Seeing The Glass as Half Full

So often we tell our kids things like, “Sweet dreams,” and “Try to think happy thoughts,” but we do not always heed this advice ourselves, though we ought to, because so often optimists tend to fare better in life, which makes a lot of sense when you think about it. After all, if you have a “can do” attitude and spirit, it is easier to “roll with the punches” that life has to offer, because whenever you get knocked down, you keep getting back again. Pessimists, as you know, have a far more fatalistic, defeatist attitude about life. And of course, when you believe that you are going to fail at something, it is much harder to succeed because you are quite literally setting yourself up to fail. So, if you feel sad or pessimistic more often than you would like, here are some tips you can use to try to see the glass as half full instead of half empty. 

Even if you are stuck in a foul mood, try to think just one thought that makes you feel a tiny bit better. It could be something that makes you smile or laugh every time you think about it, like the sight of your neighbor’s young puppy running around and acting silly.   In other words, with this technique you are simply distracting yourself from your own pessimistic thinking by thinking of something that always has the power, without fail, to make you feel at least somewhat better.

Another strategy you can use to feel better when you are feeling down is to call your partner or a good friend, someone who knows you very well and who understands that you sometimes get down and need to be cheered up. Keep it simple. Just say something like, “I’m having one of those days where I just can’t seem to get out of my own way. Can you help me get into a better mood?” And then let your partner or dear friend take it from there.

Get some exercise, preferably outdoors, whenever the weather in your area permits. There is nothing quite like a brisk walk or run or bike ride to get those feel good hormones (endorphins) zipping around in your system and boosting your mood substantially. Also, when you exercise on a regular basis, you tend to feel better about yourself in general. Talk about a win-win strategy for fighting the blues.

Don’t isolate yourself. Often when we are feeling pessimistic or down, our first instinct is to hole up in the house and sort of wallow in it. But don’t trust this instinct, as it will only send you deeper into the doldrums. Fight this desire and get out of the house. Go anywhere. Your actual destination (a park, a store, a friend’s house) is far less important than the mere fact that you are getting "out and about." 

Clinical depression is different from feeling a little sad or pessimistic some of the time. If you really can’t shake your bad mood, and if you feel hopeless, and your appetite or your sleep patterns have changed significantly, and especially if you are thinking about suicide, you need to talk to your doctor and a licensed mental health practitioner immediately to get screened for clinical depression, and treated if necessary.