Think better

Think better

For a change I will start with a question—do pessimistic people have poorer health than optimists?

Pessimists tend to see the negative in any and every situation, give them an option and they will see the drawbacks rather than the possibilities of taking it up. So how does that impact on their life, what does it do to or for them.

 They might say that recognising the down side of things helps avoid disappointment. They may say they are being realistic, that they are not raising false hopes for themselves.

Will having that train of thought  generally stop them doing things or will they be determined to survive /conquer despite the odds ( as they see them)?

A pessimist will often quote the phrase that they feel vindicates their view--- and by the way they will not thank you for thinking that they are “ in the wrong” for their opinions, they feel they are practical, down to earth realists. That phrase is Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. They see this as being ready for the inevitable calamity that will come their way.

So how does this impact on their health.

If given a diagnosis of a serious condition some people will ask “ When am I going to die” but others will say “How are you/ we / I going to deal with it.

The first person has an expectation from the outset of a negative outcome, they may go away and consider  how to make provision for their family etc. when they are no longer around, drawing up wills, arranging finances, planning the departure.

 The second person may go away and research the condition, look at trends in treatments, identify new discoveries, seek alternative methods of treatment, analyse the options and take an active part in promoting their chances of survival.

 While the first person eats, drinks and makes merry in anticipation of looming disaster the second may tailor the dietary intake to maximise the bodies defence systems.

 On that basis it looks as if the answer to that first question leans towards YES

So----If they do  have poorer health it appears that they are creating a self fulfilling prophesy. This is what is known as self limiting beliefs.

I once saw a documentary about an affluent middle class family--- the detached house, Volvo estate, 4 privately educated children, Labrador, both parents in “The professions”. A busy life, early morning mayhem  getting everyone up and out on time and lots of after school activities  They had among those children one with Downs syndrome.  He was 14  and although he had the distinctive appearance that goes with the condition in the house he appeared to function just like his siblings. When asked how he was able to function at this level the mother , almost dismissively said “It’s survive or go under in this house, it is so busy that everyone is expected to play their part and muck in, Joseph is part of the family end of” This was the key; no one said he wont be able to ….. and Joseph did not know that he had limitations, he was treated like everyone else and, perhaps more slowly or with more effort he, in the main, performed like everyone else.

The point of the story, as if you haven’t already picked it up, is that what limits us is what we believe we can or cannot do. That might be affected or re-enforced by what we think  others  think of us too.

We can easily block ourselves in and cut off routes by having these pre-conceived ideas--- the danger is that we do not realise that is what they are, we take such thoughts as cast iron fact. We tell ourselves people like me don’t /cant/ would never. And equally “Because of who I am / where I come from I will----, I have to------, I will be seen as”  etc.

Can the pessimist become an optimist? Firstly  would they want to be? They already think they are the sensible, grounded ones so what is the incentive for them to change their way of thinking? Can they be sure that by changing their view of the world their health will improve and how do you prove it to them?

Perhaps that story  will get them thinking about thinking, and, if they seek some assistance,  when they have learned to view things in a different way they might find that their motto becomes Hope for the best  and prepare for the worst, because hope inspires, motivates and anticipates.

Small shifts, small changes, small steps make massive differences.

PMI Positive Mental Attitude

And if you need help with that --- come talk to me.



© Martin Williams 2013/15/16