How to be an optimist and a model of optimism?

How to be an optimist ? Optimism is perhaps one of the most frequently heard word these days. From doctors to psychiatrists’ mental health gurus to psychologists, almost everyone wants you to be an optimist. However, the question which arises is whether being optimist is something that can be taught? Can a person be actually taught to look at the proverbial half full glass instead of the half empty one? There have been various theories put forward on how a person can be taught to be optimistic.

Develop a positive point of view

For example, Martin Seligman in his book ‘Learned Optimism’ released in 1990 points out to ways in which one can develop a positive point of view. Similarly, there have been scores of publications written on developing a positive outlook to live a happy and healthy life. It has been proven that people with an optimistic outlook are more likely to achieve success in life. We also keep hearing about the ‘mind-body’ connect, with examples of people having overcome many illnesses, thanks to their optimistic outlook.

Simple ways to teach your child about optimism

One of the simple ways to teach your child about optimism is by giving them small tasks to perform. It could be something as simple as helping you with gardening. Even a simple task gives them a sense of responsibility and boosts their confidence levels (4 keys to improve confidence level in kids). Even if they were to fail at their tasks, tell them not to shy away from responsibilities and that failures are opportunities in disguise. This kind of encouragement goes a long way in developing an optimistic outlook in kids.

A word of appreciation is good

Never shy away from praising your child for any good work that they may have done. Remember, even a word of appreciation is good enough to send their confidence levels soaring. Similarly, never belittle them for a wrong. For example, if they have not done well in an exam, tell the child that it is not the end of the world, he or she has got all the potential in the world and it is just that they need to put a little bit of more hard work the next time around. This approach would instill in them a ‘can do’ spirit.

Parents are indeed the biggest role models

As it has been repeated in many of the earlier blogs here, parents are indeed the biggest role models for their kids. Remember, your children are observing every one of your moves. They are looking at how you deal with different situations. If you are getting all worked up because you could not complete an office assignment and getting angry for no reason at others at the home, how could you possibly teach your kids about being optimistic about tasks? Instead a measured and confident reaction to a setback sends a message to the child that,” yes my parents are indeed models of optimism.”

Make a positive impact on the lives of others

Helping others is another way in which kids can learn about optimism. For example, participating in a weekend food drive or helping an elderly grandma or grandpa are all good ways to teach them about how we can make a positive impact on the lives of others. It will fill them with optimism thinking that they too can play a role, however small, in making this world a better place to live.

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