My favourite cartoon shows a car plunging off a cliff edge. A sign on the side of the car reads 'Optimists' Club'. In mid-air the driver exclaims, "Ooh! Look at that wonderful view!".
That's the kind of optimism I try to have. That sometimes-annoying habit of seeing life through rose-tinted specs, over the rim of a half-full glass, pointing out the silver lining on every cloud.
But that's not to say I don't wobble now and again.
Mornings are when my optimism can play hard to get. Recently, instead of bouncing out of bed Tigger-like, I've felt more like a grizzly bear lumbering out of hibernation.
When any negativity creeps up on me I look at how I can tweak my life to get a different outcome. That got me thinking about my morning routine. Somehow I've let a diet of bad news to seep into the start of my day. I listen to the news radio. All disaster, war, famine, financial doom. I scan the newspaper or the news online. Ditto. I check my emails. Niggling task reminders and looming deadlines.
So my latest life tweak has been to change the news. I can't alter everything that's happening in the world, but I can choose what I feed my mind with. And I've discovered there are some delightful news channels that only dish up positive news.
My browsing led me to discover the model Lily Cole's social network based on a culture of giving and receiving freely. Via globalgoodnews.com I learned of a female crocheting co-operative creating jobs for impoverished women in Peru. And the Huffington Post Good News report that the #nomake-upselfie trend has raised millions for Cancer Research UK
After starting my day with a diet of positivity I find my whole outlook changes. And this has a knock-on effect. After all, if you enter a room with a smile on your face you're more likely to spread a bit of sunshine than if you go in scowling.
If you need to put the bounce back into your morning here are 14 life tweaks to try:
• Change one simple habit, e.g. take your tea outside
• Make your first email a positive one
• Get up earlier and bake muffins
• Make a cuppa for the postman
• Follow-up on something good from yesterday
• Invite a friend or neighbour for breakfast
• Send a handwritten card or letter to a lonely person
• Duck out of one thing you don't want to do
• Put on your favourite music and do these five simple stretches
• Unplug distractions and tune in to the birds (city dwellers can get the sounds of a spring morning here )
• Leave a note that will make a loved one's day
• Sign up for a happiness programme and get regular positive actions on your phone (dsd.me/dohappiness)
Never underestimate the power of small changes in your life. So often we set ourselves big goals (travel the world, drop three dress sizes, save the planet) and then feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of achieving them. Yet it's the small changes, the little life tweaks we make here and there, that stack up to a huge difference. The journey to every goal comprises lots of tiny steps.
I'll be blogging regularly here and sharing more ideas for life-changing tweaks that are worth getting out of bed for. My next blog will be about some amazing things that happen when you make a tiny tweak to what you wear....