Improve Your Mind—And Your Chances

Optimism can help you find the love you want. Our expert panel shares tips for a happier mindset.

By Margot Carmichael Lester

arch is National Optimism Month, so why not use these 31 days to improve your worldview and feel hopeful that you can get what you want in terms of love and romance? We asked a panel of experts for their advice on how you can improve your outlook, feel happier and, thus,
No one is ever drawn to an overt ball of bitterness.
better your chances at finding the love you want. Here are some tips:

Play a mind game (with yourself).
“No one is ever drawn to an overt ball of bitterness, so try to shake off any negative feelings and supplant those thoughts with upbeat, positive ones,” says Doree Lewak, a New York-based relationship expert and author of The Panic Years. “Actively concentrate on taking yourself less seriously when you start to feel down on yourself. And try to project happiness – try to smile more, laugh – and you’ll soon be feeling genuine happiness, not just faking it. Acting positive begets happiness. By proactively trying to lift yourself out of your personal fog, you’re taking the right measures to transform your feelings of discontentment into those of happiness and satisfaction.”

Find the humor.
The best way to get over a bitter breakup is to change your point of view, according to Lori Marcoux, cofounder of Extraordinary Learning, a leadership and personal-growth consulting company in Seattle. “Every love affair, romance, short-term and long-term love relationship has some very funny moments that I may choose to remember and focus on,” she says. “Even the moments I felt were horrific have a humorous side. If I want to throw away my bitterness, I must replace my bitter point of view with a funny, lighter one.”

Make a move.
“Don’t wait for the guy you’re eyeing to come over and greet you,” says comedian Ian Coburn, author of God Is a Woman: Dating Disasters. “Instead, go greet him or stand near him and smile, making yourself more approachable. Similarly, don’t wait for the woman you want to meet to give you various indicators she wants you to talk to her, which may never happen. Go talk to her! Take control.”

Fill ’er up.
Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, think about what you do have. “When you dwell in gratitude and wallow in abundance, you’ll find that your problems and things you
Compassion, empathy and caring will make you feel better.
lack get smaller and easier to handle,” says Sadie Nardini, New York-based relationship expert and author of The Road Trip Guide to the Soul. “Whenever your mind turns to the things you’re lacking, immediately think of three people, things or aspects that reveal the love and opportunity that’s all around you. Envision your favorite chocolate, if necessary… just let the good things in your life bring you clarity and peace so you can transform the things you don’t without getting stuck in their muck.”

Finally, bring more love into your life by projecting a more loving attitude. Compassion, empathy and caring will make you feel better—and make others want to be with you. “Rather than looking for love, waiting for love or asking for another person to be loving, a person is best served by being loving,” Marcoux says. “Like attracts like; loving behavior attracts loving behavior. I make wise choices about who I invite into my life, who I love, knowing love is a choice and love doesn’t just happen. Choice is a given. Having a can-do attitude is an attitude I choose.”

So what are you waiting for? Pick one or two of these mood-altering exercises and start practicing. You’ll be a happier person in general, and you’ll be more appealing as a potential mate.

Margot Carmichael Lester is a freelance writer in North Carolina. Her work also appears in Hemispheres, Go and The Carrboro Citizen.
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