Climbing Out of the Dumps: Steps to Ascend Towards Optimism
There are times when life feels like one big failure. It’s easy to feel weighed down by problems and negativity, to the point where even the smallest issue turns into a seemingly insurmountable obstacle. We all reach a point in life where the silver lining appears to have stood us up, leaving us all dressed up with nowhere to go. However, it’s important to remember that we are not alone. Everyone encounters dilemmas; how we react and deal with them is what determines how long they last and whether we change for the better. In this article, we will explore six steps to help you climb out of the dumps and towards an optimistic outlook on life.
1. Find Your People (or Person)
Often when things seem to be at their worst, we feel trapped and isolated in our own misery. However, it’s important to connect with another human being who can listen and provide support. A good friend or family member who makes you feel safe can be a great start. If you don’t have this person in your life, consider paying someone like a therapist or a bartender with a good ear to listen to your troubles. Expressing your thoughts and feelings aloud can have a cathartic effect, alleviating some of the pressure built up from suppressing them. Plus, a good listener can infuse you with much-needed optimism.
2. Give It a Name
Part of what keeps us from optimism is the inability to name the root of our issue. As a result, we often focus on little things that we find dissatisfactory, which are really symptomatic of a more significant problem. To move towards a more optimistic outlook, focus on what’s making you feel blue and give your oppressor a name. Identifying the root problem requires honesty with yourself, but it’s a necessary step to take to move forward and find the optimism you need.
3. Exercise Your Talents; Give Away Your Gifts
We all have talents; some of us have gifts. Talents are abilities that we’re naturally inclined to but need to practice often to develop them. Gifts, on the other hand, are characteristics that are in our nature that we operate in the world. Find one of your talents, plant it, water it, and watch it grow. If you’re lucky enough to have a gift, find a way to dispense it freely. Witnessing your talents and gifts in play will invite optimism into your life.
4. Go Outside and Move Around
Motivation is scarce when you’re feeling down and out, and it’s tempting to blend into the couch. However, this is a certain way to perpetuate a cycle of negativity. The simple act of walking outside is scientifically proven to release endorphins, a stress-fighting chemical in your brain that makes you feel better. If it’s too cold, too sunny, or too scary outside, you won’t know until you give it a try. Get up and go outside. Take a stroll and find the optimism you need.
5. Buck Up
Chances are if you and your loved ones are healthy, all else is solvable. I’m not saying to trivialize your problems, but to break them down to a base level. When my father had his stroke a decade ago, it put things in perspective. The changes he had to make to stay healthy kept him focused and motivated. He didn’t get bogged down with negative possibilities or “what ifs.” When the most important thing: his health, came into question, he bucked up and just did what he had to do. This is the most important step in claiming and maintaining optimism, finding what’s important in life and honing in on that.
When you trust your best efforts, you never have to be ashamed of the outcome. Trust that the tide is in your favor, and your best efforts will put you on the right path. If you make room for trust in your thoughts, you can bypass inner judgments that often create unnecessary comparison, worry, and overall displeasure. There are so many great things around you, happening for you. Trust yourself to do right by you, and you may find yourself making better decisions more suited to your overall health. A balanced mind, body, and soul are definitely in possession of optimism.
Life’s bumps and setbacks are inevitable. It’s getting through them and finding a positive outlook that matters most. We all encounter dilemmas that challenge our happiness, but it’s how we react to these challenges that ultimately determine our success. Optimism is a necessary tool for navigating life’s difficulties and drawing out the best in the world around us. Try these six steps to help you ascend towards an optimistic outlook and toward a better future.