This article is in our series about increasing happiness and life satisfaction. Many people with chronic pain can’t decrease their pain. So another way to live a more enjoyable and fulfilling life – perhaps even more important – is to increase the positive. That’s what we’ll look at in this series.
Let’s look at some optimism examples, using optimism to increase happiness.
Optimists believe there are permanent and universal causes for positive events. Optimists generalize positive causes and expect them to continue.
Positive Event Example: We had a little time left over in a meeting at work this week. I suggested we might share how we each deal with a common problem one person was having trouble with – getting back to sleep while being on call. Several people thanked me and the person who was having difficulty said, “That was really kind.”
I initially said to myself, “Yes, that was helpful and kind.” To be even more optimistic, I could say, “I’m a kind person. I often look for ways to help people.”
Optimists believe there are temporary and specific causes for negative events. These causes can be changed and they only apply to this one specific negative event.
Negative Event Example: I signed up to sell some of my charity notecards at a craft fair, but there were few buyers. I didn’t question the value of my cards. I recognized that the fair wasn’t a great place for selling – most people came just to walk outside and have lunch. And I learned what type of fair I’ll look for in the future.
Keep tracking your reactions to positive and negative events, and look for explanations that are more optimistic.