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Gratitude and Optimism

"Exercises and practices which increase and maintain optimism include expressing gratitude, using more positive language and focusing on sharing happiness.  Practising meditation, yoga, exercise and spending time in beautiful places also enhance a feeling of optimism."  From "Optimism: The How and Why" by Victor Perton

Gratitude is one of the underpinnings of optimism.  While striving to reach our goals, it’s important to feel grateful for what we have today.

The science on this is clear. Respected university studies have shown that habits of being consciously thankful make people more optimistic for an extended time and more optimistic about their lives in general. 

Writing a few sentences each week or day is enough.

The American army uses a “Hunt for the good stuff” training exercise in which soldiers are encouraged to search for and focus on what they can be grateful for.

Action: Take a piece of paper or start a new document on your computer and list the things you are grateful for. Keep it somewhere easily found and go back to that list in a week and see what you can add to it.

Victor Perton

Gratitude is one of the underpinnings of optimism.  While striving to reach our goals, it’s important to feel grateful for what we have today.

Practise Gratitude

Paul Levins

“Optimism relies on gratitude. And gratitude is refreshed by optimism."

Dr Freya MacMillan

"Gratitude makes me optimistic. Every day I wake, I am thankful. I am grateful for my health, my beautiful family and the opportunities that I’ve been so fortunate to have. I lost my brother when I was 19, he was only 21. He was healthy and happy but didn’t get very long here. For these reasons, I am optimistic in all that I do. I will make sure I live my life to the full in memory of those that did not get the chance."

Bruce Everett

"Being grateful in the present helps me to be optimistic in a great-full future."

Rae Snape, Headteacher

“Gratitude opens one's heart and makes one appreciate the minutiae and detail of life. This openness is the foundation to spotting opportunity and this is the foundation for optimism."

Professor Oliver Jones, Associate Dean, RMIT

"For me, optimism is being grateful for all the things you do have rather than all the things you don’t; and for all the times you succeeded rather than when things went wrong. If you always think you are going to fail, then you probably will, but if you think positively and learn from setbacks rather than get distracted by them, then the sky really is the limit."

Sally Branson, Director at The Suite Set

"For me, optimism has been passed down from my grandmother to my mother. My mum is relentlessly positive, and it is a lovely family trait. Is it nature or nurture people ask? I say - Optimism is a habit, a learned behaviour. Optimism is a choice and a daily practice that stems from being grateful."

Dr Kelly-Ann Allen, Educational Psychologist

"Optimism is more than just thinking that the glass is half full. It's about knowing that the glass is enough"

Curt Fowler, Values Driven Results

Optimism and gratitude are the keys to a happy and successful life. They are antidotes to stress, greed and fear. Whenever you feel any of those negative emotions coming on you replace those thoughts with gratitude. Your gratitude will lead to optimism which leads to happiness which leads to success.”

John Bryant

"I am filled with gratitude for your work, inspired by your leadership, and optimistic about our course for the future.”

Louisa Keck

"What makes me optimistic are finding the small pockets of kindness and good in day to day life. Appreciating the moments that make me smile and the ones that take my breath away. Feeling gratitude for the people in my life and excited about the life I get to create with them."

Pablo Cilotta, IACCM

"My optimism and happiness are enhanced through expressing gratitude and being passionate when learning new things, meeting new people, building relationships based on trust, confidence and building bridges."

Sir David Attenborough

"while there are people like you putting your heads together, people like you getting together and spending time together, it does seem to me, as an onlooker, that the world has a cause for optimism and cause for gratitude."

Porendra Pratap

“Gratitude for what nature has given me makes me optimistic. Very simple good things happening to me in my daily journey of life make me happy and grateful and optimistic."

Dr. Paul P. Baard, organizational psychologist

"Optimism often follows reflection and gratitude. A winter lull can be an opportunity to regain perspective on what really matters."

From an article "Boosting energy and optimism during a winter lull" 

Alesha Printz, General Manager - Victoria Division, Engineers Australia

"Optimism and gratitude go together hand in hand, like two sides of the same coin. Gratitude is the practice of looking back and being thankful. Optimism is the practice of looking forward and being hopeful."

