20 Optimism Quotes to Develop a Hopeful Outlook on Life

  • By Jennifer Mulder
  • 15 May 2023
  • 3 minute read
20 Optimism Quotes to Help You Develop a Hopeful Outlook on Life | The Health Sessions

It’s a common frustration of anyone struggling: to hear your friends say “just stay positive” after you’ve shared your problems with them.

That’s because most of the time, we’re not looking for solutions or to be cheered up. We just want to express our deepest feelings and worries, to feel heard and seen, and not feel so alone with our sadness, anxiety and racing thoughts.

But of course, there is some truth in those well-meaning words. Optimism refers to looking on the bright side of life, even in difficult situations. When you’ve got an optimistic mindset, you emphasize the good things that are happening, and you have hope that everything will turn out alright.

Science shows that being optimistic doesn’t just feel good, it boosts your overall wellbeing in many ways. Having an optimistic outlook on life is linked to better heart health, stronger immunity, less pain, lower stress levels and fewer symptoms of anxiety or depression. What’s more, optimistic people recover significantly faster after surgery, have better survival rates after being diagnosed with a life-threatening disease and live longer than pessimistic people.

That’s great news, but if you’re not optimistic by nature, what can you do to develop a more positive outlook on life? 

Even if you tend to see the glass half-empty, perhaps because you’re struggling with chronic illness, relationship problems or financial troubles, there are things you can do to cultivate optimism.

Because, in spite of what some people think, optimism does not mean you pretend that bad things could never happen to you or minimizing negative feelings that pop up. That’s toxic positivity, not genuine optimism. Not only is it normal to feel upset, frustrated, disappointed or worried about the future from time to time, these emotions can actually be useful to protect you from (further) harm! A truly optimistic attitude helps you to accept your current reality, good or bad, to overcome the problems you may be facing and keep hope in your heart along the way.

You can develop optimism by practicing mediation or mindfulness, to learn to focus on the present moment and not dwell on the past or worry about the future. Each night, you can write down 3 positive things that happened that day to help you notice the good things in life, even when you’re going though tough times. According to science, this simple gratitude exercise is one of the most effective way to increase your overall happiness. And savoring those small pleasures will even lengthen the pleasant feelings you experienced.

You could also examine your thought patterns. We all make cognitive errors like all-or-nothing thinking, overgeneralization, taking things personally or discounting the positive. And that’s normal. But if you find yourself thinking “Nothing ever goes my way!”, you make a lot of “should” statements about how life should be, or you blame yourself for things out of your control, it can be helpful to start tackling your negative thinking patterns, with to without the help of a therapist.

And this includes identifying your locus of control – the belief that you have control over events in your life (internal locus of control) or that your circumstances are the result of influences outside of your control, like the actions of other people or fate (external locus of control). Feeling like your own behavior can have a positive influence on the outcome of a situation is positively related to optimism, while feeling like your circumstances are mostly influenced by luck or powerful others is linked to pessimism.

To get you inspired to develop a hopeful outlook on life and the future, take a look at these 20 optimism quotes to help you see the good things, even when you’re struggling. 

20 Optimism Quotes to Help You Develop a Hopeful Outlook on Life | The Health Sessions

20 Optimism Quotes to Help You Develop a Hopeful Outlook on Life | The Health Sessions

20 Optimism Quotes to Help You Develop a Hopeful Outlook on Life | The Health Sessions

20 Optimism Quotes to Help You Develop a Hopeful Outlook on Life | The Health Sessions

20 Optimism Quotes to Help You Develop a Hopeful Outlook on Life | The Health Sessions

20 Optimism Quotes to Help You Develop a Hopeful Outlook on Life | The Health Sessions

20 Optimism Quotes to Help You Develop a Hopeful Outlook on Life | The Health Sessions

20 Optimism Quotes to Help You Develop a Hopeful Outlook on Life | The Health Sessions

20 Optimism Quotes to Help You Develop a Hopeful Outlook on Life | The Health Sessions

20 Optimism Quotes to Help You Develop a Hopeful Outlook on Life | The Health Sessions

20 Optimism Quotes to Help You Develop a Hopeful Outlook on Life | The Health Sessions

20 Optimism Quotes to Help You Develop a Hopeful Outlook on Life | The Health Sessions

20 Optimism Quotes to Help You Develop a Hopeful Outlook on Life | The Health Sessions

20 Optimism Quotes to Help You Develop a Hopeful Outlook on Life | The Health Sessions

20 Optimism Quotes to Help You Develop a Hopeful Outlook on Life | The Health Sessions

20 Optimism Quotes to Help You Develop a Hopeful Outlook on Life | The Health Sessions

20 Optimism Quotes to Help You Develop a Hopeful Outlook on Life | The Health Sessions

20 Optimism Quotes to Help You Develop a Hopeful Outlook on Life | The Health Sessions

20 Optimism Quotes to Help You Develop a Hopeful Outlook on Life | The Health Sessions

20 Optimism Quotes to Help You Develop a Hopeful Outlook on Life | The Health Sessions

Which optimism quotes inspire you to develop a more positive outlook? 

Learn more about the difference between genuine optimism and toxic positivity (plus why it matters), check out 12 uplifting quotes about true happiness or see how you can practice sincere gratitude when you’re sad, sick and struggling. 

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