How to stay (get) OPTOMISTIC?

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by Bambi, Jan 7, 2007.

  1. Bambi

    Bambi New Member

    I joined that website where old classmates sign up and can find old friends. After being a member for several years a girl (now woman of course) who lived next door to me in my parents first home and went to school (a few years behind me) suddenly joined and contacted me.

    I was REALLY happy to hear from her as I'm short on friends..long story..and was looking forward to catching up on our lives and where we've ended up to date. She's had a much "livlier" life than I've had in some ways, is happily married, has a grown son and a grandchild and one on the way. She and her husband are active and do alot of things together, recreationally and with friends. Her life sounds pretty eventful anyway.

    I jumped in and tried to fill her in on about 48 years of my life, the highlights and low lights..and due to not having alot of people to talk to personally these days, I guess I told too much in too long emails.

    In any case I guess I DID have more negative and unpleasant things that have happened than I really realized and they obviously over whelmed the good things in what I wrote to her.

    After only a few emails back and forth she wrote me an email the other day saying that...well reading me the riot act about being too negative and how I should lighten up in all aspects of my life, reduce my stress, quit smoking (DUH!) and in general get a life. She's had some surgeries but has not lived with chronic pain, so I don't expect her to really understand how it does limit you in so many ways, and yes, how you do at times get 'down in the dumps'.

    I admit I am a pretty negative person at times. I've had a lot of negative things, losses etc in my life and at 58 now, it's
    hard to feel like Mary Poppins or expect that the next thing will necessarily be the best. I also think that I find it more beneficial to expect the worse (the opposite of my old self) and then when the best happens I'm TOTALLY happy about it and surprised. A negative way of looking at things by itself.

    If there IS a really OPTOMISTIC person or persons on here, HOW do you keep it up. I am good at it for periods of time and then find myself once again looking at the glass as half empty instead of half full. Like I said, history has led me to
    believe this is generally the case at least in MY life.

    I am REALLY serious about this. What do you DO or TELL yourself or??? to be OPTIMISTIC MOST of the time? I will appreciate any ideas on the subject!!!
    P.S. They used to call me Smiley when I was young and well into my 30's. I don't think anyone would think to call me that now!
  2. kholmes

    kholmes New Member

    We're neighbors; I live in Albuquerque.

    Despite being miserably disabled with CFS, I seem to be able to keep up an optimistic streak a lot of the time. I think most of it is inherited, partly through a mother who shares some of your background: she was also born in Maryland and had polio as a girl. She spent her whole life in a wheelchair, but she was incurably optimistic. She is dead now, but I think she passed a lot of her spirit on to me.

    Other than that, they say there are lots of ways to become more optimistic. Some people do CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy). There are lots of good books out there on positive thinking. There's an excellent book called "Feeling Good" by a David Burns that is helpful. The idea is to slowly train yourself to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Admittedly, this is a lot easier said than done.

    I've gotten into the habit of reading something inspirational or uplifting every morning and often right before bed. Trying to do things for others helps. Counting my blessings does as well. Cultivating relationships with friends and family, and working on my spiritual life have also been important parts of this for me.

    I think Fibro and CFS, because of their mysterious nature, give us more challenges than almost any other illness on the planet, and I wish you luck in working on optimism.

    [This Message was Edited on 01/07/2007]
  3. Lynna62

    Lynna62 New Member

    Hi Bambi, nice to meet you. Optimism is such a tough one. Especially for us. Kholmes gave you such good advice and many wonderful suggestions. I have enjoyed reading today's posts by jlh here on the chit chat board too, they were very inspirational to me, read them if you haven't already.

    One thing that I have had to work on personally (not always successfully) is not putting too much of myself out there right away. I think because of my tendency to isolate I sometimes find myself opening up too quickly to others and sometimes it can be a bit much for people who don't understand me or my illness. I think I just overwhelm them.

    Mostly I try not to take myself too seriously when I get in a funk. Watching or reading something funny helps a bit too.

