Mark Twain defined an optimist as a "person who travels on nothing from nowhere to happiness." And it's true: You don't need to spend money or go far to find contentment, as long as you can still spot a bright side - even if it only shimmers dimly off in the distance.

We all have our darker days, but seeing the silver lining more often than the billowing clouds may lead to brighter outcomes. Save these bright-side reminders for your own rainy days:

Open your gift of the present. Think about your thinking. How much time do you spend thinking about the past - regrets, nostalgia? About the future - to-do lists, long-term goals? Now think about how much time you spend not thinking but living in the present - feeling yourself breathing, savouring the food that's in front of you, or hearing the music in the background. So much contentment and perspective can be found in the "right now."

Be present with people, too. Too often in conversation with others, we get lost in our own thoughts and fail to really listen. We focus more on what we'll say next than what the other person says now. A bright side might hide in their words. And when we truly listen, we may learn and be enriched by the words they share. As Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh wrote, "The flower, the sky, and your loved one, you can only meet in the present moment."

Show your appreciation. Get outside of your head and find something to appreciate in someone else. It can be small - just show it. Appreciating in your heart is one thing. Reaching out to hug or hold a hand in thanks is another. In the embrace of appreciation, you may get a glimmer of new hope. the full article on at

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