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How to Be Optimistic and Think Positive

Updated on February 9, 2018
Paul Kuehn profile image

Life has been a great teacher for me. I have learned more from my various jobs and experiences with people than from books.

Think Positive

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The Need to Be Optimistic and Think Positive

Undoubtedly, most people want to know how to be optimistic and think positive. This is especially true for older persons who want to avoid loneliness, sadness, and depression.

I have experienced a lack of optimism and even pessimism during big changes in my life. This occurred when I went through a divorce and after I retired from teaching.

My father who was optimistic and thought positive during most of his life became pessimistic and suffered from depression during the last 18 months of his life.

Based on personal experiences, I suggest six ways of how to be optimistic and think positive in this article.

Self-Confidence

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Love Yourself

If you want to know how to be optimistic, it is first necessary to love yourself. Self-love leads to having self-esteem and self-confidence. With self-esteem, you feel good about yourself and have self-respect. This is reflected in the way you dress, talk, and act. Armed with self-esteem, you quickly develop self-confidence in whatever you do. Everything has a positive outlook.

When I lived on a farm growing up, I did not have enough self-esteem and self-confidence. Consequently, I was not that well-groomed and had almost no friends. I was pessimistic about establishing relationships with the opposite sex and generally felt miserable socially. This all changed when I went away from home and developed more self-respect and self-confidence.

Love and Care for People

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Only after you love yourself will you be able to love and care for people. In loving and caring for others, you develop empathy, kindness, happiness, and self-worth. You are also able to immerse yourself in the dreams and aspirations of other persons.

After I got married and had a family, I thought positively about the future of my wife and children. At the same time, I fostered stronger positive relations with my siblings and parents. In my dealing with relatives and friends, I try to be friendly, helpful, and optimistic about the future.

Trust

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Trust in God, Someone, or Something

After establishing a love of self and for others, it is necessary to have a trust in God, someone, or something. This cements the love you have for self and others.

Many people have trust in God or a supernatural being which is a motivation for self-love and love of others. When young, I learned that all humans were created in the image of God. With this faith, we are assured that all of our love and care will bring us the reward of heaven after we leave this world. Consequently, we pass our lives and think positive about the future, never give up, and look forward to life after death.

For those who don't trust in God, there is a trust in Allah, Buddha, or some political or economic system which will make our lives better. With a hope and faith that life will improve, people think positive about the future.

Have a Purpose in Life

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Have a Purpose in Life

After developing a love of self, love for others, and trust in a God or something, it is possible to have a purpose in life. This purpose in life might include being a good spouse, a role-model parent, patriotic citizen, successful businessperson, professional person, or being devoted to God. With a purpose in life, you are motivated to think positive and struggle to overcome difficulties while striving to be happy.

The most pessimistic and depressing times of my life occurred when not having a purpose in life. This happened right after I left the Navy, following a divorce, and during the immediate aftermath of an unplanned retirement.

Interests

On Lantao Island in the Hong Kong Area
On Lantao Island in the Hong Kong Area | Source

Have Interests and Hobbies

People who have an interest in life cannot help but have interests and hobbies. After I found my purpose in life as being a teacher, I became extremely interested in education and teaching and learning languages. I also found sports as a valuable teaching aid along with travel to foreign countries. My philosophy in teaching is that there are no bad students and everyone is able to learn.

Anticipation

A reunion with Friends
A reunion with Friends | Source

Looking Forward to Something

Finally, looking forward to something that brings happiness is a great aid to optimism and how to think positive. Anticipating a visit with a friend or a trip to an enchanting country cannot help but cheer one up and make you think positive. Since being retired and living in Thailand, I look forward every year or two to traveling back to the United States and visiting my siblings. I also look forward to discovering new ancestors in my genealogy research.

Conclusion

It isn't difficult to be optimistic and think positive as long as one first has a love for self and others and also has trust in a God or something significant. By finding a purpose in life, one can also think positive by having interests or hobbies and looking forward to happy occasions.