    My all-time favorite thing to do when I am not feeling optimistic is to borrow a friends child/baby for a few hours. Seeing the world through their eyes is such good therapy. Or I will take my dogs out to an open field and just watch them run and play.

    I don't have much advice but I can offer you my sympathy.

  4. hugs4evry1

    hugs4evry1 New Member

    There are times when it's harder to remain optimistic when life throws you so many challenges, and we all have them.

    The key to my optimism is just being greatful for the things I DO have...

    The world can fall apart all around me, but my husband loves me, we have a lovely home, our daughter is here where she needs to be (mentally disabled and I've watched her go downhill the last 10 months) and our son is fine in California in the Air Force.

    If I need more, (maybe my knees are killing me) at least I can walk today, or rest in a comfortable chair....see what I mean?

    I believe that being optimistic is a choice....and each time you feel yourself being 'glass half empty' fill it back up by telling yourself (and reminding yourself) of all the good things you do have.

    I think we all know how hard this can be, but you can do it too. Focus on the positve and I think you'll learn to deal with the negative too.

    And don't forget, there are people who sugar coat the negative so people will "think" their life is wonderful.


    Nancy B
  5. Bambi

    Bambi New Member

    a real heads up and made me think about alot of things! I do appreciate it so much. But not just because you've reminded me to start doing more of what I did so faithfully for a long time but got away from, but also for making me realize I am NOT as negative as I thought I was. LOL!

    I also have the problem of letting what people "say" to me get me down too easily. She thought she was just being helpful and "telling it like she saw it" as she said in the next email after I replied.

    Fact is I DO have a lot more optimism than I'm giving myself credit for. How could I not after making it through the last eight years since I got severe with the FM and since then having been diagnosed with Osteoporosis, Arthritis, Degenerative discs with bone spurs, Raynauds, COPD (already have severe chronic Asthma), IBS and a few other things!!

    I really thought about it and I DO smile and laugh a lot..I do keep up with friends and relatives even if it's mostly by email. Since I got good pain control I do SO many things in my house that I couldn't for a long time..have gotten back SO much of my ability to function for which I am eternally grateful!

    I LOVE people and try to make them feel better any chance I get..even if it's just telling some beautiful (or not so) older lady (like me) that they look "Great today!". And I'm always up for listening to someone that needs a shoulder.

    I've cut out (a long time ago) any negative reading materials, movies or people that made me feel bad or seemed to drag me down. I have started two new hobbies in the last couple of years also.

    Since it's taken (so far) over two years for my husband to finish a minor remodel on our house (paint, new floor tile, new countertops and that sort of thing) and things like a new bathroom cabinet and sink..I've gotten down about living out of boxes. But that's all to where I can finally see a light at the end of the tunnel so it's going to be FINISHED and SO much better soon.

    I did do the workbooks on cognitive
    training and read lots of self help books several years ago and will get them out and go over them for sure! Great ideas you all gave me!! Thank you all soooo much!

    And you were all right that maybe her life isn't so perfect either. Not that I'd wish her anything NOT great, but noone can really judge or figure out someone they haven't seen in SO many years by a handfull of emails.
    I especially took note of the comments about all THAT aspect of all this too!

    I grew up with teachers and others telling me I was "too sensitive" and I know I always have been. I'm not sure I could change that a whole lot but I can improve it with effort. Where one said their mother was so optimistic about life, my mother was NOT. I loved my mother and miss her terribly, but she WAS always expecting the worst. She was forever giving me come backs "in case someone says say this..." sort of thing. I eliminated that from my life years ago.

    I DO get down over my illnesses, my husband's health problems too and the fact that our married daughter also has FM and many of the side symptoms
    related. It keeps her from being around much and keeps us both from being as supportive of each other as we might be. I'm going to work on that also.

    I just surely appreciate all the suggestions and am going to work on all of it, as well as give myself more credit for the good things I do do and have more GRATITUDE for the things I have (people, family and these boards!) You are all wonderful and it is SO appreciated that you took your time to reply to my question!! I hope you all have a great day and as painfree and happy a day as possible!! Sincerely, Bambi