Optimism is a hot commodity, after all it falls under the umbrella of “positive energy” which everyone is chasing these days. Optimism exists in all of us, but it is often buried under the wear and tear of everyday life and social conditioning. The ability to tap into optimism could be our best weapon in the war against mental health issues. Lucky for us, optimism is a way of thinking and being that can be cultivated. Optimism boot C.A.M.M.P., a mental fitness training I’ve developed, which consists of Connection, Acceptance, Mindset, Mindfulness, and Purpose, will reveal the mystical origin of this powerful trait and empower you with the mental fitness tools to boost your optimism levels and have you facing each day with more enthusiasm and joy
CONNECTION to oneself and to others is the foundation for human life and is directly linked to optimism. We are hardwired to connect, care, and love through family relationships, friendships, and loving partnerships. Connecting to oneself allows the discovery of your individual purpose and passion, thus creating a road map for seeking out people and experiences which bring you joy, hope and optimism. Cultivate a strong connection to yourself through meditation, and reflection and seek out connections with people who spark joy, for they both are a natural formula for boosting optimism levels.
ACCEPTANCE of situations and as they are and not what you think they “should” be is the key to leading a resilient life where optimism can flow freely. Resilience is not the avoidance of adversity, it is the ability to bounce back from it quickly. When we resist adverse situations that are out of our control, we prolong our recovery time. However, when we learn to accept that which is beyond our control and the negative feelings they bring, we create a channel for these feelings to flow through us and then leave, thus creating space for optimism to return and flourish. Learn to eliminate “absolute language” such as “should,” “need to,” “have to,” from your internal dialogue and improve your self-talk so you can get over it and get on with it. The more resilient you become, the more optimism can thrive.
MINDSET is a game changer when it comes to cultivating optimistic thinking. Developing a growth mindset, which I like to refer to as a Warrior Mindset, means dedicating yourself to becoming a life-long learner and risk taker who embraces challenges as a means of growing. If you are a Warrior, you don’t get hung up on failure, but rather you use it as a springboard for learning. As a Warrior, you train yourself to find the positive in every situation, and when you find negative thoughts flooding your mind, you pay them no mind, and you “change the story.” Learn to observe your thoughts carefully and actively choose thoughts which elevate optimism. Talk to yourself instead of listening to yourself.
MINDFULNESS, the act of being present in the moment, is the portal to greater self-awareness and greater connection to self and others. Whether in the form of meditation, quiet walks in nature, or merely tuning in more acutely to every moment of your life, mindfulness tends to increase compassion, empathy and other forms of positive energy which boost the production of optimism. Begin a daily mindfulness practice. You can start by using an app such as Headspace or Calm, which guides the beginner and provides practical ways to integrate mindfulness into your everyday routine. Learn to harness the “power of your breath.” Inhale optimism, exhale negativity.
PURPOSE in one’s life could be the magic potion for optimism. In Victor Frankl ‘s book Man’s Search for Meaning, a personal narrative of his experience as a prisoner at the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II, he observed that individuals with purpose in their lives, whether it be love for one’s family or love of one’s work, were more likely to survive the physical and mental atrocities of the camp. This sense of purpose was so powerful it sometimes was the difference between life and death. Discovering your purpose brings meaning, hope, and optimism to life. Optimism can protect you from toxic feelings which may insidiously try to creep in during times of adversity. Be proactive. Take note of what excites and inspires you and weave those things into your everyday life, either through work, volunteerism, or reading. In discovering your purpose, you discover your power and with that kind of power comes an abundance of optimism.