Ask Dr. Joy: The optimist in you

By WEEK Producer

July 18, 2012 Updated Jul 18, 2012 at 6:21 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Optimism is having the belief that good things will happen to you and that if something negative occurs in your life, you will be able to make lemonade from lemons.

But what are the skills that optimists use to have such a sunny and confident outlook? In tonight's Dr. Joy, we will discover some skills to make your glass half full.

Most of us want to be optimists, but lack some of the skills, so what are some characteristics of a sunny disposition?

· Optimists don't walk away, they go head-on with obstacles
· Optimists are focused on solutions and finding an action plan to make plans succeed
· Optimists always look for something good in any situation and "reframe their thoughts" into viewing situations in that light
· Optimists see events as ways to grow, to expand and enlighten

We tend to be strongly influenced by genes that govern the way we look at circumstances

We also can be taught to be an optimism from our parents and teachers. People who encourage and praise accomplishments and minimize criticism tend to have happier children.

So, because you can teach people to be even more optimistic, what specifics can you give us to enhance our optimism quotient?

· Act and the feelings will follow. Fake it until you make it… you can be optimistic if you believe that it will better your life.
· Be engaged in your goals. Define your goals and be persistent in the pursuit of those goals.
· Be your own cheerleader. Use self-praising for your steps towards your goals and acknowledge efforts, progress and successes
· Use self talk. Whether you are a marathon runner or someone trying to meet a deadline, you will find that positive self-talk is the key to meeting your goal. Talk yourself through your situation and visualize success.
· Be in control. Control is within your own power. Take control vs letting feelings control you. When you hold the control your destiny can bounce back from setbacks.
· Surround yourself. Your surroundings makes a difference. Surrounding yourself with happy and optimistic people helps us stay in that mind frame, and remember that if you surround yourself with negative people you may tend to live in a negative world

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