Does depression cause pessimism?
Or is it the other way around? Can pessimism lead to depression?
There is such a strong relationship between depression and pessimism, that people often argue that pessimism is a hallmark of depression. It is important to appreciate that pessimism is not one of the symptoms of depression, but a major factor that contributes to depression.
For this reason, one of the most powerful things you can do to become and remain depression-free is to be optimistic instead of pessimistic.
Indeed, the placebo effect for depression proves how powerful optimism can be, since it demonstrates that just the slight hope that a person can stop being depressed is the most important and powerful factor for eliminating depression.
Right now, you’re going to learn more about why optimism benefits you so much, as well as how to develop optimism the smart way, so that you find it easy and natural to more optimistic in life.
Optimistic vs pessimistic thinking styles: the big difference
How does pessimism lead to depression?
It’s very simple: when you’re being pessimistic, you’re ruminating and dwelling on negative value, which is one of the biggest factors for stress, anxiety, and depression. After all, you’re focusing on negative things, and the likelihood they will happen, which naturally makes you feel miserable.
The good news is that optimism has the opposite effect, which is why there is such a strong relationship between optimism and happiness, and which is also why optimism is so powerful for eliminating depression.
Think about it: when you’re being optimistic, you’re focusing on good, positive things, and the likelihood they will happen. For example, you’re focusing on the possibility you will become happy and depression-free, and the likelihood it will happen if you improve your thinking and lifestyle.
Seeing this positive value naturally makes you feel happier and better, and it makes life more meaningful, worthwhile, and enjoyable. And believing that you can achieve and experience this positive value naturally makes you more self confident and increases your self esteem.
So when you stop being pessimistic and start being optimistic, you create a huge, big positive difference in your life. The effect is so strong that some people claim you can cure depression by being optimistic.
How to be more optimistic the smart way
It’s important to appreciate that it’s neither right nor wrong to be either optimistic or pessmistic. Instead, it’s just smarter to be optimistic, since it benefits you so much, and since you have a choice in how you think about things.
To appreciate this, consider how you can see a glass as half empty or half full. These are both equally valid views, so neither one is right or wrong.
However, if you learn that seeing the glass as half empty naturally makes you feel depressed and creates a great deal of stress and anxiety, while seeing the glass as half full makes you feel fantastic and happier, then it makes no sense at all to see the glass as half empty.
Instead, it’s much smarter and makes complete sense to see the glass as half full, which is a valid view that benefits you, rather than hurts you.
Once you appreciate this, it’s much easier to be optimistic rather than pessimistic. So this is how to stop being pessimistic and become more optimistic quickly, by understanding that it’s the smarter, better choice in every way.
How to increase optimism and be more successful
To further appreciate how optimism is beneficial and useful, consider how a baseball player can be optimistic that he will get a hit when it’s his turn to bat, or be pessimistic about it.
If he’s optimistic about getting a hit, playing baseball is naturally much for fun and enjoyable for him. Also, he’s more energized and motivated to focus on hitting the ball, since he thinks he’s got a chance to get a hit.
The result is that he is more likely to swing and get a hit with this optimism.
On the other hand, if the baseball player is pessimistic about getting a hit, playing baseball is naturally less fun and enjoyable for him, and can even be frustrating and depressing. Furthermore, he’s less energized and motivated to focus on hitting the ball, since he’s pessimistic about his chances.
The result is that he is less likely to swing and get a hit with this pessimism.
The lesson, here, is that optimism not only immediately affects your experience of life and how much you enjoy it, but it can also affect outcomes and how successful you are achieving things you want to achieve. So choose to be optimistic for your own good.
The difference between optimistic and pessimistic people
The difference between a pessimist and optimist is simply the difference between a pessimistic thinking style and an optimistic thinking style. That’s it.
The trouble with pessimistic people is that they tend to think they’re smarter for seeing things pessimistically. Indeed, they often think they’re seeing things objectively or “realistically”, and they think optimists are delusional people who don’t see things the way they really are.
This idea is often expressed by saying that optimists see the world through rose-colored glasses.
Fair enough. Optimists do subjectively view the world in a positive way. They focus on things of postive value, rather than negative value, which is why they see a glass as half full rather than half empty.
But guess what? Pessimists see the world through dark-stained glasses. Their glitch in thinking is that they think they see the world the way it “really is”, without appreciating that they are wearing their very own glasses, which completely distorts their experience of life in a negative way.
How to be less pessimistic the smart way
The smart way to stop being pessimistic is to appreciate that pessimism is just a subjective choice that isn’t good or beneficial in any way. Even when a pessimistic viewpoint is valid or understandable, there is still always a much better way of thinking about things.
To appreciate this, consider how pessimists or “realists” will say that a baseball player probably won’t get a hit when he goes up to bat. After all, the statistics are on their side.
This might be the case, and an entirely valid view, but choosing to focus on the probability that a baseball player won’t get a hit is a clearly subjective choice. It is just as valid to focus on the possibility that he will get a hit, even if that likelihood is not as great.
In other words, pessimists and “realists” are never being objective, although they often trick themselves into thinking they are. They are just being subjective in a different way, and when you consider that their type of subjectivity works against them, it’s not nearly as smart as they think it is.
Once you appreciate this, it’s much easier to let go of pessimistic thinking. So this is how to overcome pessimism faster and easier by appreciating that it’s just a subjective way of seeing the world that works against you.
Learned optimism: how to stay optimistic no matter what
The smart way to be optimistic is to be optimistic for your own good. Once you appreciate that pessimism is valid, but useless and counter-productive, while optimism is valid, useful, and beneficial, it’s easy and natural for you to be more optimistic.
After all, optimism is just the smarter, no-brainer choice, especially when you appreciate that it naturally helps eliminate stress and anxiety, and helps you become and remain a happier, depression-free person.
To make it easier to remain optimistic, focus on good things you want to happen, knowing that you can accept and handle other situations and outcomes if they occur. This makes it easy for your mind to not bring alternate, distracting, “what if” scenarios to your attention.
For example, the smartest way for a baseball player to remain optimistic is to focus on the possbility of getting a hit, knowing that he can accept and handle any other outcome.
By doing this, he doesn’t worry about a possible strike out, or the opposing fans jeering him, and so on. Even if he’s aware of these possibilities, they aren’t important to him or a concern, so it’s easy for him to remain optimistic and focused on getting a hit.
So starting today, start developing this type of intelligent optimism, where you focus on good, positive things you want to achieve and experience, knowing that you can definitely accept and handle other situations and outcomes.
By doing so, you’ll find it much easier to remain optimistic, which in turn makes it easier for you to remain happier and depression-free.
You are here:
Section 7 Lessons:
- How to handle negative emotions with confidence
- How to get rid of bad feelings intelligently
- How to stop feeling sorry for yourself
- How to get rid of stress and depression
- How to be optimistic & stop being pessimistic
- How to get rid of anxiety and depression fast
- How to get rid of guilt