How do you see the glass as half full or half empty? Are you optimistic or are you negative ? What is better for your health? And to achieve your goals in the future? These are just a few issues that have preoccupied self-help book lovers. The truth is that tending to see things in a positive way or focus only on the negative aspects will influence our mood and can interfere with our way of behaving, for example, if we see failures as an opportunity to learn and strengthen ourselves We will be improving our self-esteem and apart from feeling better we will become more competent. But, does it mean that we have to continually see the good aspect of things? Is this realistic?

Does having an optimistic attitude work?

Having an optimistic attitude towards life is related to a comprehensive improvement in the health of the person in the sense that the less concern about things, the lower the levels of anxiety and stress, there is no doubt about that. A carefree person is going to feel better both physically and psychologically, there is no denying it. But does this help you achieve your goals in the future or is it just a delusion?

On the other hand, those who defend that being optimistic does not guarantee anything are based on the fact that no matter how good a person’s attitude is, if he only stays at that, he will not achieve his wishes, therefore negative thoughts should not be denied and try avoid them, if not take advantage of them to find out what is bothering us and do something to change it. Suppressing negative thoughts makes us unconscious and also has adverse effects on our health. It is a hard blow to Positive Psychology that was born from the hand of the American Peale with his book “The power of positive thinking”. This book defended that being optimistic you will achieve your goals and that everything that happens to you in life is a matter of character. However, from this perspective , having a positive attitude is often confused with being an idiot . It is clear that not everything will go well for you just by thinking about it … Although there are people and speakers who defend the latter, it is not correct to put all the variety of opinions that defend optimism in the same bag and reduce them.

Having a positive attitude does not mean living with a false illusion of invulnerability , but rather seeing failures as opportunities for improvement, focusing on finding solutions instead of recreating in the frustration and helplessness that we feel and that leaves us in the place of victims. A positive attitude can help us in the sense that it activates us and forces us to move and change the situation we are in.

On the other hand, having an optimistic attitude does not mean denying the bad aspects, of course they are taken into account, you recognize them, you experience them and you see them as an opportunity to continue growing, from there you do not recreate yourself or think that the future It is unchangeable, on the contrary, you move to change the situation in which you find yourself because you know that you ARE CAPABLE of it if you put effort, effort, desire, sweat and tears. Just thinking positive does not work, you have to take actions, but for this you have to be motivated first, that is what the positive attitude takes care of, motivating you to change the state you are in. But of course, believing that the future is going to change just by thinking about it is not to be positive if not naive .

So what is better?

Neither positive nor negative, realistic. When something happens to us, we have to reflect and recreate our misfortune just enough because there comes a time when thinking about it is not going to make us feel better or help us solve the problem. We must flee from the catastrophic and exaggerated thoughts that only sink us further into the well but we cannot go to the other extreme either because life is not always wonderful nor do we live in the worlds of Yupi . For example, if you are fired from your job we can change the typical thought of “I will not find a job in life” for “it will cost me a lot to find a job the way things are now, but if I keep posting CVs I will end up doing it”. Repeating one message or another makes a big difference on an emotional level and you are not deceiving yourself either.

We must flee from any current that forces one to think positively but it is also true that recreating ourselves in our misfortune does not motivate us to change, it only anchors us in the role of victim. It is not the same to qualify something as “bad” than as “terrible”, the first has a solution , the second seems irreversible … It is very difficult to stay calm and be rational when life hits you hard but there are at least try it.

How to be more realistic when we see our black future?

The first thing is to find the correct adjectives and eliminate words like “terrible”, “disastrous”, “impossible”, etc. If something very hard has happened to us and you think that you are exaggerating things, you can try the following technique: make a horizontal line and to the right of the whole put the word “wonderful”, to the left “terrible or disaster”, in the middle of both put “normal”. Then write down and objectively what has happened to you, for example “my partner has left me”, without adding emotional charges (“after 3 years he has made me suffer a lot”). Try to put it in the right place on the line. Now, is it really that terrible? Between terrible and normal there is quite a distance: terrible, very bad, bad,

To help you, you will have to compare another event with other circumstances that could have happened to you and that are even worse; do you have family? friends? home? A hot dish to put in your mouth? Is that fact still in “terrible”? Then you can write down a brainstorm of ideas that could improve even a little your current state. These two simple techniques will help you get away from the situation a bit, without dramatizing it and without falling into cheap positivism.

Elle Mcdonald

I am Elle Mcdonald Specializations in Psychology . Graduated in psychology from the University of Tennessee in 2000. Diploma of Advanced Studies in the Department of Personality, Evaluation and psychological treatments with excellent results.

First Level of Master in Clinical Psychology at the Center for Behavioral Therapists (recognized with a scientific-professional nature by the College of Psychologists)

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