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Optimism 101

How to Become a Positive Person in Less than 750 Words!

We all love an optimist. There really are people who no matter what, just see everything with the sunny side up. They see what's right, not what's wrong, what's good even in the midst of the worst day or situation, and, they are masters at finding and luxuriating in that sometimes elusive silver lining. So which one are you? I can tell you that by nature I think I've always been an optimist, but as time goes on, I've noticed a bit of realism creeping in and it started to worry me. I mean my favourite accessory has always been rose-colored glasses and I have no intention of trading them in for dark sunglasses. Besides, more and more happiness experts are saying that a rosy outlook can add years to your life.

The Mayo Clinic recently published a study whereby it was revealed that the secret to a long life might be something as simple as a sunny disposition. Or as they wrote,"optimism is the belief that good things will happen to you and that negative events are just temporary setbacks to be overcome."

Indeed it has been the thinking for the last decade that optimism can actually increase your life span by 20 percent, and that not only do optimists live longer, but they enjoy a better quality of life. And another recent study, launched by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, shows that centenarians all share "positive personality traits" and a relaxed, friendly and cheerful kind of persona that may be associated with longevity.

But what if you're not wired that way? Can you learn to become a positive, optimistic person? Absolutely! There are many ways you can improve your positive thinking, and as a result, become happier, healthier, less stressed and more relaxed.

Watch out for that negative thinking and be ready to zap it and exchange it with a positive thought. When you think of something negative, try writing it down and replacing it with a positive or a funny thought. Write down the new thought and cross out the the negative one. This can be very powerful.

The other good news is that developing more confidence goes a long way towards helping you become a more optimistic person. Start by writing down positive things about yourself or your life. I love the “50 things I Am Grateful For” list, which will inject you with an instant bliss boost. Surround yourself with optimists and you will become the same. Try to focus on the positive in every situation. We often go to the place where we see what's not there. Look for what is.

When you're positive, you can also be a great leader. I love a little white book full of treasures called "Mindful Leadership: The 9 ways to Self-Awareness, Transforming Yourself and Inspiring Others, " written by Maria Gonazalez. "One of the outcomes of being positive is that you become an inspiration to those around you. I'm talking about truly inspiring others by whom and what you are, by saying what you mean and meaning what you say."

"When you are positive, you exude an energy that captures the imaginations of those you lead and serve and you inspire them to do great things."

Having a "can-do" attitude is very contagious.  So what happens when you come against a real problem or an issue that seems insurmountable? As Gonzalez puts it:  "From a strategic point of view, it's helpful to put yourself and those tasked to come up with a solution in the frame of mind that a solution exists. Your task is merely to discover it."

"Imagining Positive Outcomes" is probably one of the best ways you can begin to become more optimistic. Beautiful tools to add to your Optimism toolkit can be found in Barbara Frederickson's book Positivity, and include things like: Count your blessings, cultivate joy wherever you go, laugh lots, stop ruminating and uplift yourself with healthy distractions.

Finally, my favourite is to put love into your heart, which will instantly inject you with a feeling-good surge of bliss. Best Definition of an Optimist: "Someone who figures out that taking a step backward, after taking a step forward is not a disaster, it's a cha-cha!"

Life is a dance. Two steps forward, one step back. Sometimes we just have to dance through it. One, two, cha-cha-cha. Three, four, cha-cha-cha..."




Judy Siblin-Librach is an Adler trained Life Coach. You can reach her at www.findingyourbliss.com or follow her on Twitter @blissfairy.