For about six years I've been doing FAT and TAT - Five Amazing Things and Ten Amazing Things on this website and I can quite happily say that, despite everything that's happened to me - a number of challenges, losses and failures in quite a young life - I'm an optimist.
1) Count your blessings
Try to do this every day and write them down or better still publish them, then everyone can share in your positive vibe and follow your optimistic musings. This has an enhanced effect as you can then read your blessings after a period of time and realise how lucky and fortunate you are! Three Beautiful Things has a good blogroll you can turn to for inspiration.
2) Do not solely take the blame for failure
Things are never black and white. They are shades of grey. Have the people 'helping' you got something to answer for too? Were you ill? Did circumstances prevent you from being at your best? Make sure you have flexible thinking in yourself and that you have no negative self-talk. Change this negative self talk to positive self talk: 'I'm lovable, I'm unique, I'm powerful, I can change for the better'.
3) Hypnosis: Listen to and watch inspirational motivational hypnosis practitioners, or better still meet face to face
Uncommon knowledge is a great company, Andrew Johnson gives free downloads. Hypnosis works by suggesting positive action. NLP is a hypnotic technique as is Emotional Freedom Technique. Mesmer preceded Freud by about a hundred years - you can alter the way your mind works yourself by learning self hypnosis - meditation followed by positive suggestion that you say to yourself.
Exercise releases positive chemicals and gives you more energy. If you have mobility problems you can still do it - Tai Chi is excellent for example and most leisure centres do chair based exercise classes. The UK government recommends 1.5 hours per week of exercise where you get out of breath - just two classes a week will do the trick.
5) When others say you're an optimist, make sure you spread the news!
At a leaving do I once had my boss described me as such a positive person, always looking for the good in everyone and everything. It was such a compliment and I am quite rightly proud of this and the impact it has on me and my life.
6) Switch the broadcast news off
The news is just depressing - fact. If it wasn't then it wouldn't be news. No one wants to hear 'good news' so it just doesn't get on the news. I avoid it like the plague.
7) Revisit your past
If you have had other 'failures' can you put a positive spin on them? Poor relationships teach us how to have good ones. Poor performance in exams means we learn how to improve for next time. Poor performance at work - perhaps we weren't suited to that job. Make sure you have a positive story for each so-called 'failure' or 'setback' in your life. If necessary write it down.
8) 'Free treats': Have a list of your favourite activities that cheer you up - stick them on your fridge and do them on a bad day
We all have bad days. Make sure you had your positive arsenal up your sleeve, sometimes these black days can come without warning like a shot in the dark. Have your list of your favourite things to do close by and easily accessible - tell your friends and family the things you love to do - your free treats and do them.
9) Measure your mood
And watch it improve. Much like the principle of measuring your weight - you can see what affects it and how to improve it. The best website for this is moodscope.
10) Have a favourite positive visualisation
You might have a favourite photograph of yourself, your partner or your pet. Can you have it close by? Study it really intricately so that you can describe it to someone who's never seen it. If you can get a whole album like this then even better.