The words you tell yourself have a lot to do with shaping your inner mental landscape. Even the Navy SEALs, for example, train their recruits to challenge inner negative self-talk with positive 'can do' thoughts. How optimistic is your thinking? Does your mind throw up a mental roadblock before you even take action? Finding and using an optimistic internal and external vocabulary can add to how resilient you feel each day.


1. Make a list of words or phrases that imply or generate optimism – such as I can, I will, can do, anything's possible, potential, possibility, doable, fascinating, positively, upbeat, uplifting, hopeful, affirming, rewarding, opportunity, that's great, awesome, amazing, incredible, achievable, favorable, another chance, and astounding.

2. Use as many of your optimism-generating words throughout the day as you can. Count each time you use such a word.

3. When you find that you have had a mindless negative or pessimistic thought or said something that is not optimistic or positive, replace it with a more optimistic word or thought on the spot.

4. Reflect on how using an optimistic vocabulary affects your mood and/or behavior. Even if it feels foreign to act with optimism, give it a try.

5. Congratulations on expanding your vocabulary. The point of this practice is not to be phony with optimism, but to acknowledge that thoughts you have can affect how you feel, which in turn can affect how you behave.


Use this throughout the day, or anytime when you want to overcome fear, worry, and negativity that might be holding you back.

Donald Altman in 101 Mindful Ways to Build Resilience