Recently with a client, we were discussing how pessimists typically view optimists as unrealistic in their focus on the positive. Pessimism, as you may know is often exhibited as a tendency to see the worst in a situation and pessimists habitually gloss over or downplay any positives they may recognize. And even though pessimists might actually take pride in their ability to be “realists” (like my client did) they are often unaware of the cost.
Several years ago Martin Seligman from the University of Pennsylvania found that even when optimists were not being realistic, their ability to accentuate the positive resulted in more satisfying and fulfilling lives. And Barbara Frederickson from the University of North Carolina has coined the “Broaden and Build” theory of savoring positive emotions. She has proven that people who cultivate their positive emotions by savoring them build long lasting resources that 1) enhance life satisfaction, 2) increase the likelihood of experiencing positive emotions in the future, and 3) foster resilience for negative events that are experienced.
Whether or not you would consider yourself a pessimist, we could all benefit from cultivating positivity. Here are some tips on practicing savouring in your life:
We wish you well in your endeavor to increase positivity and we hope that your application of this helps you to build resilience in your life. If you or anyone you know is struggling with a pessimistic view of life, one of our clinicians at Westmount Psychological Services would be happy to help. We are so fortunate and proud that we get to help people increase their overall sense of wellness every day.
Written by: Shawna Atkins, Ph.D., OPQ.