Strategies for Optimism



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Strategies for enhancing
positive illusions, hope, optimism and positive expectations

Positive illusions

When thinking about past experience, focus predominantly on details of positive events.

Psychologically, ring-fence areas where you have poor skills or personal characteristics that you have but do not like. Define these as exceptions to your predominantly competent and attractive self-image.


For any situation in which you attribute adversity to intrinsic, global stable attributes identify the Adversity, the pessimistic Beliefs, and Consequent negative mood change on a 10-point scale.

Distract yourself from adversity and rumination by saying STOP, by snapping yourself with an elastic band, or by focusing on another activity or object.

Distance yourself from the pessimistic explanation by noting that there are other explanations.

Dispute the pessimistic beliefs by checking the evidence for the pessimistic explanation and an optimistic alternative where you attribute adversity to extrinsic, specific and transient situational factors.

Notice how distraction, distancing and disputing lead your mood to change positively to energize you.


To generate hope in a particular situation, formulate clear goals, produce numerous pathways to these, pursue your goals and reframe obstacles as challenges to be overcome.

Positive expectations

To reduce risk taking that may foreshorten your lifespan, develop incentives to help you to value the future more than the present.

 What you are willing to take responsibility for can be changed. 

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