How Full is Your Glass?

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
5/15/2013 12:00 PM   :  88 comments   :  33,888 Views

Most of the time, I’m running around like a crazy lady all day long.  I’ve got work to do, errands to run, kids to take care of, chores at home, etc.  I’m sure a lot (if not most) of you can relate.  I bring a lot of it on myself because I’m the type of person who likes to get everything done -- right now.  For a long time, I considered my busy routine to be a drag.  I was easily overwhelmed, stressed out, and felt like I never had time for me.  And to be quite honest, those feelings made me sad. 
 
More recently, I’ve taken a step back to look at my life from a different perspective.  Instead of getting so bogged down in all of the day-to-day details, I’m trying to adapt to the chaos and appreciate all of the good things in my life.  I’m trying to see my life for what it is so that I can start taking small steps to make it better.  Instead of wishing things were different, I’m putting together a plan for change. 
 
For instance, I always felt like I’d never have the simple life I want unless I lived out on a farm in the middle of nowhere.  But I’m realizing that I can make my life (and the life of my family) whatever I want it to be.  Just because I live in the suburbs doesn’t mean we can’t live the way I’d envision.  This change in perspective is slowly making me a more optimistic and happy person.
 
Recently I read an article that gave me a lot to think about.  The topic was being an optimist, and how you can have a more rewarding life by looking at the glass as half full instead of half empty.  Of course there are going to be low points in life (more for some than others), and we can’t deny that terrible things happen around the world every day.  I’m not suggesting we ignore those things, but for me, being optimistic is more about recognizing all the good things about my life and the possibilities for the future.  I hope to teach my children these lessons so that it doesn’t take them as long as it’s taken me to start learning them.     
 
Suzanne C. Segerstrom, author of the book Breaking Murphy’s Law, “explained that optimism is not about being positive so much as it is about being motivated and persistent. …  If you behave more optimistically, you will be likely to keep trying instead of giving up after an initial failure. “You might succeed more than you expected,” she wrote. Even if the additional effort is not successful, it can serve as a positive learning experience, suggesting a different way to approach a similar problem the next time.”
 
Even if you don’t consider yourself to be an optimist by nature, there are things you can do to change your mindset and get things moving in a better direction.  Check out Optimism and the Power of Positive Thinking for tips on how changing your thinking can help change your life.   Looking for a few words of inspiration?  Check out SparkPeople’s Healthy Inspiration
 
Do you consider yourself to be an optimist?  How has that helped you lead a happier life?  If you’re not an optimist, do you think it holds you back?  Why or why not?


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Comments

  • 88
    I am defenitely an optimist & feel that this makes my life happier! - 2/25/2014   11:06:01 AM
  • 87
    I wasn't an optimist at all but in the past year I have really changed myself into one and I'm so thankful for doing so. - 2/14/2014   2:11:50 PM
  • 86
    Thanks for the tip that what we really need is motivation and persistence. It may just be the key I need right now. I can say affirmations until I'm blue in the face but at some point I have to settle down to work. - 9/27/2013   10:12:28 PM
  • RUNESHADOW
    85
    A realist or pragmatist. Stuff happens and I look at my options and go from there. It might work out the way I'd like; it might not and I decide how to respond. Expect the best and prepare for the worst. There may be things out of my control; how can I get past, through, or over them, or do I want to change direction?

    I never understood why many folks focus on the terminology half full and half empty. Half an 8-ounce glass of anything is still 4 ounces. If I am trying to drink 8 glasses of water and am down to the last 4 ounces, it can be discouraging or pessimistic to think the glass is still half full. If I see it as already half empty, it might be easier to remind myself I can do it, I can meet my goal, and thus half empty is positive or optimistic. The view depends on the circumstances, so it bugs me when folks get judgmental about someone seeing half a glass half empty. "Hey, it's half empty -- I am enjoying this so much, I think I might fix another glass of iced tea when I finish this one" seems quite an optimistic view to me. But no matter what, it's still the same 4 ounces, half a glass. Whether you see that as optimistic or pessimistic depends on your personal interpretation and I would not presume to judge you on your choice of words.

    Interesting blog, even though I am not keen on the title. - 9/4/2013   6:59:44 PM
  • SUNSET09
    84
    I've been an optimist all of my life and my friends and family will vouch for that. Life is to short not to be happy as happiness comes from within. Life is oh, so what you make it! No regrets here and not trying to go back! Yeah! Negativity and people, get thee behind! (~_~) - 6/6/2013   1:50:24 AM
  • 83
    One of my favorite books is "Success through a Positive Mental Attitude" by Napoleon Hill. - 6/5/2013   1:35:59 AM
  • 82
    I am definitely an optimist! Don't understand how some people can stand to miserable all the time. If you smile and say, "I'm great!" you'll start believing it and become great! - 5/17/2013   8:59:25 PM
  • 81
    I have read that optimism is healthier. It's certainly feels better to believe that good things are going to happen than bad ones are going to happen. I try to choose that path, figuring that I get enough bad feeling about trouble that actually happens; no need to borrow more. - 5/17/2013   8:19:45 PM
  • 80
    I am usually a positive person however there are times when I have to slap my Debbie Downer personality away! - 5/17/2013   6:39:27 PM
  • 79
    Just call me Pollyanna! - 5/16/2013   1:11:27 PM
  • SERVAL3
    78
    I have always been a glass half full kind of gal. When things start to get overwhelming, I think of all my blessings and even turn the mundane into a positive. Thank you that I have an electric bill to pay since it means I have electricity, etc. - 5/16/2013   12:27:20 PM
  • 2DIETORNOT2DIET
    77
    I have always been an optimist, there is always something new to learn or things to do. I love to get up in the mornings to see what the new day has in store. - 5/16/2013   10:18:02 AM
  • 76
    I'm by nature, a pessimist, but I work daily on finding the bright side of any situation. I have a lot more work to do on myself.

