Become an Optimist

So you want to be happy? To do so you are going to have to fight evolution, your brain, and everything you have ever learned if life. Well, it's not quite that bad but you do have to work at this stuff.

Because our brain is wired negatively - to worry about everything so that you are alert to danger - you have to re-wire it with positive thoughts. And it can be done. 50% of worry is hereditary, the other 50% is from life's learnings so these can be ‘unlearned’.

Positive psychology has been around for a while now, although it has only recently sprung forward as the new way to fix broken brains. Norman Vincent Peale was a Protestant minister who wrote a book called the Power of Positive Thinking in 1952 which for me was the start of my journey to becoming an optimist.

Here are some of the things that he encourages you to employ to change your brain's negative pattern of thoughts, followed by my take on what he meant;

·        Estimate your abilities and raise it be 10% - if you raise your goals too high you will be disappointed when you don't reach your target but do aim a bit higher than what your brain tells you.

·        Make a list of positive and peaceful thoughts and pass them through your mind throughout the day - keeping 'happy' thoughts in our brain form a pattern of behaviour.

·        Audibly repeat positive words throughout the day - use positive words in your conversations rather than negative ones.

·        Adopt an "I don't believe in defeat" attitude - never give up and keep telling yourself that you can.

·        Do not build obstacles in your mind - your brain will want to place barriers to protect you, ignore your brain and go with your gut instinct instead. (Which is actually your brain by the way).

·        Stamp indelibly in your mind a mental picture of you succeeding - visualisation is a powerful tool, go through whatever you want to succeed at in your mind and you will ignite your subconscious to work for you.

·        Start each day by affirming positive, successful, peaceful and happy attitudes and your day will tend to be happy - ignore the negative thoughts that come into your brain first thing in the morning, change them to positive ones.

Norman Vincent Peale knew about positive psychology long before it had a name. He knew that you could change your brain's pattern of behaviour because that is all it is, a pattern of behaviour.