13 Oct For more happiness…reject negative thoughts and choose more positive ones
Every now and then someone publishes an article refering to the dangers of positive thinking. The argument is that too much positive thinking might not always be good for us, and for our happiness, and in fact, might actually make us unhappier!
There's some truth to this BUT ONLY if by "too much" positive thinking one means UNREALISTICALLY positive thinking. There's no doubt that if thinking is unrealistic then it can be dangerous because that set's one up for failure and ultimately leads to disappointment and frustration.
But the problem here isn't, in my humble opinion, excessive positivity it is, more accurately, excessive unrealism! These are different and the difference is important because there's no doubt that appropriate and realistic positive thinking is good for us. The emphasis needs to be, clearly, on reality rather than positivity. And it's important not to throw out the baby with the bathwater because again, realistically positive thinking is indubitably good for our happiness.
I'd love to know what you think about this and about the importance and/or benefits of positive versus realistic thinking so let us know what you think by posting your comments HERE on our Facebook page.
And while you're pondering this important issue you might also like to check out an interesting article recently published on the BBC News site; it begins thus…
One reason optimists retain a positive outlook even in the face of evidence to the contrary has been discovered, say researchers.
A study, published in Nature Neuroscience, suggests the brain is very good at processing good news about the future.
However, in some people, anything negative is practically ignored – with them retaining a positive world view.
The authors said optimism did have important health benefits.
Scientists at University College London said about 80% of people were optimists, even if they would not label themselves as such.
They rated 14 people for their level of optimism and tested them in a brain scanner.
Each was asked how likely 80 different "bad events" – including a divorce or having cancer – were to happen.
They were then told how likely this was in reality. At the end of the session, the participants were asked to rate the probabilities again.
There was a marked difference in the updated scores of optimists depending on whether the reality was good or bad news.
Dr Tali Sharot, lead researcher, gave the example of the risk of cancer being set at 30%.
If the patient thought their risk was 40%, then at the end of the experiment they downgraded their own risk to about 31%, she said.
However, if the patient originally thought their risk was 10%, they only marginally increased their risk – they "leaned a little bit, but not a lot".
You can read the full and original article HERE and don't forget to have your say and to let us know what you think about happiness and positive thoughts HERE on The Happiness Institute's Facebook page.