Tony Holmwood

 "Rather than being consumed by problems, an optimist views the world through a completely different lens, one focused on exploring opportunity. An optimist expresses gratitude often."

Elaine Ingalls, Journalist

"I believe that optimism is a choice even when things aren't working out in your favor. Having an attitude of gratitude makes it easier to get through the challenging tasks of daily life and difficult seasons."

 Chris Reddy, Leadership Coach

"What makes me optimistic?  It's pretty simple. It's all about appreciating the small things, accepting the setbacks, grasping opportunities and being grateful for the family and friends in my life."

Mike Fairclough, Principal of West Rise Junior School

"My optimism is rooted in gratitude for the life that I already have and for my future life imagined and intentionally created."

Dr Suzy Green, Founder & CEO, The Positivity Institute

“Whilst the scientific community now better understands the key ingredients of a flourishing life and a flourishing world include the cultivation of gratitude, compassion and forgiveness - it is optimism and hopefulness that will help us sustain our energy and motivation to create better lives and a better world.  We’re not talking about unrealistic or rose-coloured optimism but optimism that supports persistence in the face of negativity, resistance and adversity.”

Diane Kilkenny, IACCM

"What makes me optimistic?  That random acts of human kindness come from the places you least expect them at the times you need them most!"

Neville Christie

"The daily practice of gratitude not only fosters optimism that leads to creativity, but it is the wellspring of innovation that creates a better world for all."

Daily Gratitude Reflections Optimism and Innovation

Janice Gobey, Artist and Headhunter

"Gratitude creates a sense of wellbeing and optimismHope and resilience guide you through the tough times. Empathy and kindness create a better and more optimistic world."

Rebecca Jarvis

"Optimism and gratitude are a powerful combination. When combined we can seize the day and look forward to a future of infinite opportunities."

Jack Canfield and Janet Switzer

"A powerful exercise for building your appreciation muscle is to take 7 minutes every morning to write down all the things you appreciate in your life. I recommend this as a daily ritual for the rest of your life. When you actively seek the positive, you become more appreciative and optimistic, which is a requirement for attracting more good and creating the life of your dreams. Look for the good...."

"Developing an attitude of gratitude and appreciating the people you lead returns tremendous benefits. Scientists are now documenting the health benefits from practicing gratitude and are finding that those who consistently acknowledge and thank others have lower levels of stress, are more optimistic, and are less frequently drawn into anger, bitterness, and frustration...."

"Begin cultivating your attitude of gratitude, and over time you’ll not only transform your perspective but you’ll also attract other like-minded, optimistic people into your life and your circle of influence."

Dr Tammra Warby,  Author, “The General Practice Exam Handbook.”

“Optimism to me turns a complete roadblock into a temporary setback.   My case for optimism is that as a living expression of hope for the future, it will pull you through the toughest times of your life.  Many times in healthcare and through natural disasters, I have witnessed how optimists respond to the worst thing that has ever happened to them.  It is a deeply inspiring and admirable quality to view in action. 

“Optimists firstly accept the reality of the situation and immediately begin workshopping the problem to solve it. They always ask, ‘What’s next?’.  Despite how hard it is to practise gratitude through pain, they remain appreciative of all that is still good in their life.  Whether facing devastation or illness, the optimist is already planning their adaptation or recovery. In the midst of the darkest times, they still bring their humour to the situation and find the lighter side. And they don’t give up, emerging from the other end as proof their hope was warranted.”

Terry Crews, actor, former NFL player

I stay positive by actually choosing things to be thankful for. An attitude of gratitude literally gives you energy. But I also found that I used to be the opposite. And my wife will tell you, ’cause we’ve been married 28 years, she knows the other side. I was not a nice person to live with. And when I saw, personally, the differences in my life from once I was a pessimist to the switch to being an optimist, it’s like night and day. Instead of looking for what’s wrong with everything, I started to look for what was right with everything. And you start to realise that you only get where your habits take you. So, the way you think gets you what you want in life. If you think everybody is against you, if you think you’re not going to get something, usually you don’t. And it kinda becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. But when I started shifting and saying, “OK, I’ma go into this place like they want to see me” and say “Hey! Wait! Things are going to be better.” All of a sudden, things got better.

