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#Microblog Mondays 92: Optimistic

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

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I am not an optimistic person, so I clicked over to Mental Floss to learn the one simple thing I can do to change almost 42 years of the same, pessimistic mindset.

It turned out to be a simple exercise you can do while brushing your teeth (click over to read it).  I haven’t tried it yet, mostly because I have a terrible feeling that my lists would devolve into super specific things like: It makes me happy when Daredevil does a back flip, when Daredevil does that thing where he kicks off the wall before slamming into someone, when Daredevil parkours up the side of a building.

And then I would think, “Oh, I should stay up and read some Daredevil!”  And then be overtired the next day, which probably just makes me even more Eyeore-ish.  In all seriousness, there are a lot of things that make me happy, but I’m not sure I could come up with 3 new ones each day.

What do you think of advice like this?  Can committing to tricks like this really change the way you process the world?

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Are you also doing #MicroblogMondays? Add your link below. The list will be open until Tuesday morning. Link to the post itself, not your blog URL. (Don’t know what that means? Please read the three rules on this post to understand the difference between a permalink to a post and a blog’s main URL.) Only personal blogs can be added to the list. I will remove any posts that are connected to businesses or are sponsored posts.

1. Mali (No Kidding) 11. Middle Girl 21. Virgí nia
2. Mali (A Separate Life) 12. IF Pom 22. Journeywoman
3. Persnickety 13. Isabelle 23. Loribeth (The Road Less Travelled)
4. Lovey 14. Anamika Agnihotri 24. Cyn K
5. Lori Lavender Luz 15. Jess 25. Mary Francis
6. Catwoman73 16. Aseem 26. Karen (River Run Dry)
7. Daryl 17. Shail 27. Lori@ Laughing IS Conceivable
8. Traci York, Writer 18. Just Heather 28. the OCD infertile
9. Unpregnant Chicken 19. One and Done?
10. Middle Girl 20. Infertile Girl

 

22 comments

1 Mali { 05.30.16 at 5:52 am }

I’m amused that you’re quite pessimistic about the idea without trying it! I’m not naturally optimistic – my mother used to periodically tell me it was time to read the Pollyanna books again when I was young! -but since learning I would never have children, I have learned to be much more positive. It is definitely possible to change the way we think. And I recommends it.

I might try this exercise too.

2 Persnickety { 05.30.16 at 6:48 am }

I think I am a bit cynical about that- and yet I acknowledge that you can build new habits.
I am attached to my pessimism, although I am also optmistic on occasion.

3 Cristy { 05.30.16 at 7:21 am }

Like many, I’m also fairly pessimistic (wonder if it’s a common quality among bloggers). But this exercise reminds me of one Grey and I were prescribed to do while in therapy. Instead of launching into all the things that happened during our day when we saw one another, we had to come up with 5 good things to share with one another. Was definitely a difficult exercise as it required being mindful and patient. But we always started the evening out on a better note.

Huh, maybe we’re overdue to begin doing this again.

4 Catwoman73 { 05.30.16 at 7:58 am }

I don’t consider myself a pessimist- more of a realist, really (which is probably just an optimistic view of pessimism… I am clearly a complex creature!). I do think that tricks like this can help, but it takes discipline and commitment to stick to this kind of thing. I don’t think that 40-something years of pessimism/realism can be erased quickly or easily. Creating the habit of thinking positively for a set period of time each day would take time and effort… and at the end of the day, I just want to get my damned teeth brushed and go to bed!

Besides- what’s so bad about being pessimistic/realistic anyway? I’ve always found my mindset very useful. I’m never caught off-guard when bad things happen!

5 Traci York { 05.30.16 at 8:33 am }

I agree with Catwoman – I think there’s a tendency to see optimistic as “right” and pessimistic as “wrong.” However, I do see some value in trying tricks to change your mindset, if you feel it’s time for a readjustment.

Years ago (or eons, since I was still a young girl) I remember my late father telling me about one of the ways he reminded himself to be present and grateful. As he made his way through his often crazy busy day (which usually involved driving here, there, and everywhere), any time he passed a spot on the road where he knew someone had been killed (in a couple instances, he witnessed the accident himself, and tried to assist). he’d say a quick prayer, and ask that their soul was at peace. He said it never failed to put everything in perspective for him.

6 Daryl { 05.30.16 at 8:34 am }

I am also quite Eeyore-ish and skeptical of anything that promises to change my very nature. My husband, however, is the exact opposite and would probably think this is a great idea.

7 Infertile Girl { 05.30.16 at 8:55 am }

When I was seeing a therapist, just before starting IVF, she “prescribed” this for me to do. I was to list three good things that happened each day. It was hard for me, and admittedly fell by the wayside rather quickly…

8 Middle Girl { 05.30.16 at 10:12 am }

While I am grateful for a great many things and seeing the UPS over the downs is easier for me than it used to be for, say, my mom, I shun any excercise at trying to hone in on any one (or three) things daily. Mostly, I am of the mindset of hoping for the best and preparing for the worst.

Can committing to tricks like this really change the way you process the world? Not unless one is committed to changing the way one processes the world.

9 Middle Girl { 05.30.16 at 10:21 am }

Sorry for the re-posting of a previous entry 🙁

10 Pom { 05.30.16 at 11:09 am }

I am an optimistic realist so don’t necessarily have the same problem. But I find the problem with most of these “quick/easy way to change…” type articles are that it all sounds great in theory but actually doing and sticking to it is another thing. Changing habits takes a long time. It is never as simple as they make it out to be.