© 2018 Paul Richard Kuehn

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    • Paul Kuehn profile image
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      Paul Richard Kuehn 4 weeks ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      Paula, thank you for your wonderful comments. If I were not optimistic, it would be very difficult for me to keep living.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 4 weeks ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Hello Paul, I firmly believe we all need to work on optimism and positive thinking, each and every day. Distractions, disappointments and stress come at us without mercy. Without a personal goal of peace and happiness, we can easily be pulled down and disillusioned. This is a wonderful piece you have shared with us, Paul and I hear you loud and clear! Peace, Paula

    • Paul Kuehn profile image
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      Paul Richard Kuehn 4 weeks ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      Thank you very much for your supportive comment, Natalie. Yes, putting into practice what we preach is so important,

    • Natalie Frank profile image

      Natalie Frank 4 weeks ago from Chicago, IL

      This is written on a very important topic and though we are probably all aware of these points, putting them into practice is something else entirely. It is only through articles like yours that we will remember to keep trying. Thanks for writing this.

    • Paul Kuehn profile image
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      Paul Richard Kuehn 2 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      Thank you very much for your helpful comment, Denise.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 2 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      It is natural to be down on ourselves after difficult disappointments. What we do at that point, however, can make or break us for the rest of our lives!

    • Paul Kuehn profile image
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      Paul Richard Kuehn 2 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      What you say is so true when trying to be optimistic as a senior. Thank you for your comments.

    • Paul Kuehn profile image
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      Paul Richard Kuehn 2 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      Mary, thank you very much for your nice review of my article. If I didn't have something meaningful to do or look forward to, my life would be miserable.

    • threekeys profile image

      Threekeys 2 months ago from Australia

      You nicely laid out how we can maintain our glass to be half full. Like you noted it is important to have something to look foward to.

      I can see that trying to be optimistic when we are a senior, will be hard. I guess we had better make sure that we at least have one two people around who will shower us with tenderness and affection so that we at least feel nourished and happier with our lot in life that day;)

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 2 months ago from Brazil

      I don't think I've ever seen it so clearly marked out and the reasons why. Everyone talks about positive thinking but they never say why someone benefits from it or the steps to get there.

      The other steps, a belief in something, hobbies, and something to look forward to are crucial to a happy well-balanced life.

      A great reminder for all of us.

    • Paul Kuehn profile image
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      Paul Richard Kuehn 2 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      Thank you very much for your very supportive comment. I am very pleased that you found this article motivating and inspiring.

    • bhattuc profile image

      Umesh Chandra Bhatt 2 months ago from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India

      A nice article about how to be attentive towards one's life by creating interests and purposes rather than feeling miserable and weak. The writer has put forward his views very firmly and the whole thing is quite motivating and inspiring.

    • Paul Kuehn profile image
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      Paul Richard Kuehn 2 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      Thank you very much for your supportive comments, Louise. An active mind is extremely important and helps one stay positive.

    • Paul Kuehn profile image
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      Paul Richard Kuehn 2 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      Yes, Devika, with a positive mind, one can do anything. Thank you for commenting!

    • Paul Kuehn profile image
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      Paul Richard Kuehn 2 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      As long as you have a mission in life, I am sure that you will remain optimistic.

    • Paul Kuehn profile image
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      Paul Richard Kuehn 2 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      I am very pleased that you find my tips useful, Peggy. Yes, faith and friendships are very important.

    • Paul Kuehn profile image
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      Paul Richard Kuehn 2 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      Thank you for your appreciative comment, Larry.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 months ago from Oklahoma

      All solid tips. You have to find some manner of meaning and keep moving.

      Great read!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 2 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Those are good tips Paul. Hurdles are bound to come along but having faith along with friendships can make a big difference in how we deal with obstacles during our personal journey of life. Having some purpose also helps. So glad you found yours!

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      RoadMonkey 2 months ago

      Very good ideas. I am always optimistic but I certainly hope I don't lose that as I get older!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 2 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      A positive lifestyle allows for a happy lifestyle. I had no choice but to look at my life in a positive way. That taught me to be strong and with my positive mind I can do anything I want.

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      Louise Powles 2 months ago from Norfolk, England

      You've made so many interesting points here. Especially about having a purpose in life and having interests and hobbies. I always keep myself busy doing something. It keeps my mind active.

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