General Question

carolineschneider's avatar

How do you change from being a pessimist to being an optimist?

Asked by carolineschneider (16points) November 7th, 2010

An optimistic approach to life, according to many is more rewarding. I think that’s probably true, as that sort of approach means your are less stressed, for example say you have an exam approaching in a week’s time and you are optimistic you’ll be less stressed than a pessimistic person. Are you predisposed to be one or the other? How easy is it to change? How do you go from thinking a glass is half empty to thinking a glass is half full?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

21 Answers

Serevaetse's avatar

ok. first of all, look up ‘the law of attraction’
second of all, the glass is ALWAYS full. even if there’s only a drop of water, there’s still air in there.
and third; being happy and optimistic is a lifestyle. You need to almost practice it. Know that there’s always going to be those bad days, but also know that you can find happy and positive reasons every day in your life.
Trust me, it’s so hard and difficult. I have to fight with depression and sometimes I’ll have super low times where I just flat-out want to kill myself. But I find reasons why living life is so fulfilling and amazing.

I know you can do it (:

Coloma's avatar

Optimism/pessimism is strongly correlated to inate temprament with extroverts being more optimistically oriented than introverts. However, this is not etched in stone and one can make a lot of interpersonal changes by becoming more self aware and catching/replacing negative thought patterns with positive substitutions.

Our thoughts create our feelings and the thoght/feeling connection creates our reality as we know it.

For instance…being more optimistic by nature ( as well as an extrovert ) today is a rainy windy day and as the near eternal optimist I am excited about staying indoors in my pj’s and making a nice sunday dinner, and having no obligations that require me to leave the house. :-)

A pessimist might just complain about the rain and see all the negatives such as it preventing them from outdoor activities or other such things.

Regardless of nature one can choose to NURTURE a more positvie potlook, employ creative thinking and work on self awareness.

Practice makes perfect!

poisonedantidote's avatar

You need hard proof that you where wrong to be a pessimist.

Very few people start off as pessimists, people start of as optimists and become pessimistic after they are given a reason, or, lots of small reasons.

I would suggest you look at a thing called confirmation bias. and ask your self if you have been using confirmation bias to confirm your pessimistic preconceptions.

You should also look in to how logic works, and how to form logical ideas, just so you can rule out being a pessimist for reasons that are not quite real.

How easy is it to change? more or less impossible. You can maybe find a quik fix by deluding your self some how. Denial, for example, is a way some people deal with problems to remain happy. But that is no real solution.

Personally, I don’t think the glass is half full or half empty. I think, the glass is totally empty, not ony that, but it has a crack in it, and that little residue in the bottom is just really saliva, from when the waiter spat in my drink when i was not looking. and yet, im a very happy guy.

I often see people ask on here, things like “how often are you unhappy” and “are you happy”. and i never answer them, because all i could say is that i never have problems and that im very happy, and all that would do is annoy those who do have problems. but its the truth, 99.999% of the time im a happy guy. yet, im a pessimist, a cynic, im skeptical, suspitious, and a bit of a nihilist. Its not like optimism has the monopoly on happyness, there is a lot to be said for the dark side too.

Maybe you are predisposed to be an extraverted and optimistic happy person, or maybe you are predisposed to be a dark introverted cynic, either way, its up to you to find a way to live with it.

If you are an optimist, and always expect the best, even tiny problems will make you unhappy, and if you are a pessimist, you will maybe eventually find happiness among the petty problems, and even be able to deal with some big ones.

bobbinhood's avatar

Whenever I notice that I am complaining, I choose to stop and look for things to be thankful for. Cultivating gratefulness makes a world of difference in my attitude.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

There is absolutely no way to convert from pessimism to optimism. It’s just impossible.

Coloma's avatar


LOL Assuming you are joking, if not, well..still funny!

DominicX's avatar

I don’t mean to be pessimistic, but I find that this is one of those things that is difficult to change. As others have said, it’s almost akin to changing from being an introvert to an extrovert, again, very difficult. Most cases of “forced optimism” I see are phony to the highest degree and not true optimism.

I happen to be an optimist for the most part. I also find that optimism is greatly misunderstood. People think being an optimist means you pretend things are good when they’re not, you sugar-coat everything, and essentially you’re whole life is built and ignorance and denial. Winston Churchill had a good quote on optimism vs. pessimism: “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

So, in other words, I don’t pretend everything is fluffy and rainbows when it’s not. I don’t deny reality. What I do is instead of giving up when something is wrong or negative, I see what I can do to make it matter and I put effort into it. Pessimism I find is crushing and self-hindering. Optimism on the other hand allows for change to be made and problems to be solved and not utter despair when things do not succeed.

It might be hard to “become” an optimist. But you can replace negative thinking with positive thinking. Take a step back and see where the negative thinking is getting you. Is it making you happy or making things worse? See what happens when you use positive thinking. Is it solving any problems or does it seem forced? Only experimentation will tell…

Coloma's avatar


Very well said!

Yes, optimism is not about denial and delusional false happiness, it is simply the difference between having a defeatist attitude and a can do, overcome, attitude.

