Another recommendation is to keep a daily 'that went well' journal. Here you write down three things that went well that day, but you also say why. I think this method is useful for natural pessimists like me, because it demonstrates how your own actions play a role in good fortune.
Pessimists and optimists have an opposite thinking or explanatory style. I have to admit I was well schooled in the pessimistic view for most of my early childhood on. For example:
Something Bad Happens
Pessimistic Thinking Optimistic Thinking
Personal: It was all my fault Personal: It wasn't my fault
Permanent: It will last forever Temporary: It will pass
Pervasive: It affects my whole life Pervasiveness: It's a small part of my life
Luckily, you can train yourself to think differently, but it is hard. Marty Seligman's book "Learned Optimism" is a good start on the path of positive psychology.
I try to write in my gratitude journal frequently, but it seems difficult to keep up at times. I started this gratitude journal in 2004, before I knew about much positive psychology. Here are 25 entries from 2012.
- I'm grateful to have a job that's stable & uses my skills.
- I'm grateful for my Kindle.
- I'm grateful for my friends' support.
- I'm grateful I have E, my sister, & M. to talk to.
- I'm grateful I got a week off & got to travel to L.A. & see J.
- I'm grateful that my house is clean.
- I'm grateful that I went to Maine yesterday & spent time with N, G, & Z.
- I'm grateful for S's art space.
- I'm grateful for Kukala the dog.
- I'm grateful to be meditating frequently.
- I'm grateful that I get to work again this summer at the Belmont Public Schools.
- I'm grateful that it is the last day of school & I have the summer off.
- I'm grateful for my flowers & plants.
- I'm grateful for able bodied limbs.
- I'm grateful that I got to go to Bermuda & swim in a pool with dolphins.
- I'm grateful that my friends came to the Barn Bash with me.
- I'm grateful that I have an intern to help me at work.
- I'm grateful that I did some major cleaning & purging in August.
- I'm grateful for J.B.'s friendship.
- I'm grateful I feel confident at work.
- I'm grateful that the recent storm did not flood my building.
- I'm grateful for the sun today.
- I'm grateful for a gathering of friends last night.
- I'm grateful for future plans.
- I"m grateful for my blog!
Swam with dolphins! Check +