11 Anamika Agnihotri { 05.30.16 at 12:20 pm }

I am an optimist but this hasn’t been the case always. I have spent a large amount of time of my life being a pessimist. Things that brought about this change in me was my promise to stay happy whatever be the situation and practicing gratitude helped me a lot to achieve this. Another thing that keeps me happy are children’s books. They exude a lot of imagination and positivity.

12 Shail { 05.30.16 at 12:58 pm }

I am not a pessimist, not an optimist either. More of a realist 🙂

13 Jess { 05.30.16 at 1:01 pm }

I feel like Pollyanna all the time, even though I have my moments of bitterness. There’s a science teacher I work with who calls me Suzy Sunshine, like it’s an insult, because I always hope for the best with our most difficult students whose patterns of behavior don’t really point to a sudden turnaround. But I can be a realist, too, when it comes to certain things. This exercise might be worth a try, especially if the day tends to sway towards “everything is awful.” To come up with three novel things every day? I think those things would have to be very small and specific — like “I’m happy my pancakes turned out great this morning, I’m happy a day went by when I didn’t injure myself, I’m happy my phone battery lasted all day today.” It might be a fun challenge to see for how long you can come up with 3 novel happiness reflections… Such an interesting idea!

14 Lori Lavender Luz { 05.30.16 at 4:04 pm }

I think when I was at a more impressionable age, I did take on tricks like this, and I have ended up less Eyeorish than I used to be. As age came, though, so did a sense of realism, and more of a desire to accept what is than to positive think my way out of things. Even so, I do think there is a certain magic about feeling/noticing/expressing gratitude.

15 Lori Lavender Luz { 05.30.16 at 4:10 pm }

I think when I was at a more impressionable age, I did take on tricks like this, and I have ended up less Eyeore-ish than I used to be. As age came, though, so did a sense of realism, and more of a desire to accept what is than to positive think my way out of things. Even so, I do think there is a certain magic about feeling/noticing/expressing gratitude.

16 loribeth { 05.30.16 at 6:23 pm }

I tend to dither endlessly over whether the glass is half full or half empty 😉 but I think more times than not I am generally pretty optimistic, or at least I try to be. I have to be sometimes, living around dh & his family, who automatically default to envisioning the worst case scenario in every situation. 😉 As for the article — it’s kind of a variation on the gratitude journal, isn’t it? And that seems to work well for some people. I’m not sure about the stipulation that you have to think of “new things,” though… like you, I’m not sure I could come up with three new things every day, day after day, without repetition. I understand the same old things can get kind of boring, but after a while it would get harder to keep thinking of new stuff. And I agree with Catwoman that it takes discipline & commitment to develop a new habit like this one. I just started using a new meditation app… let’s see how that goes! 😉

17 Cyn K { 05.30.16 at 8:22 pm }

I’m a pessimist but I’m game for trying this simple task. Even if it doesn’t last, I’m happy in this moment thinking of my three things. Sorry, I didn’t wait until I was brushing my teeth. I’m not optimistic I would remember until then.

18 Ana { 05.31.16 at 10:25 am }

I do this, I write down 3 good things at the end of each day in a little journal.. Do I think its completely changing my mindset? No, I’m pretty skeptical of any “simple trick”. But it is forcing me to look for the good things in the day. I noticed that it doesn’t really do much for my mood to sit there at 10pm and try to scrounge something up…what helps is to actually make note of things in the moment. “Ooh, what a gorgeous sunset” or “wow, the kids are playing together so nicely right now” or “damn, I really nailed that talk”. The act of looking for the good stuff, and the realization that even the crappiest days do manage to have at least ONE if not more bright spot, is definitely making me less negative about life.

19 Lavonne @ the OCD infertile { 05.31.16 at 12:44 pm }

At my last job they focused very hard on personal growth. Their motto was “Businesses Don’t Grow, People Do”. They offered all kinds of self help classes about mental health, personal growth, and even financial balance. Every meeting started with a “Positive Focus” where you had to state something positive that was getting you through that day. Then every morning, you wrote your top 3 priorities for the work day, and then your top 3 gratitude’s. Because they encouraged it, it was a habit I picked up pretty quickly. It was an awesome way to start the day and remind me of all the good things in life even if I wasn’t looking forward to work that day. It fostered a good moral in the office and overall I felt like everyone was happier there. Unfortunately I was laid off and I truly believe that job was one of a kind, but it taught me good work habits and good things like thinking of what I’m thankful every morning to help keep me positive and uplifted. 🙂

20 Justine { 05.31.16 at 8:59 pm }

Likely incorrigible pessimist here. I found that when I wanted to change my behavior around this, though, I started noticing when I was doing it more, and thinking about how that would affect other people. That seems to work for me: rather than promising myself a new habit (without any external support for it, without which I’m hopeless), it was more about becoming mindful and attentive, which I *can* do. Now I’m still as pessimistic as ever in my own mind, but at least I hope I’m slightly better company. (I confess there’s something about “gratitude journals” that rubs me the wrong way.) 😉

21 35jupiterdrive { 06.03.16 at 2:31 am }

I am an optimist by nature. I do try these sorts of things because I have found they honestly help if I keep them up. I’ve gone through a long period of not doing them, and I’m getting ready to restart them. I think they would irritate me if I saw them as disingenuous or medacious but instead, I see them as a sort of lifeskill, one that you practice. Like the ukulele or knitting. 😉

22 35jupiterdrive { 06.03.16 at 2:31 am }

Blast. Mendacious. with an n. (Told you I’d just learned it)

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