My Path to Optimism – Learning to be Thankful Every Day

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For a long time, I’d convinced myself that I would never be an optimist. Every time that I met someone who had an unwavering positive attitude, I believed that they were hiding something. No one was that happy all of the time, and it seemed inauthentic to me. Life’s handed me far too many obstacles and a lot of heavy experiences to possibly feel hopeful the majority of the time, right?

Now, I still believe that we aren’t meant to literally be happy all of the time, but I am starting to believe that we can at least feel content more often than not.

As of late, I’ve been intrigued by an idea I read in a book recommended to me by a friend, called “Happy For No Reason.”  To sum it up, scientists have found that we, as humans, can change the negative neural pathways of our brain. Studies reveal that when you change your behavior, your thoughts and your feelings, the brain changes, and will in fact rewire itself.

In other words: you don’t have to be unhappy, with negative neural pathways for your whole life.

So, with new information that tells me that a cynical pessimist like myself can become an optimist by simply changing my behavior, I’ve set off to do just that.

And it truly is already working.

I’m not trying to say that everyone should just fix their brains and be done with it, as I know that for some people the issue is not that easily solved, but I AM saying that at least giving it a try could possibly make a difference.

In two weeks of changing my Facebook statuses from cynical jokes and life issues to positives messages and compliments to my network, I’ve already felt the difference in my attitude, and the way in which I am connecting to the people in my online social circle.

People are digging it. They appreciate what feels like a breath of fresh air from the constant negativity put on their news feeds, and I’ve even noticed some friends following suit and being more friendly online as well.

To step it up a notch, I try to find at least ONE thing, big or small, that I am grateful for each day, and I track it in a gratitude journal application on my phone. No matter how awful my day was, I can usually find one thing to be thankful for, and it helps.

What ways do you find contentment in your life?

-Sasha Huff

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