    Just yesterday I read an interesting blog on happiness, which I think relates to optimism, and the author said one of the keys for her is to not over-schedule herself. She makes a point of scheduling only 60% of her time rather than trying to do it all all of the time. Since she started saying no for requests for her time, she finds that she is much happier and much more optimistic. Having the cushion of unbooked time reduces her stress and allows her to see more positives in life. - 5/16/2013   10:13:20 AM
  • 75
    Optimist! I know I am very blessed with most things in my life! I often think of lines from this poem:

    Today
    Outside my window, a new day I see
    and only I can determine
    what kind of day it will be
    It can be busy and sunny, laughing and gay,
    or boring and cold, unhappy and gray,
    My own state or mind is the determining key,
    for I am only the person I let myself be.
    I can be thoughtful and do all I can to help,
    or be selfish and think just of myself.
    I can enjoy what I do and make it seem fun,
    or gripe and complain and make it
    hard on someone.
    I can be patient with those who may
    not understand,
    or belittle and hurt them as much as I can.
    But I have faith in myself,
    and I believe what I say,
    and I personally intend to make
    the best of each day.
    - 5/16/2013   9:35:31 AM
  • DAVIDLAFEL
    74
    One day it will come(death), so why wast your life being to serious. Enjoy life, be positive for the negative will come on its on. I love being optimistic, it's a happier place. - 5/16/2013   8:54:13 AM
  • 73
    Thanks for such an inspiring blog! - 5/16/2013   8:43:43 AM
  • MAMA2EEEE
    72
    That's funny, I live on a farm in the middle of nowhere and I've always thought my life would be simpler if I lived in the suburbs! I guess it all depends on your perspecitve. Thanks for a great blog! - 5/16/2013   8:21:29 AM
  • 71
    there are times i catch myself being a downer on myself,,, but, i am generally optimistic.
    - 5/16/2013   8:14:00 AM
  • OWL_20
    70
    I'm learning to appreciate the positive side of things, as I'm not an especially good optimist, it takes work! But I'm getting there step by step. It works! - 5/16/2013   8:08:41 AM
  • 69
    Actually, the glass is full! Partially with liquids, partially with air, it is just a trick question, lol! - 5/16/2013   7:52:26 AM
  • 68
    I think of myself as a positive person and way more than I may actually be - but for the past 6-7 years I've really worked at making the choices for positivity. - 5/16/2013   6:11:56 AM
  • 67
    I have to admit that I've spent the first 49 years of my life being totally the opposite of the optomist. I saw the glass eternally as half empty and always referred to myself as Eyore ( the donkey in Winnie the Pooh whose tail was always falling off). You could put it back on but it was just going to fall off again. It has taken losing my job to help me turn this around. Today I went to my weight in and the instructor asked how I was. I responded that I wasn't sure yet. She told me that I had to decide before stepping on the scales because letting the scales rule my moods wouldn't work in the long run. I gave it a little thought and replied then I am fabulous and that is how I've felt all night. Being a pessimist never got me anything except a head full of depression and turning it around has given me more energy as well as a better attitude. - 5/15/2013   11:55:50 PM
  • 66
    Study after study has shown that optimists do not see the reality of the world around them as clearly as pessimists do. There is nothing wrong with understanding that everything isn't sunshine and lollipops.

    I highly recommend the book 'Bright-Sided' by Barbara Ehrenreich to everyone. It's about how American culture DEMANDS that we always keep our chins up, a smile on our face, and a song in our hearts...and always...ALWAYS see the glass as half full. It then shows how completely UNhealthy that is. - 5/15/2013   11:35:11 PM
  • 65
    I am the quintessential optimist! I see everything through rose-tinted glasses, and can see the positive in the most awful happenings.

    I think this has to with viewing circumstances in terms of the long run; seeing everything in light of the eternity of the end.

    It works for me! I am one of the happiest persons I have ever encountered.

    Every day, I am grateful for the many wonderful things in my life, and experience moments of "joy" every day.

