"When we go to therapy, what if we focused on the good instead of the bad?" Of all the highly insightful things Dr. Deepika Chopra—a professional psychologist and self-described "optimism doctor™"—talks about during a Friday morning speaker session at Ritual's Los Angeles showroom, this seems like a pretty simple ask. But I find myself continuing to chew it over in the days after the event, until I'm voicing it aloud to my own therapist the following week. "When things are going well in my life, why do these sessions seem so much harder?" I ask.
The answer isn't actually all that complicated—and it's a reflection of why we need more voices like Chopra's to show us that we're all capable of optimism. We're just not used to it: When we've embraced a pattern of moving through hardship—especially in a world that seems more precarious than ever—seeing the good can feel almost foreign or uncomfortable. The irony? "Someone who sees obstacles and roadblocks and knows they have the power to overcome is an optimist," says Chopra. In other words, many of us are already there—we're just not used to identifying as such.
But that's Chopra's mission—not to transform her clients and her followers, but to unlock a mindset that's probably already glimmering beneath the surface. And since she noted during that conversation that small but meaningful habits can help foster this paradigm shift, it only felt right to keep it going by asking how she starts her mornings on the right note.
On making over my morning routine:
"I used to find the mornings rushed and stressful, mainly because I used to be the type of person that would sleep in as much as I could (and then even a bit more than that), and then I would be in a mad rush to get out of the door. Since becoming a mother, I have made an effort to mindfully curate my mornings as this can sometimes be the only part of the day I get some solo time. My mornings are now the most peaceful and stress free part of my day, and that is all by intentional design. I wake up a bit before my son and I spend that extra time awake in bed. This short amount of time with absolutely nothing to do or nowhere to go but just be under my covers and enjoying the morning light is literally crucial to my day!
"I then spend a small amount of time setting some intentions for the day before I practice one of my own five-minute meditation visualizations. I’ve heard that you aren’t 'supposed' to meditate in bed, but, I absolutely meditate in bed and I believe meditating is a personal practice and there really shouldn’t be any shoulds or should nots. After meditating, I get out of bed, put my favorite robe on and go downstairs to have my daily hot water with lemon and spend 10 minutes or so answering a couple emails or catching up on some research or the news."