Remaining Optimistic in Hard Times

Optimism is positivism at its best. It is a positive outlook to life and the world around us. It is a view where nothing is insurmountable or unachievable. The word ‘positive’ is the mantra, and applies to the present and the future. Optimistic people are those that have such positive viewpoints and take all difficulties in their stride.

What happens in hard times such as recessions, personal bereavement, or loss? How can any person be optimistic through such periods in life when everything seems to be falling apart? Yes, it is difficult but it boils down to the use of adequate self-control. The Latin term ‘optimum’ means ‘best’, therefore indicating making the best out of any situation.

When enduring hardship, it is easy to be pulled into the vortex of pessimism, i.e., cynicism, gloom and distrust. It is easier to believe the worst, than use positive willpower to believe in the best.

How to remain optimistic in hard times is best explained through different examples as every situation can be diametrically opposite to any other.

Optimism during Recession

Recession can be both at an industry level and at a personal level, though the former type does have an impact on the latter as well. As businesses are in the slump, so are earnings, thereby making it difficult to meet expenses. A person can use self-control on his/her purchases and thereby maintain his expenses. Focus could be on purchasing essentials only and all other desires and indulgences can be postponed for better times.

Optimism during Bereavement

Here, optimism is required for a very emotional scenario. Loss of a family member or friend presents hard times for the survivor. However, there are two options for the survivor – to either wallow in his/her grief for a prolonged period, or apply self-control on his / her emotions and move on with life. An optimistic outlook is one where the death of a person may have been for the best, especially if the victim was ailing.

Optimism during ill health

A person who falls ill either can push himself towards quick recovery through positive thinking or can further degenerate with negative thoughts. For example, Suzy found a small growth on her leg and became frantic when it remained for several months. She had convinced herself that it was cancerous and she was going to die. Had she shown optimism, she could have convinced herself that it can be treated with adequate medical intervention.

Optimism during Failure

Life is full of successes and failures. While successes make us feel on top of the world, a single failure sends us down in the dumps. The art of being optimistic during failure is one of the toughest things to do. It is extremely difficult to ‘keep the head high’ in such circumstances. However, it can be done through self-control and discipline. For example, an athlete does not win every race he/she participates in. Losing one race does not mean that he will never compete again. This loss strengthens his resolve to perform better and succeed next time. This kind of affirmation is optimism, and is a form of self-control.

Control of Negative Thoughts

To be optimistic in hard times, a person must control his/her negative thoughts. As thoughts are internal to a person it has to be self-controlled and cannot be monitored from outside. Negative thinking leads to pessimism, which makes a person narrow in his outlook.

Optimism in hard times is best described as the light at the end of the tunnel. While in the tunnel there is darkness, but there is bound to be light once the tunnel has been traversed.

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