Spontaneous Optimism: Proven Strategies for Health, Prosperity & Happiness (1998) by psychologists Mary Ann Troiani and Michael W. Mercer makes a case that optimism is a learned skill. This tome suggests three things you can do to enhance your optimism.
First, adopt a language that connotates positivity. Straighten your body before your emotions. Keep a straight body posture, take big steps, and walk quickly with your shoulders back and your head up. “Pessimistic people walk slowly with small steps and their heads down.”
Second, be on thought watch. Negative thoughts are more likely to contribute to a pessimistic view of life. Change your tone of voice to be cheerful, enthusiastic, and full of purpose. Let your voice echo these sentiments. Avoid talking to people who tend to have a pessimistic outlook—talking to someone who is also down or cynical about life can make you feel worse.
Third, use upbeat or happier words. Call a ‘problem’ a ‘challenge.’ ‘Losses’ are just ‘roadblocks.’ The authors note, “Positive thoughts and behavior have a positive impact on the brain’s biochemistry … They boost your serotonin levels and signal that you’re happy. Your brain will catch up to you.”
Idea for Impact: Deliberate practice of empowering body language can shift your mindset and moods. Optimism, imagery, and self-talk do work.