4 Easy Ways to Improve your Outlook on Life

Adriane Nicol
4 min readJan 1, 2021
Photo by Kyle Johnson on Unsplash

Life has many ups and downs, and it’s not unusual for most people to occasionally feel stuck, frustrated, regretful, or otherwise get a sense that they’re living far below their potential. In order to not get bogged down in these feelings and keep a positive outlook there are some simple things you can do to maintain the right mindset. The more you stay in a positive headspace the more you can increase your chances of opening space in your life for more wonderful things to happen.

There are some easy strategies you can use to help improve or maintain a positive outlook on life.

Let Problems stay small by keeping them in Perspective

When you continue to focus on the challenges you face, they end up feeling overwhelming. It’s as if the more you look at the problem, the bigger it gets. This thinking is a mental illusion. What’s happening is that your perception of your ability to solve that problem gets smaller as you obsess over it.

In many cases, a lot of things we worry about are not significant concerns at all. If you are completely honest with yourself, many of the things you stress about in terms of worst-case scenarios didn’t come to pass. They were just taking up space in your head and putting you through an emotional rollercoaster. If that wasn’t bad enough, the action requires so much emotional and psychological energy when you fixate on these things.

You don’t have to do this to yourself. Understand that yes, you have challenges, but they’re small. They are limited by space and time, and there will be enough chances to deal with them. There is a certain amount of your resources that you can allocate to them. They don’t need to take up every space in your heart and head. Keep things in perspective.

Focus on the solution instead of the problem

It’s straightforward to look at the problem and let it define us. For instance, if you know that the rent is due in five days, it’s very tempting to stop thinking of how you’re going to raise the money and who you need to talk to instead of focusing on the consequences of you missing the payment.

You end up chasing your tail because you’re thinking of getting kicked out, hassling with the landlord, and looking bad in front of your friends. Before you know it, you’re just falling headlong into this rabbit hole of unnecessary anxiety and stress. But you’re looking at it from the wrong end. You’re assuming that you’re going to blow the deadline and miss the payment.

Instead, focus on how you can solve it. Can you get an advance from work or a payday loan? Will you be eligible for some emergency cash? Do you have friends or relatives that you can talk to or have small stuff to sell? Can you join a freelance platform and get paid quickly? Can you speak to your boss if all else fails?

When you focus on answers and solutions, you’ll surprise yourself as to the possibilities available. Opening yourself to the possibilities instead of the roadblocks can make all the difference.

Learn to say No

One of the reasons people think life just continues to spin around in circles is that they cannot say no. Like a parent, they feel that they have to serve others like their kids, hand in foot. Similarly, if you’re part of a group at work, it’s tempting to feel that you have to carry significant chunks of the load.

The truth is people will respect you more when you say no. The moment you do that is when you make it clear that your time is worth something. You also get the message across that you have firm boundaries. This strategy is how respect is earned and built. People are not respecting you when they are treating you like a doormat. Always remember this. Learn to say no because it is the foundation of any kind of work-life balance.

Ask Questions, Don’t Guess

When things stress you out, ask yourself questions. Don’t jump to conclusions. For instance, many people put unnecessary stress on themselves thinking about bad things that happened to them in the past. It turns out that, in many cases, they exaggerate what happened, and they read their present anxieties and insecurities into things of the past to justify their ill feelings today.

The good news is you can quickly dial this back by merely deciding to ask questions. Did this happen? What truly transpired? What was said, and where was I? What was I thinking at that time? What kinds of things am I reading into this? Are there other ways to interpret this?

You can go on and on. For every question you ask, the sting and the anger or frustration brought about by that emotional stressor from the past starts to die down.

Find more strategies for staying positive, changing your outlook and creating a happier, healthier and longer life in my book The Path to Positivity. Check out the first chapter for free on Amazon.



Adriane Nicol

Bestselling Udemy course creator, writer and spreadsheet geek. Writes about earning outside your 9-5, finance, and personal development.