Optimists perservere and pessimists just lay down and cry.

daytonamisticrip's avatar

Anytime something bad happens try to think of something good that comes from it.
Like one time some kids dumped hot chocolate on me and called me a cunt but as bad as that was good came from it because my brother helped me out and showed he cared.
Just try to calm down, relax, and find something good that comes from it.

desertr0se's avatar

Make sure you take your magnesium as it affects your mood.
Count your blessings.

rooeytoo's avatar

A pessimist is what an optimist calls a realist. I am a realist. I see what is and then I decide if I should a) try to make it better or b) ignore it and let fate determine the outcome.

You decide, it is like the serenity prayer

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

If you don’t like the reference to the god creature then substitute the phrase

I hope I can find within myself the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

MissAnthrope's avatar

You can totally change your worldview, it just takes self-awareness and a drive to change. I think the easiest way to start is to try to find the positive in even the shittiest situations. There are very few awful things that I’ve gone through that I can’t find at least one good thing that came out of it. Focusing on that, the positive, feels a lot better than dwelling in the negative. You can’t change it, anyway, you can only move forward. No sense in wasting time dwelling on stuff you can’t change.

Sometimes easier said than done, though, I know.

Giving of yourself helps a lot, as does taking the time to be grateful. Studies show that people who consciously experience gratitude in their daily lives are happier and healthier people.

wundayatta's avatar

What is a pessimist? Is it someone who always thinks the worst is going to happen? Is it someone who appears not to believe in themselves? Is it someone who always says defeatist things? Is it anything else? I’m sure there’s more.

I’m not sure I believe that pessimism really exists—at least, not at the level of personality. I’ve had a big struggle with depression in the last few years. There were times when I was ready to give it all up because I didn’t think I could handle the pain any more. But inside that, I think I always had a glimmer of hope.

I remember being certain I was no good to anyone. I felt like I had no talent, or even if I did, no one appreciated it, and even if they appreciated it, they were wrong. They were misguided and fools if they saw anything in me.

I desperately wanted to be seen as having something of worth. My problem was that if I wasn’t a figure with the stature of a Nobel peace prize winner, then I had failed and was worthless. I knew this was unrealistic, and I still couldn’t shake it.

Yet, even with all that pessimism; even with setting utterly impossible goals so that I could be sure to fail no matter how good I was; even so, I think that I had a secret inner optimist. I mean, I really wanted to do the impossible even though I was incapable of it. I wanted to be a wise person who helped people. I wanted to be published in major media markets. I secretly believed these things were possible.

Why? Because somehow they gave me hope. These ideas; these hopes somehow gave me hope even though I knew I was a failure and could not reach them no matter what I did.

When I was able to let go of the absolute need to do those things in order to feel like I was a success, I think the optimist in me was able to start reaching for the surface of my conscious awareness. It was there all the time, but it was drowning beneath mental quick sand.

Maybe it’s not true, but I believe everyone is an optimist. I hang out with a lot of depressed people—people who have all been in the hospital for mental illness; people who have all thought too much about suicide and who several have actually tried.

When we are together in that room, something happens. When we’re with people who understand, I guess, we stop having to pretend to be happy people. We stop having to feel like we need to meet other people’s expectations. We don’t have to fight being Debbie Downer any more. We can talk about what’s going on, and then we can laugh at it, and you know what they say about laughter.

Well, I know that not only is it the best medicine, but it can also save your life. I believe it saved mine. When you let your hair down; when you stop trying to be something you aren’t, you become the thing you are, and inside, you are optimistic. You have to be. You wouldn’t be alive, otherwise.

So I don’t think a lot of stuff about messing with our minds and attitudes and making ourselves believe we are happy or optimistic works for me. I know it works for some people, but not for me. What works for me is to stop pretending; and to feel it is ok to be myself. That relaxes me and lets my optimism start to rise to the surface.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

I’m pretty optimistic about my pessimism.

Coloma's avatar

It does exist is what many researchers say is the foundation of the ‘cancer personality.’

Repressed anger, negative emotion, crappy attitude, Eeeyore gloominess has far reaching consequences beyond the obvious.

The mind/body connection is huge and while I don’t beleive in blaming someone for an illness once it is intact there is mega truth in this.

YARNLADY's avatar

I suggest counseling. A good psychologist can help you discover tips and ideas you would never have thought of on your own.

Self_Consuming_Cannibal's avatar

Lose touch with reality.

rooeytoo's avatar

@Self_Consuming_Cannibal – ga, another suggestion would be to immediately cease and desist watching the world news. Jeez is there anything more depressing!!!

Coloma's avatar


I checked out of all media and prime time TV after the 9 /11 scene.

The slow fear drip of media is very bad for ones health.
10 years of no media influences, it can be done and for the betterment of all. ;-)

mattbrowne's avatar

Consider setbacks as temporary events.

Self_Consuming_Cannibal's avatar

@rooeytoo The only thing I find more depressing to watch than the news is seeing myself in the shower. LOL

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther