have enough insurance?"

Panic sets in, and with that your stress increases as your ability to think clearly and make good decisions goes directly downhill.

Instead, play the "what if" game in a hopeful, positive, appreciative direction: "I've been in pretty good health all my life. It's not like I'm in pain even, I just don't feel as well as I'm used to. I've always bounced back from things, I've got good stamina. This is probably a vitamin deficiency, like vitamin D or something like that."

2. Appreciate What Is

Appreciate what is. You have good access to doctors and other healthcare providers. You have endless access to web research. You can remind yourself that our 21st century ability to treat most ailments is sensational, that all sorts of diagnostic tools and techniques exist to ferret out what's going on with our bodies. At least you have insurance! And you have friends and family who could help out if the need arose.

All this reassures you that the sky isn't falling right this second, which helps you relax, again assuring that you are functioning at your least-stressed best. You can now be proactive and approach your health concerns in a more rational, logical way.

3. Reminisce Constructively

Most of us, when faced with a situation we don't like, reminisce destructively. We think of all the bad things that have happened to us, and how awful it felt, and how hard it was to get back on track.

Instead, reminisce constructively. Deliberately think about how easily you healed from that broken leg you got falling out of your treehouse at age 12. How whenever you get a cold or the flu, it never lasts more than a week. How you can't even remember when you last had a headache. How good you feel most of the time.

Think of all the good health advice friends, doctors and untold others through blogs and webcasts have given you along the way; how you've always seem to have been shown the way to a happy, healthy well-being throughout your life.

Now, if in addition to these three steps, you should feel the urge to not just become, but to flourish as an optimist, to embrace optimism mind, body, heart and soul, then do your best to live the Optimist Creed (http://www.optimist.org/e/creed.cfm). It is a powerful appreciation practice that can literally transform you, inside and out, making your happy, healthy longevity practically inevitable.

The Optimist Creed
Promise yourself:
To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet.
To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.
To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.
To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.
To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.