The situation around the world seems to be growing worse every day, but do not let it dampen your spirit.
Receiving bad news tends to make people feel hopeless. They become pessimistic, even with their personal predicaments.
Pessimism is characterised by a negative attitude. They think of the worst-case scenario, no matter how improbable they may be, instead of hoping for the best possible outcome.
There are some benefits that one can gain from pessimism. It can make a person become more observant and analytic, identifying each possible bad consequence of an action and then preparing a comprehensive solution to the problem.
However, they do not exactly have positive experiences and enjoy life. Pessimism comes hand in hand with anxiety and other mental health conditions.
Turn that Frown Upside Down
Moreover, pessimism has been linked with premature death. When a person anticipates a negative event, their blood pressure rises, their heart beats faster, their muscles tense. If it happens frequently, it might affect sleep.
A recently-published study found that, among the almost 3,000 respondents, those who identified as an optimist were more likely to see old age compared to those who said they were pessimists. Pessimists had a 2.2 times higher risk of dying of coronary heart disease than optimists.
The scientists involved in the study explained that pessimism affects the functions of certain parts of the body which can lead to heart disease. This does not mean that all optimists are saved from dying of coronary heart disease later in life, but it does confirm that pessimism is bad for one’s physical health as well as mental well-being.
So, what can a pessimist do to change their outlook in life?
You Need Therapy
Speaking to a mental health professional will benefit everyone, regardless of whether they are going through a difficult situation or just want to change the way they deal with their personal experiences. A pessimist can very well gain good things from utilising counselling services.
Going through cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, which is one of the most common treatments for anxiety, can change a person’s tendency to think of negative thoughts that typically worsen their anxiety and depression. The therapist may suggest that the patient start writing a journal to identify patterns of bad behaviour or use relaxation techniques when they feel overwhelmed with emotions.
Count Your Blessings
You do not have to be religious to be able to count your blessings. The practice of mindfulness, which is all about focusing on what is happening now rather than looking far into the future, has plenty of lessons to teach you.
One technique often used in mindfulness is writing a gratitude journal. The activity is simple: every day, you have to identify five or more things in your life that you are thankful for. It does not have to be grand; a warm cup of coffee in the morning or a filling meal at lunch can be an item that is included in your gratitude journal. It does not take a lot of your time, either. A few minutes of recognising what matters in life, and what makes you happy, can completely change the way you think.
Offer a Helping Hand
There are a lot of bad things happening in the world, but you are not completely powerless. You can make changes that have a positive impact on the lives of people around you.
You do not have to be a superpowered hero nor do you have to be obscenely rich to make the world a better place. Donating to a non-profit organisation, joining rallies that demand for justice, or supporting a friend who is going through a difficult situation can make a difference.
Helping is also an instant mood-booster. Research found that people who help others are happier and more productive. Moreover, they tend to be healthier and wealthier.
Seeing others thrive because of your help can make you feel more optimistic.
Absorb Other People’s Positivism
The company you keep alters your outlook in life. If you hang around people who expect the worst in everything and everyone, chances are, you will pick up the same attitude toward life, too.
If you want to change the way you think, then be around people who think differently from you. Being exposed to different perspectives will alter yours. You will gain a much better viewpoint by befriending optimists.
Being a pessimist is not necessarily bad, but it can negatively affect your life if you look at every aspect of your life in a bad light. You should train yourself to think positively and believe that good things happen, too.