The article is developed in partnership with BetterHelp.
No matter how positive and happy you are, there will be times when you’re hit with a bout of pessimism. When this happens, it can be hard to see the bright side of things and to remember that one day you’ll feel better.
It’s easy to be cynical and shut yourself off from the world and other people, especially when there are so many difficult things happening in the world. However, pessimism can be counterproductive for your mental health in the long run. The more you shut yourself away, the less likely you are to appreciate life’s small pleasures.
To help you through those more challenging times, here are 5 strategies that you can implement to start being a little happier today.
Set realistic expectations for your day
It’s not easy to stay positive when we set unrealistic expectations for what we can accomplish in a single day.
Before you start your day, make a list of everything you want to get done. Then go back through the list and prioritize what needs to be done today and what can’t wait until tomorrow or later in the week.
Once you have a clear idea of what can realistically be accomplished in a single day, it’s much easier to be optimistic about meeting your goals.
Remember that you can only control yourself. Pessimism often comes from an inability to accept or understand why certain things happen the way they do. Instead of trying to control or change others around us, we need only focus on ourselves and our actions.
When we do this, we can have more realistic expectations for people and situations that are out of our control.
Find something to be grateful for every day
Being grateful for each day is another excellent way of beating pessimism and embracing wellness (more on the psychological effects of pessimism here https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/pessimism/) There is always something to be grateful for each day, no matter how unfair life can be to us.
Research shows that gratitude is tightly intertwined with happiness and that people who practice it often tend to enjoy greater physical and mental wellbeing. You can practice it every day by keeping a gratitude journal and asking yourself what are three specific things you are grateful for today.
Gratitude has a way of helping us stay positive regardless of the current challenges we are currently facing.
Don’t engage in negative conversations
You don’t have to participate in every conversation or debate, especially if it involves negativity or gossip.
Simply say, “I’m not comfortable talking about this” or “This isn’t my battle.” Then disengage and walk away. To beat pessimism, you have to stay away from interacting with negative people because the more you interact with them, the more their negativity rubs off on you.
Stop comparing yourself with others
Another strategy you can adopt to help you beat pessimism and embrace joy is avoiding comparing yourself with others.
If you compare yourself with others, it will only lead you down the path of envy or bitterness. So, instead of trying to compete with others and prove yourself better than them, focus on being the best version of yourself that you can be.
The only person that you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday.
Appreciate what you have right now
The fifth strategy for embracing joy in life is to appreciate what you have right now instead of waiting for something to happen so you can finally be happy.
Remember that it’s not about having everything you want; instead, it’s about wanting what you have. If you pursue material possessions or seek happiness from other people, then your happiness will always depend upon external factors that are beyond your control.