Victor Perton

"I get a lot of positive correspondence and mentions for sharing my thoughts and the thoughts of others on the benefits of optimism.  Delivering one of my workshops in prison, a murderer told me why he had come to my workshop.  His cellmate had come to a previous workshop and had a copy of my book - the cellmate now keeps a gratitude journal, reads one page of my book daily and lifts the spirits of his fellow prisoners.    This prisoner wanted a deeper dose of that optimism directly from me.  You can imagine how good that made me feel - changing one life through my commitment to spreading optimism."

Lynn Saylor, United Against Opioid Abuse

Gratitude boosts positive emotions such as optimism, enthusiasm, joy and happiness. Grateful people tend to be more connected to their community, more helpful, appreciative, compassionate and giving.

Sherriff Matt Joski

We hear a great deal these days about following the science, and there is in fact real science which supports the physiological benefits of gratitude. Some of these are:

  • increased happiness and positive mood
  • more satisfaction with life
  • less materialistic
  • less likely to experience burnout
  • better physical health
  • better sleep
  • less fatigue
  • lower levels of cellular inflammation
  • greater resiliency
  • encouraging the development of patience, humility, and wisdom

If all of these benefits weren’t enough, there is an additional benefit to gratitude. It is optimism, and in the world of positive psychology there is no greater source of healthy physical or mental wellbeing than optimism. It is stronger and more sustaining than any vaccine will ever be against the many “viruses” we face in our lives.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Editorial Board

"We must dig for gratitude. Researchers are uncovering links between feeling grateful and expressing gratitude and other positive emotions, including joy and optimism. This can also correlate with a greater sense of purpose in life; higher quality, mutually supportive relationships; and lower levels of negative emotions including shame and depression."

Dylan Cornelius

"What makes me optimistic? Gratitude and collaborating with empowered, optimistic people who are in action moving toward their dreams."

Read More on the "How to" of Optimism and Gratitude

Rich Brandt in Having a team of optimists requires more than wishful thinking: Rich Brandt

Be intentional about being grateful so that it becomes strong enough to counteract the negativity bias. One year, my wife and I kept a huge glass candy jar in our living room with a pen and Post-It pad next to it. Every day we would write down one or two things that happened that day that brought us joy. With each passing day it made a real difference in our awareness of how good we had it.

Also, try expressing gratitude to others more frequently. Use your smartphone to send text messages of appreciation to others. This will get the happy neurochemicals flowing with a “twofer” benefit -- it will improve your attitude and improve your relationships at the same time.

Kira M. Newman, the Greater Good Science Center

Luckily, research suggests that optimism is something we can cultivate—by practicing gratitude, envisioning our “Best Possible Self,” or doing certain types of therapy. And that makes the future look a little bit rosier.

in How Optimism May Keep You Alive Longer

Jill Hannam

"Sit quietly and list the things you are grateful for… the things that make you happy, the people you love. What is it about them that makes you happy? Spend five minutes a day on this.  I promise you that when you are doing this, it is impossible to feel anything other than happiness, joy, optimism and thankfulness. What’s not to love about all those feelings! Sit and do this every time any unhelpful feelings come knocking at your door!"                

William Vanderbloemen

"Giving thanks is the doorway to true optimism."

"Studies have shown that a spirit of gratitude and regularly giving thanks can lower our stress, improve our relationships, even improve our overall healthA person who is grateful is motivated to face challenges with optimism. With that, they keep the momentum of motivation going. Perhaps more than any other, a grateful person is a motivated person, and the key to sustained motivation may be regularly giving thanks." 

Gary D. Moyer, Author of Opting for Optimism

"God tells us that He wants us to adopt gratitude as a way of life. Why? I suspect that as the creator of the human mind, God was aware of the benefits of gratitude long before the psychologists were. Being a God of love, He wants us to enjoy those benefits. And imagine how good it makes God look when His people are happy, optimistic, well balanced emotionally, healthy, and have positive relationships."

Mini Dewan

"Gratitude means a feeling of appreciation, thankfulness, counting your blessings and considering your smallest achievements as a success. It enriches humans with optimism by allowing to shift focus from what we lack to little pleasures and joys we actually have. It has some really positive and productive affects on us which includes a happy mental and physical state, less stress and a positive aura."

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