Thinking yourself happy

Girl dreaming of a bright future

Last week I gave a seminar on choosing to be happy. I explained it as follows.

Most people have been taught to look for the bad in any change first, rather than the good. This leads to the following thought process:

1. Incoming event.

2. Thought: where is the bad in it?

3: Thought: Extrapolate the consequences of those bad things

4: Ruminate on those bad things until they become catastrophes

Notice, at no point did any good get a look in?

So, what we need to do, is force ourselves to exclusively look for the good in any change, first. In fact, you need to look for as much good as you can, before thinking about any bad.

This is because this trick allows you to expand your window of tolerance, before it gets reduced when you start to understand any negative aspects of the event/change.

It also causes you to ask questions that tend to explore those potential good points, and because you are looking for good things, you are more open to accept the information you are given.

Conversely, if you are looking for the bad bits, you will focus your questioning only to uncover that bad news, you will basically dig yourself into depression, with every change that happens.

Furthermore, looking for the bad, means that you don’t trust in any change, and this mistrust may well exhibit itself as cognitive dissonance. Where you only hear information that confirms your belief that all change is bad. And by looking only at the bad, this dissonance will only ever be reinforced. Pessimism, therefore, is a decision to be depressed. Optimism is a decision to try to avoid depression.

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  • #1308373
    Barra
    Keymaster

    A short note explaining the difference between pessimism and optimism.

    [See the full post at: Thinking yourself happy]

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