Are you a glass-half-full or glass-half-empty kind of person? If you’re a natural optimist in life, you might consider yourself a glass-half-full, isn’t-it-a-wonderful-life kind of human, which is a fantastic quality to have. But for the rest of us, it might be challenging to be positive all day, every day, which is why Optimist Day is the perfect solution for us, well, average earthlings.
Here’s a chance to spend a day focusing on the positive things. Whether you’re a natural optimist, or slightly pessimistic, this day is here to inject some fun-fuelled positivity into your life.
Learn About Optimist Day
Optimist Day began in 2019 in Croatia. Somersby Cider designed the festival to bring together optimists with those who just wanted to be positive for a day. People luxuriated in Zagreb with their fellow dreamers, enjoying their sweet ciders in the summer sunshine. Sporting bright yellow colorful balloons and miniature cans of the bubbly beverage, optimists were able to toast their fellow humans in a day to remember.
Somersby Cider worked with the community on weeks of online campaigning to spread joy and do something positive, with almost 40,000 people supporting the campaign. Somersby shared the love by paying off parking tickets in Zagreb, which saved money for many of the Zagreb community and stopped their otherwise sunny day from being utterly ruined.
The day itself was also supported by the Somersby Cider webpage, which hosted visually optimistic content and aimed to pass on the happiness to those who visited the site.
This day is designed to bring together people from all ages and backgrounds, pessimist and optimist, to take a day off from all the troubles of the world, and instead enjoy the summer sun, relax with your favorite chilled beverage, and simply take a break. You might find yourself running from here to there with the stresses of everyday life, but we’re here to remind you to take this day off and celebrate positivity.
History of Optimist Day
The world has been calling out for a day like this for a while, but what actually is an optimist? An optimist is someone who has positive views about their place in life and the future. They’re more likely to think good things will happen and can see the positive side of many situations.
An optimist is more than someone who just believes things will work out, as they are also people who work hard to build a positive future. Let’s face it – being an optimist all the time is hard. We’re not perfect, and we all have to work on it unless you’re lucky enough to be a natural-born optimist.
Science proves that being optimistic is good for your mental and physical health. Five decades of research into the positive mindset has revealed that being an optimist helps you recover from illness faster. Optimists recover from surgery quicker, have higher immunity, and are even more likely to survive cancer. Optimists have a better quality of life, a longer life, and might be more resilient than their pessimistic counterparts.
So we’re all screaming, ‘but how can we be more positive’ and ‘why is it so hard to be positive?’. To make us feel better, scientists have told us that the ability to be positive largely stems from our genetics and our environment. So if you’re not a natural optimist, it’s not necessarily your fault! But the good news is, we can train our brain to be more optimistic.
Think about a recent situation or an upcoming obstacle that will impact your life. How are you going to overcome it? And what will the positive impact of this challenge be? Making yourself write down a list of positive features can help construct a more positive mindset and view the world in a more optimistic light.
For millions of years, we were only designed to survive until the age of 30, and our lifespan was focused on avoiding being eaten and finding food to eat. But now we’re living increasingly longer lives, optimism is a crucial part of keeping our brains younger and happier for longer. That’s why Optimist Day was created.
The founders wanted us to counter-culture the ingrained Blue Monday, and instead, spend a day where we focus on the positive mindset. As we already have days to commiserate and indulge our negative sides, maybe it’s finally time to have a day where we simply embrace the positive and focus on opportunities for optimism.
Optimist Day Timeline
Candide, The Optimist is published
This quintessential French novel by Voltaire follows Candide, a trainee in optimism who abruptly discovers hardship and difficulty. The satire addresses the “all is for the best” mantra and leaves Candide to discover what he believes about the world.
Optimist International is founded
Beginning in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1916, the founders dream of an international organization and begin starting clubs in various major cities. The organization grows to more than 4000 members in 49 clubs over the next few years.
Release of the song Accentuate The Positive
Johnny Mercer and The Pied Pipers sang this song discussing the key to happiness being, essentially, the practice of optimism. This song won the Academy Award for Best Original Song that year and was very quickly covered by Bing Crosby, Artie Shaw and several other artists.
Optimist Day takes place in Quebec
With a focus on recognizing the way volunteers and youth achieve success in their communities, Optimist International in Quebec decides to name the first Thursday in February as Optimist Day. The idea then spreads throughout other cities and countries.
Optimist Festival takes place in Croatia
The first festival of optimists takes place in Zagreb, Croatia and is hosted by Somersby Cider. They encourage participants to spend the whole day being positive, offering up bright yellow balloons, samples of cider and even paying off random parking tickets to spread the love.
How to Celebrate Optimist Day
Optimist Day is the perfect opportunity to spend the day paying the kindness forward. You don’t have to pay off people’s parking tickets, but why not do something good for someone you love? It might be making dinner for your friends and family or volunteering your time to the local Animal Charity, or homeless shelter.
Spend time giving back to others and your local community. It could be something as small as a kind word to a stranger, or as big as arranging a charity event or fundraising through a charity run. Even the smallest gestures can have a significant impact on the people you help.
If we’re busy, the first person we forget to be optimistic about is ourselves. Why not treat yourself to some self-care, by spending time doing something you love. Try something creative like drawing or writing, or a more physical affair like running or climbing. Start something new or revisit a past-loved hobby, solo, or with friends or family. Do what you want and make yourself happy.
Or, you can follow the original tradition, and gather up some of your fellow optimists with a glass of sweet cider and head out to your local beach or park. Lounge in the sun with your favorite people, beverage, and summer sky above you. Got some bad weather? That’s fine, take the party indoors with some light, flavorsome summer snacks to give you the taste of optimism without getting rained on. Cheers to a day where you can forget about your worries and enjoy yourself!
Optimist Day FAQs
Who was the most famous optimist?
Although positive people have certainly been around since time began, one optimist who made a huge impact was mathematician Gottfried Leibniz used the term to mean “the best of all possible worlds” and was a self-proclaimed optimist.
Can a pessimist become an optimist?
Sure! Optimism is simply a state of mind and creating new ways of thinking. Optimist Day is the perfect day to get started retraining the brain to think more positively and see the glass as half full instead of half empty.
What is Optimist International?
This club is made up of volunteers all over the world who give their time to make the world a better place. They have almost 3000 clubs in at least 20 countries all around the world. Those who don’t have a local club in their area can certainly see about starting one!
What are some optimist phrases to remember?
Optimists tend to use phrases to communicate their mindset. “The glass is half full” is certainly a well-known one. Always Look Up is the name of a book by Michael J. Fox. And this phrase by Helen Keller is worth remembering: “Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows.”