    I LOVE my life! - 5/15/2013   10:30:06 PM
  • 64
    Thanks for the great article. I have only been a member since May 3rd, but I have already noticed "small" changes in my life. I hope to continue on, and if I fall down, hopefully I will pick myself up again. - 5/15/2013   7:58:09 PM
  • 63
    I always try to have a "POSITIVE" outlook in life. Even when things get rough in life, I just keep going because I always think if one door closes another one will eventually open for me. I also try to stay away from Negative people in my life and not let their negativity bring me down, I just keep smiling :) - 5/15/2013   6:24:43 PM
  • DELLMEL
    62
    Great blog. My glass is full all the time. - 5/15/2013   4:27:06 PM
  • 61
    That is the way I want to be. More Positive. I am working toward that today. Half full. - 5/15/2013   4:23:05 PM
  • 60
    Motivation. That's a tough one to maintain. - 5/15/2013   1:19:42 PM
  • 59
    I'm consciously being more positive and optimistic with this go-'round of trying to lose weight, and for some reason I am having more success than ever before! I don't beat myself up, I am happy to lose the weight slowly and I am looking forward to the future and truly enjoying my new healthy way of life. I very much believe that if you have a positive attitude, you'll be better off. - 5/15/2013   12:27:13 PM
  • 58
    Last night my husband started a plumbing project that he then needed me to finish, because I'm smaller and my hands are more nimble (in fact, I installed this project several years ago.) I was very resentful at first, but as I got going on it, I became grateful and even excited that I have these skills. It reminded me how grateful I am that we were able to move back to this house after selling it 7 years ago and enjoy the improvements we worked so hard on before selling. - 5/15/2013   12:26:08 PM
  • 57
    I am a big optimist. It has served me well for 39 years. Happiness can be contagious. - 5/15/2013   12:22:00 PM
  • 56
    Thanks for this..but it makes me think of a joke about the half-empty/half full argument. While the pessimist and the optimist argue...the opportunist drinks the water. - 5/15/2013   12:12:30 PM
  • 55
    Thank you for sharing. I do enjoy the glass half full rather than half empty! - 3/8/2013   2:09:16 PM
  • 54
    Excellent view. A winner is someone who gets up one more time than he is pushed down. when faced with challenges, I keep looking for alternatives, assuming there has to be another way to do it! - 7/24/2012   1:57:13 AM
  • MANDELOVICH
    53
    I love this notion of focusing on all we have and being positive. It's my daily goal, and though I haven't always been perfect at it, I'm always moving toward it. - 7/6/2012   10:42:50 PM
  • 52
    Definitely an optimist however with a perfectionist streak - 7/3/2012   9:25:16 PM
  • 51
    I was irritatingly optimistic before my marriage fell apart. Now I talk a good game 'cause I hate to be one of those negative people that noone wants to be around, but my internal monologue is pretty nihilistic. - 7/2/2012   6:57:04 PM
  • 50
    I am thankful for the people in my life that have helped me not take things too seriously, and have helped me learn to laugh more. - 7/2/2012   9:31:25 AM
  • 49
    Always an optimist. In spite of some tragedies, I've had a fabulous life. I do live with chronic pain, as well, but you can't let these issues get you down. I've had hip and knee replacement, and thnks to modern science..I am a productive member of society. I have a great husband, the best kids, and grand kids, I could go on. Life is what you make of it. Smile, be happy! - 6/30/2012   4:12:43 PM
  • 48
    I'm the ETERNAL OPTIMIST and I have always been. It's much easier and rewarding. - 6/29/2012   4:21:00 PM
  • 47
    While the optimist and pessimist were arguing over whether the glass was half full or half empty, I drank the water! Seriously, smiling helps keep life on track so I guess I am an optimist most of the time!
    - 6/28/2012   4:56:30 PM
  • 46
    For a week I tracked ALL the positive things I experienced and then did the same the next week for negative experiences. Interestingly, there were far more positives and negatives. This little exercise was helpful -- I reflect back on it when I having one of "those days" knowing that it really isn't representative of my experiences. - 6/27/2012   8:52:52 PM
  • 45
    I am Pollyanna - 6/27/2012   7:29:45 PM
  • 44
    Thanks for the optimisim - 6/27/2012   5:35:38 PM
  • 43
    Thanks for sharing your positive and upbeat blog. - 6/27/2012   5:01:26 PM
  • 42
    I appreciate your comments that optimism is a conscious choice. Sometimes I have to work harder to look on the bright side than others. I also sometimes decide how I would like the day to be later, and I think that can help me make an effort towards positive change. Great blog! - 6/27/2012   1:32:34 PM
  • JAM369
    41
    The more I call myself an optimist, the more I am one. I've put a whole lot of effort into being more grateful for the life I have, and the more I do it, the easier it gets! - 6/27/2012   12:58:50 PM
  • BAMAJAM
    40
    It is a simple conclusion that an optimist seems happier than a pessimist---so I choose to be one to look on the bright side. We all deal with struggles in life, but we can seek to find blessings also. It is important to "warn" that our children learn from our attitudes----So give them examples of a happy spirit. A parent who dwells on the negatives in life gives a detrimental lesson to the child.... - 6/27/2012   12:42:10 PM
  • 39
    I have always been an optimistic, looking for the best in every body and every situation. I think you make better decisions when you are optimistic. No one wants to be around a pessimistic. - 6/27/2012   11:29:56 AM

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