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5 Tips on How to Look at the Bright Side of Life

By Denne “Donee” Thomas-Patterson, MD, Primary Care Physician, Virtua Primary Care — Pennsauken

Between the pandemic, economic crisis, and climate catastrophes, it’s easy for the world to seem overwhelming.

However, there's good reason to look in the bright side! Studies have shown that optimism can reduce pain and improve quality of life, even for people with serious medical conditions.

Being optimistic doesn't mean ignoring your problems, or that the world is perfect. However, by seeing the glass half-full, you can feel positive emotions, even during hard times. Optimism can also guide you on how to move forward in your life. Happier people are better workers, tend to be healthier and tend to get along with others better.

Below are some suggestions how to start being more optimistic and take steps to being more fulfilled.

Remember, It’s Temporary

Optimism involves believing you, and your life, can change for the better. Take time to think of the positive things and people in your life.

Catch yourself if you ever find yourself saying, "Things can't get worse." Instead of thinking negatively, "I always get passed over," tell yourself, "I didn't get the job this time."

Write a Mission Statement

A personal sense of purpose goes a long way towards instilling joyful meaning in life. Consider who you want to be and what you want to do with your life (no matter your age). Record your thoughts and goals, then use them to guide your actions. Create a “vision board” that can inspire you with pictures, optimistic reminders, and encouraging quotes.

Have a Laugh

You’ve heard that "laughter is the best medicine," so finding humor in stressful situations can increase your ability to endure it. Watching comedies instead of dramas may improve your mood. Add kindness to daily interactions to offset any negative karma.

Eliminate the Negative

Negative thoughts can become a pattern. Use a visual cue to catch those thoughts before they add up. For instance, wear a bracelet or a ring you can switch from one hand to the other each time you complain. Try to see the positive side, even if it’s only in the little things.

Visualize, in Detail

Those who imagine a better future are more likely to create one. It also gives you something to look forward to. Dream big and choose happiness.

Train yourself to see the good in everything. An optimistic mindset leads to a good day; multiple good days leads to a great week; several great weeks becomes great months; then all the great months become wonderful years—which all equals a great life!

Get mental health support in Virtua Primary Care

Virtua Behavioral Health offers mental and behavioral health services in 13 Virtua Primary Care offices throughout South Jersey. To help meet your mental and emotional health needs, our primary care physicians refer their patients to licensed clinical social workers who work within the practice. These licensed professionals provide a range of psychotherapy services, including cognitive behavioral therapy and marital counseling, and treat conditions including anxiety, depression, eating disorders, mood disorders, and substance abuse.

Schedule a primary care appointment online now or call 888-847-8823.

Updated April 26, 2022

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