Pessimist: It cannot be any worse than that!
Optimist: Sure it can! It most certainly can!
Are you a pessimist, always preparing for failure? With so much bad news, pessimism seems reasonable and optimists can appear to be ridiculously naïve in the face of so much doom and gloom. Pessimism has its place, of course, and helps us prepare for the worst, which does sometimes happen. But, pessimism can be pervasive gradually taking over our lives with devastating consequences for our health, our wellbeing and our general peace of mind. The problem is that when you think negatively all the time, that message gets reinforced and embedded in your brain. If you start thinking, and more importantly acting more positively, however, new pathways are laid down. The more positive you are the more reinforced these new pathways will become. (From Pessimist to Optimist? How Positive Actions can Change your Brain.)
Are you a pessimist оr an optimist? Take an Optimism Test. Now you know.
The ability to see the positive rather than the negative affects our ability to cope with stress and adopt a significantly more constructive solutions to various problems.
Can you change your attitude and become an optimist? According to a study in the laboratory of Mark Baldwin of McGill University in Montreal, Canada, you can. The method of achieving such a change is called cognitive bias modification, CBM).
Can you quickly find a happy face in the picture above? The ability to quickly see the happy face is determined by our cognitive preferences of either negative or positive.
You can practice psyching up your optimism on the Baldwin lab site. There is also a simplified version on your smartphone: for Android here, for Apple here.
The exercise is deceitfully simple. Even 5 minutes a day of such training before working hours, it is claimed, will reduce the level of cortisol (stress hormone) by 17%.