We can’t always be optimistic but on Look On The Bright Side Day, celebrated on December 21, we can always try our best to be! It’s quite normal to feel a little down on this day since it falls around the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere, which means things tend to get a little cold and cloudy outside. But, fret not, because every cloud has a silver lining. While it may all sound very cliché, being optimistic is scientifically good for our bodies and minds. Just like a pessimist might see the glass as half empty, Look On The Bright Side Day is all about seeing the glass as half full!
History of Look On The Bright Side Day
While it may be the shortest day of the year, people all over the world celebrate the winter solstice, so this can be seen as something happy to take away from the event. Various cultures and religions have made it a special occasion for ages. The shortest day and longest night of the year have inspired mystical celebrations, both old and new, in anticipation of the sun’s return. That’s something beautiful and optimistic to take away from this time.
December is generally a festive month throughout the world. There’s Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and of course, Christmas, as well as the impending New Year. But the winter solstice is another reason to celebrate in December, which is on the same day as Look On The Bright Side Day. It’s nothing new. Humans may have observed the winter solstice as early as the Neolithic period — the last part of the Stone Age, beginning in about 10,200 B.C.
Ancient Romans held several celebrations around the time of the winter solstice. Saturnalia, a holiday in honor of Saturn, the god of agriculture, was a week-long celebration in the days leading up to the winter solstice. The ancient Norsemen of Scandinavia celebrated Yule from the winter solstice through January, always hopefully looking for the return of the sun. The Inca Empire paid homage to the sun god Inti at a winter solstice celebration called ‘Inti Raymi’.
In China, Dongzhi is celebrated with family gatherings, a big meal, and delicious rice-flour balls called tang yuan. It marks the end of the harvest and has its roots in the concept of yin and yang — after the solstice, the darkness of winter will begin to be balanced with the light of the sun. At Stonehenge, modern-day revelers witness the magical occurrence of the sun rising through the stones. And in Pakistan, the Kalasha people celebrate the winter solstice or ‘Choimus’ with a colorful swirl of traditional dance, food, and prayer dance.
Today, on Look On The Bright Side Day, take something beautiful out of these cultural and ancient traditions during the shortest day of the year and try to be optimistic. After all, the sun will come again!
Look On The Bright Side Day timeline
While it may be the shortest day of the year, humans have long been observing this period as a cause for celebration of the sun’s impending return.
Originally a Nordic tradition, Yule is the name of the old winter-solstice festivals in Scandinavia and other parts of northern Europe to celebrate midwinter.
Philosopher and prodigious scholar Gottfried Leibniz is known to have formulated the first concept of optimism, encapsulated in the phrase ‘the best of all possible worlds’.
Former President Barack Obama discusses the power of optimism, stating, “Your response has to be to reject cynicism and reject pessimism and push forward, with a certain infectious and relentless optimism.”
Look On The Bright Side Day FAQs
What does ‘Look on the bright side’ mean?
According to the Collins English Dictionary, if you look on the bright side, you try to be cheerful about a bad situation by thinking of some advantages that could result from it, or thinking that it is not as bad as it could have been.
What is a person who looks on the bright side of things called?
An optimist — in other words, a person who tends to be hopeful and confident about the future or the success of something.
Can you be too positive?
At times, yes. Toxic positivity is a thing according to some psychologists, and it occurs when positive thoughts are dismissive and shaming. Just like everything else, they can become harmful to one’s mental health when done in excess, such as when positivity is forced to cover up or silence the true human experience.
How To Celebrate Look On The Bright Side Day
We can either look at things negatively or positively. December is a festive month. Do you have any resolutions you want to make for New Year’s? Do you feel like watching your favorite movie or cooking a delicious meal? What about curling up and reading that book you’ve been meaning to read forever? Choose to do things that make you happy and inspire you to get you through the day.
Make a mood board
Do you love meaningful quotes? Or inspirational ones? Why not scroll through Pinterest and print out some of your favorite quotes that make you feel good. If you have any old magazines lying around, cut out some pretty images or nice sayings that could make a good addition to your mood board. You can also do this online through Photoshop and make it an actual art piece for your space! Not only is this therapeutic but it’s super fun and an optimistic activity to do.
Have a self-care day
Want to give yourself a facial or a manicure? Is there a particular YouTuber you like that makes you feel good and inspired? Do you have a playlist of upbeat or relaxing music that you can play? When it comes to feeling optimistic, what you do to help yourself feel good is a personal choice. If you need a mood boost, try to have a relaxing day consisting of your favorite self-care rituals to get through the day.
5 Amazing Facts About Optimism
Solid sleep increases good moods
Studies have found that adults who get seven to eight hours of shut-eye per night scored higher on tests for optimism and self-esteem than those who snoozed for fewer than six hours, or more than nine.
Optimism is good for immunity
Scientific studies have found a link between increased immunity and positive expectations or mindsets.
Exercise helps boost our moods
Research shows that athletic people are much more optimistic than their sedentary counterparts — half an hour of brisk walking or jogging several times a week promotes positive moods.
Good for hearts
Looking on the sunny side is good for your heart — optimistic people are twice as likely to have strong cardiovascular health.
Count your blessings
Psychologists agree that remembering what we’re grateful for will foster cheerful emotions, and writing in a gratitude journal is a great way to get into the habit.
Why We Love Look On The Bright Side Day
It’s about having a positive attitude
Like all things in life, having a positive attitude greatly increases our health and overall happiness. Get together with your friends and family, and help uplift them and yourself by looking on the bright side.
People celebrate the winter solstice
If ancient people from tens of thousands of years ago can celebrate the shortest day of the year and the winter solstice with joy and anticipation, so can we. People from various cultures around the world continue to do so today. We can take something away from their messages. Many who observe the winter solstice generally celebrate the rebirth of the sun and believe it is a powerful time for regeneration, renewal, and self-reflection.
It’s literally good for us
A sunny disposition isn’t just good for our mental health, it’s good for our bodies, too, and can add years to our lives. Positive emotions also change how our immune system works. We don’t know exactly how, but we know that if we are calm and positive, it affects the numbers of our immune cells and our inflammation levels drop.
Look On The Bright Side Day dates