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Feeling down? These 3 acts will make you feel more optimistic right away

Optimism is a "muscle" that can be strengthened with regular use, according to psychologist Deepika Chopra.

Looking for ways to look on the bright side? 

Approaching life with an optimistic attitude can have numerous benefits. It can help you achieve goals, overcome challenges, improve your overall emotional wellness and can even be lead to better physical health.

“Optimistic people are sick less often,” Deepika Chopra, Psy.D., aka the Optimism Doctor, said on the 3rd Hour of TODAY Tuesday. “They have better cardiovascular health. They live longer, they thrive longer.”

But being an optimist, Chopra stressed, does not mean ignoring the tough stuff or being positive 24/7.

“In reality, that’s not possible,” she said. “A true optimist is really someone that is very keenly aware of the setbacks and roadblocks and the less than ideal situations. The caveat is they see them as temporary and something that they have the ability to overcome." 

While some people may consider themselves born optimists or pessimists, Chopra said she likens optimism to a muscle that can be strengthened with practice. Her new deck of activity cards, “Things Are Looking Up,” offers 52 actionable ideas for living more optimistically.

Here are three of Chopra’s tips for strengthening your “optimism muscle.” 

Make a “ta-da” list

Instead of only making a “to-do” list, which focuses on all the tasks you haven’t done, why not make a “ta-da” list of everything you’ve accomplished in a day?

“You start to realize how accomplished you really are,” Chopra said. “It’s really about this sense of self-mastery and empowerment.”

Tell people what they’re good at

We often point out areas where we want other people to improve, but we don’t always pause to tell people what they are good at. Take a moment to sincerely tell someone when they're doing a great job. 

Share a positive shoutout

Take a moment right now to share your gratitude with someone in your life by sending a text, email or letter, or by sharing with them in person.