5 Easy(ish) Ways To Stop Being A Pessimist

Do you want to stop bring a pessimist? Do you want better self-care and more happiness? These 5 things will help you get closer to your goal!

Is it possible to stop being a pessimist?

Which is to say: Is it possible to re-wire your brain? To change your personality? To alter the way you navigate life?

The short answer is: sort of.

Science tells us that we all come with a built-in ‘emotional set point‘ – some of us are just naturally happy and some of us are just naturally …. less happy.

But! We can move the needle! We can make ourselves happier or at least less pessimistic. Today, reader Gene tells us how he’s moved away from his pessimistic tendencies.

Over the past several months, I’ve really been working hard on developing a better attitude about life and getting more accomplished. I used to be really negative, so I started reading up on what’s helped for other people who weren’t born with sunny dispositions and decided to try a few of their ideas.

5 ways to stop being a pessimist

Make a list of positives

Each day, I try to make a list of five or six items that I think were positives from the day before. Even when my day has been subpar, I still work for six. It helps me think about the day before in a positive way instead of a blur of activity.

Credit is given for each thing that I feel helps me become a better person, husband, dad, friend, employee, etc.. Did I get up early and on time? If so, it goes on the list. Did I bike to work or exercise? Yay for me, it’s on the list.

Time with family and friends, healthy eating, completed projects at work, books read, and nights when I go to bed early all go on the list. It’s been addictive for me.

Be careful and intentional about consuming media

I’m very, very careful about how much news I read, listen to, or watch. If I want information about an issue I can always research it and I still know what’s going on without the daily input.

If you’re someone who isn’t bothered by the news, awesome. But if you’re like me and the news can come between you and an otherwise perfect day, maybe you should try giving it up. Maybe just try it out for a short time. Like for a week. Trust me.

Instead of Morning Edition or Fox and Friends (dude!) how about your favorite record? You know that record that’s been sitting on your shelf for a while that makes you smile because the arrangements are so surprising and the lyrics and harmonies make your heart EXPLODE with happiness? Start your morning with that and then take on your day with spirit!

Eat things that make you feel good

Almost anything will do for breakfast. There are lots of people who will tell you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and they’re right. That said, it might also be beneficial to have a snack right when you get home from work.

Low blood sugar can make a person grouchy and then by the time dinner is actually served that you’re HUNGRY. A few chips and salsa or a slice of bread with butter and honey might be the difference between a great evening and a not so great one.

Move your body in a way that you enjoy

We’ve all heard it. Exercise releases endorphins and gives you energy and raises your metabolism and blah, blah, blah. It’s all true though. Even just a few minutes of walking in the morning can help you get your mind right.

Related: 9 fun activities that also happy to be exercise

Avoid negative conversations

I’m not sure where I heard it, but the words we say actually have a lot of influence on our thoughts and attitude. Nobody leaves a negative conversation in a better mood. Click To Tweet I’ve never seen people walk away from those conversations very happy, even if they were in a great mood to begin with.

I don’t get all superior when I’m in one of those situations, I just find a way to tactfully remove myself. If I’m in a meeting with my coworkers and they’re all complaining, I usually just keep my mouth shut or crack a joke every once in a while. There might not be much else you can do in those situations to remove yourself, but not participating will do wonders for your attitude.

Are you a born optimist?ย How do you stay positive? Tell us in the comments so we can benefit from your wisdom!

P.S. How do you stay optimistic when everything is terrible

photos byย Diego Hernandez andย Matthew Henry // cc



Cool post. It can sound cheesy, but working on a positive attitude is such a good thing to do and these suggestions are really helpful. Exercise is definitely the one I should work on, personally.


These suggestions are great. Thanks for sharing them! Here's one that I use:

Limit your complaining time: It's way too easy to complain about work issues after I get home, so I made a 5-minute rule. I allow myself to vent for about 5 minutes (because sometimes, you just NEED to get it off your chest), but then it's done. No more work talk. If I'm not on the clock, I refuse to think about work. This has really helped me reclaim my personal time and stop wasting my nice peaceful evenings on stressful thoughts.


Great points! Will try out the list thing tomorrow (or maybe even today?). And I'm happy to report that I have been eating breakfast. ๐Ÿ™‚


Yes to avoiding the news!
Surrounding yourself with postive people in place of those negative conversations is awesome too, there's nothing like coming away from a conversation with someone really passionate for making you feel uplifted.


what an awesome post! i've actually had to cut people out of my life who only complain constantly about their lives. i always figure, it's fine to complain if you're actually attempting to find and act on a solution to change things.


I wouldn't say I'm a born optimist, as sometimes I have to realllly work at it. But, I have learned the advantages of being a (mostly) positive person: People associate you with what you say, what mood you're in, and no one wants to be friends with a sourpuss! Also, there's some quote about your thoughts becoming your actions, your actions becoming your habits, and your habits becoming your values. So there's another amazing reason to always try to stay positive!
Great post, as per usual!


This is a great reminder to stay positive. Despite the bleak job prospects for 3rd year law students that are on the verge of becoming lawyers, I try to stay positive by thinking of the here and now (I'm happy/healthy/in love, etc) and more long term things (wedding/life/successful professional life) rather than think about the nitty gritty of not finding an employer that is willing to hire or even interview me. Yes, its something I should be concerned about, but flipping out about it now won't change anything.


List making totally helps keep me in a good mood. Along with keeping positive people around me. Also I do my best to not involve myself with gossip and try to not complain.


Great post! A friend of mine does daily top 5s on his tumblr, and although it's often just a word or three for each point, I can see how it distinguishes one day from the next!

Lately I've been going out of my way to avoid Negative Nancys and their whinging, and so far it's working! Sometimes it's easy to say, "Enough!" and they get the point.

Sarah Von Bargen


Thank you so much! I just tried to go to your blog but my computer crashed (I'm sure a reflection on my computer and not your blog ;)) so I have to thank you here. (blush)


I was not born an optimist. I had to work on it, much like you did! But you are correct that a negative mindset can be overcome.
Great post!


I try to be an optimist most of the time, even is I falter sometimes. However, one of the things that piss me off the most is that my friends complain about being bored ALL THE TIME. Sometimes I say it, but I don't think I actually mean it. I try to tell her that if you say you're bored then you will be bored. I try to enjoy everything I do (even if it's writing a paper), so If i'm bored with it, why not try making it fun or interesting?


I feel like I was born an optimist, but little by little I became a pessimist ,under the guise of being a "realist". For me this his whole year has been about being more positive. I have been reading books, blogs (positively present) and it has helped a lot. BTW this list is great, I would add getting enough restful sleep and placing reminders to be positive around your home/job/car what have you.


These are great tips. I think I'm mostly a Realistic Optimist, I won't lie to myself to believe that everything is okay, but it usually is! I really like the idea of writing positive things down, sometimes I can get bogged down with little worries that don't matter in the long run. Thanks for sharing this!


Whenever I'm sad, I just put on a happy song like I'm yours from Jason Mraz (I just like it so much lately) and dance around my living room. Works wonders!


I have always tried to find the positive in life but finding myself jobless at the beginning of this summer and the second time in just years that I was jobless I decided to make it a point to find a few positive things each week and share them. I post at least three things a week on my blog but most weeks I find SO many more. I am working again but it's a contract only job…the positive thing: I'm learning a new skill to add to my wonderfully colorful resume! ๐Ÿ™‚

Love this post!


Wow, you've given me something to think about…as an eternal pessimist I always think that if I expect the worst and the worst happens then I am not disappointed, if something better happens, then I am pleasantly surprised. Thanks for bringing sunshine into my day, every single day ๐Ÿ™‚


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