Programme: Living a healthier lifestyle

6. Always look on the bright side of life

We are all trying to lead a good, happy life. But setbacks are an inevitable part of being human. We all encounter loss, sadness and disappointment during the course of our lives - it may not be desirable, but it simply cannot be avoided. We may have little control over when these setbacks occur, but what we can influence is how we react to them. We can often learn a great deal from times of pain, sadness, mourning, fear and letting go. As humans, we are resilient; we are experts at finding the positives in negative situations. Do you recognise this ability in yourself or others around you? Do you know someone who has set a good example for you in this way?

We need the lows to feel the highs. You will experience both positive and negative things in your life, and we all know that if we nurture something, it will grow! Does the positive side dominate your life, or the negative? Is your glass half full or half empty? Do you tend to focus on the things that you have in your life, of the things that you do not have? Try to think of it as the art of living - if the sun is not shining, learn to dance in the rain.


  • Acknowledge that you have a choice about what you focus your attention on and that this affects how you feel.
  • Our automatic thought pattern is strong. Don’t expect to be able to simply switch to positive thinking straight away - you need to train yourself to think differently, just as you would train your muscles to make them stronger. Keep positive about this process, too. Each time positive thinking goes well, your ‘positive’ muscle gets a bit stronger. 

Reflect & connect

Answer the following questions and share your answers with your online psychologist, your partner and/or a friend:

1. Is your attitude more likely to be ‘glass half full’ or ‘glass half empty’? Why do you think that is?

2. What kind of setbacks have you encountered in your life and did they bring about something positive in the end?

3. Before you go to bed every day, write down three good things that happened during the day. They don’t need to be big things - small things can make you feel happy, too. If you want to go one step further, try to think about why these things made you feel happy - you might start to see a pattern emerging after a while.

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