At Home with Lorraine Kelly 2013 - (Page 66)
Happiness is a
A regular dose of pessimism might just be what the doctor ordered.
Find out why it doesn’t always pay to look on the bright side of life…
The study in America involved two
groups of managers; one group that
was trained in the technique of
mental contrasting and another that
Telling yourself you ‘must’
do this or you ‘should’ do
that will only lead to guilt
and frustration. You’ll just be
setting yourself up for
wasn’t. Two weeks after the trial
period, the researchers found that
those who had learned the mental
contrasting technique had achieved
more of their goals than those who
hadn’t had the training.
The study also discovered that those
individuals who were overly optimistic
turned out to be counterproductive
– they tended to visualise their aims as
already achieved but, in fact this gave
them a false sense of security as the
task had not yet been completed.
This recent research backs up
results of another study, explained by
neuroscientist, Tali Sharot in her
book The Optimum Bias: A Tour of the
Irrationally Positive Brain (prices vary,
Pantheon). Non-depressed people
generally have a less accurate and
overly optimistic view of their true
ability to influence events than those
who are suffering with depression.
Turning negativity on its head
Achieve your goals in life – no matter how big or small – by anticipating the worst straightaway
There needs to be a fine line between ‘healthy
pessimism’ and downright depression. So how
can people know where to draw the line to stay
on the positive side of negativity?
‘Anticipating things that might go wrong is
actually a positive form of negative thinking.
If you’re going to do some public speaking, for
example, imagining the obstacles that lie ahead
makes you better prepared for them. It’s known
as defensive pessimism,’ says Mark Coulson, a
psychologist from Middlesex University.
And when it comes to achieving what you
want out of life, try this tip from Sussex-based
psychotherapist, Mark Maitland. ‘If you’ve got an
ambition – whether it’s to go jogging three times
a week or to set up your own business – don’t tell
anyone.’ This is particularly beneficial in the early
days of trying to achieve your goal. Mark goes on to
add: ‘There’s evidence that if you have an aspiration
and you tell people before you’ve set about doing
it, their feedback can make you lose your motivation
– because you feel like you’ve already done it.’
Psychologist, Gabriele Oettingen, has carried out
experiments that support this way of thinking.
One study looking at ‘positive fantasies about the
future’ found that spending time and energy
focusing on how well things could go, reduces
most people’s motivation to achieve them. n
Words: Jo Willacy | Photograph: Getty Images
re you a glass halffull person or a
Few people would
they’re the latter.
After all, you’re always told to think
positively and look on the bright
side of life – in fact, former Monty
Python star, Eric Idle, led an 80,000
strong crowd through a rendition
of the infamous song at the 2012
Olympics Closing Ceremony.
However, trying to be positive all
the time can, ultimately, become
draining and hard work. There’s a
school of thought that argues – and
has been doing so for centuries – that
it’s the relentless effort to feel happy
and achieve certain goals, that is
precisely what makes people miserable.
And the constant efforts to ignore
the negative – feelings of insecurity,
uncertainty, failure and sadness
– are actually the exact reasons why
you often feel insecure, anxious or
unhappy in the first place.
That’s why, now, new research
suggests that not seeing everything
through rose-tinted glasses is, in fact,
better for you and future successes.
Just how has this sea-change come
about? Researchers at New York
University have been looking into
a strategy called ‘mental contrasting’
which involves thinking about the joy
and pleasure you feel in achieving
your goals but at the same time
considering any hurdles you might
have to encounter on the way. In
other words, it could be argued,
a healthy dose of realism.
066 | MARCH 2013
72-73 Glass half empty FINAL.indd 66
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of At Home with Lorraine Kelly 2013
LORRAINE KELLY UPDATE
SAVE THE DATE
READING BETWEEN THE LINES
BEAUTIES IN BLUE
BAGS OF STYLE
IT'S A WRAP
IF THE SHOE FITS
THE BIG REVEAL
GET THE LOOK
LONG REIGN LORRAINE
MOTHER KNOWS BEST
AGE IS JUST A NUMBER
EXPECT THE WORST
WOMEN'S HEALTH A-Z
COULD YOU BE DEPRESSED?
GET BACK TO YOURSELF
WHAT A PAIN
A TASTE OF ITALY
DRINK IT UP
EXERCISE'S NEW GROOVE
SPRING INTO SHAPE
OUT AND ABOUT
I LOVE MY NEW BODY'
FLASH A SMILE
YOUNG AT HEART
SAFELY DOES IT
LOOK AFTER THE PENNIES
THE GOOD LIFE
CLEAN UP YOUR ACT
WHAT A BLINDER!
TAKE TO THE FLOOR
HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW?
OFF THE BEATEN TRACK
THE EMERALD ISLE
REST AND RELAXATION
A MAN'S BEST FRIEND
WE LOVE BEING CRAFTY!'
MAKE THE CUT
THE ICING ON THE CAKE
LORRAINE'S ROAD TO SUCCESS
THE WORLD OF WORK
AN AGE OLD PROFESSION
THE ONLY WAY IS UP
JUST THE JOB
MOVE OVER, MISTER!
BEYOND THE SHOP FLOOR
THE BANK JOB
ARE YOU COVERED?
CAREFULLY DOES IT
At Home with Lorraine Kelly 2013