Friday, February 17, 2012

Ha! I knew it! Because I'm not a dummy!

Good to know that I wasn't crazy and that's exactly how I see it and how this has worked for me all my life....right down to the last line...maybe that's why I feel so much pressure from everybody right now and let me tell won't work. :) it will just achieve the opposite of what you are trying to do.

Cheer up. Be happy. Find the silver lining. Smile.
If you didn't know any better, you might say we're a country that preaches optimism. But some 30 to 35 percent of Americans employ a calculated form of negative thinking—called defensive pessimism—that can lead to very positive results, according to Julie K. Norem, PhD, a professor of psychology at Wellesley College.
We're not talking about a general disposition to see the glass half-empty: "Defensive pessimism is a strategy used in specific situations to manage anxiety, fear, and worry," says Norem, who has conducted seminal research on the subject. "Defensive pessimists," she says, "prepare for a situation by setting low expectations for themselves, then follow up with a very detailed assessment of everything that may go wrong." Once they've imagined the full range of bad outcomes, they start figuring out how they'll handle them, and that gives them a sense of control.
"What's intriguing about defensive pessimists," adds Lawrence Sanna, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who has also studied the phenomenon, "is that they tend to be very successful people, and so their low opinion of the outcome isn't realistic; they use it to motivate themselves to perform better." For example, an executive is getting ready to pitch a project, and she thinks beforehand, "The client is going to be really difficult; he's not going to like my proposal. I have to make sure I explain things very clearly." "She uses defensive pessimism as a tool to work through all the possibilities so she's prepared for everything, even failure," Sanna says. "And if she does fail, she's ready for it, so it's not so catastrophic."
A piece of advice from the experts may give you a lift: Don't listen to appeals from friends or family to look on the bright side. "Research shows that if you pressure defensive pessimists into being optimistic, or try to manipulate their mood, their performance deteriorates," says Andrew J. Elliot, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of Rochester. One of the most frequent comments Norem got after publishing The Positive Power of Negative Thinking in 2001 was "Thank you. I can finally tell my mother to shut up."
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Sharon said...

Aah, I guess I am a defensive pessimist! Nice to have a name for it! I get disgusted with people telling me to smile, when I have every right to feel bad. Yep, let me feel bad and I will find a way to get over it - in my own time!

I remember one of the mental health people insisting I take some antidepressant so I would feel happy again - after my husband had an affair. I just couldn't see the wisdom in taking medication so I could run around in a false cheerfulness, after he had betrayed me. I needed to work it out, not medicate!

Gee I hope I read your post right... That curly lettering is a bit difficult for me to read...

Tina said...

I know doesn't it feel good just to have a name for something. :) Made my day when I found it...and I so agree, we will get over things in our own time, when we have worked through them on our terms...I so wholehearted am with you there Sharon.