All About Pessimism

The glass is half-empty and storm-clouds loom overhead (never with a silver lining). Pessimists get a lot of flak for negativity, and their health may take a beating, too. But they make better leaders and are more resistant to false advertising. Having realistic expectations may actually be a recipe for happiness. Try a daily dose of cynicism, but don't let excessive worry take over your life.

Recent posts on Pessimism

I Have a Flight Scheduled and It's Snowing. Should I Cancel?

By Tom Bunn L.C.S.W. on January 04, 2018 in Conquer Fear Of Flying
Anxious fliers feel safer when in control. Since someone else flies the plane, being informed is as close to being in control as they can get. Information rarely reassures them.
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A Happiness Formula for Difficult Times

The key is to stop fighting life and instead roll with it.

Why Uniqueness Is Not So Important for the Meaning of Life

Some people mistakenly believe that non-unique lives must be meaningless.

The Monistic Mistake About the Meaning of Life

Some people wrongly hold that in order to have a meaningful life, they must commit to one source of meaningfulness throughout their whole life.

How Mentally Strong People Think (It's Not Always Positive)

There's a lot to be said for positive thinking, but it won't make you mentally strong. Here's how to train your brain to think differently.

Negative Self-Talk: Don't Let It Overwhelm You

By Fran Simone Ph.D. on December 04, 2017 in A Family Affair
Is negative self-talk wearing you down? You have the power to change it.

The Perfectionist Mistake About the Meaning of Life, Part 2

Would rejecting perfectionism about the meaning of life push us to mediocrity and meaninglessness?

Not All Pessimists Are the Same

By Arthur J. Clark Ed.D. on October 28, 2017 in Dawn of Memories
Distinguishing Pessimistic Trends through Early Childhood Recollections


By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on October 26, 2017 in How To Do Life
Advice distilled and honesty radical.

Courageous Parents, Smart Kids

How much does your parenting really matter? New research shows that just believing in the importance of your parenting can make your child smarter. The connection explained.

Looking Into The Eyes of Your Older Self

Do you worry about growing older? You are not alone.

The Flight Attendant Said My Leg Was Going to Fall Off

Medical advice should make people feel better, but it's easy to make them feel worse, by only paying attention to what you say, not what they hear.

I Read the News, Therefore I Am (Prejudiced)

Are you really getting the news when you flick and click?

3 Negative Thinking Patterns to Avoid — What to Do Instead

Although you can’t always control what you think, you can learn to identify when you’re sinking into a negative pattern and reboot to a more constructive cognitive pathway.

Two Mistakes About the Meaning of Life

Wrong views inhibit people from realizing meaning in their lives.

Why Suicide May Be the Worst Option of All

Don't choose to have no choice.

The Optimism Challenge: Specific Strategies

By David Dillard-Wright Ph.D. on July 14, 2017 in Boundless
Here are a few strategies for moving into a more optimistic frame of mind.

The U.S. Is Not Doing Well Socially

By Christopher Lane Ph.D. on June 24, 2017 in Side Effects
The U.S. shows growing signs of being an unhappy, divided country, according to a string of indexes measuring national happiness and well-being.

Are Not Emotions Persons?

“The only question left to be settled now is: Are women persons? And I hardly believe any of our opponents will have the hardihood to say they are not." —Susan B. Anthony
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Why Complainers Need Your Compassion

The freedom to complain is part of a healthy society. Here's how best to respond to your own, or someone else's, occasional complaining.

The Future of the World

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on June 12, 2017 in How To Do Life
A debate between an optimist and a pessimist.

Is Cynicism Ruining Your Love Life?

Being open-minded and optimistic can enhance our well-being and mental health as well as our interpersonal relationships. Cynicism will often do the opposite.

Make Negative Thinking Work for You

By Temma Ehrenfeld on May 08, 2017 in Open Gently
Don't insist on "positive thinking." Aim to think clearly.

It's Not the Glass That's Half Full/Empty; It's the Breast

By Karen L Smith MSS, LCSW on April 25, 2017 in Full Living
We judge others as dispositioned towards negativity or positivity, scarcity or abundance, as a chosen disposition. In truth, that disposition gets set in infancy.

Prove It: Overcome Negative Thinking with Targeted Action

By Joel Minden, Ph.D. on April 03, 2017 in CBT and Me
If it's difficult to restructure unrealistic thoughts, support new beliefs with evidence: change your behavior first.

Stuck in Negative Thinking? It Could Be Your Brain

Do you ever wonder why depressed people get stuck in negative thinking cycles and repetitive rumination? It turns out that this is due to a brain network gone haywire.

Are you a Luck Maker or Breaker?

How lucky are you? And if not, why not?

Why Some People Think They're Superior

All other things being equal, we like optimists more than pessimists. However, as shown by research on the hubris hypothesis, optimism can have unexpected negative consequences.

Balancing Optimism and Pessimism

By Diana Raab PhD on January 27, 2017 in The Empowerment Diary
There are optimists and pessimists, and some are a combination of the two. This blog discusses the balancing of both, and why some people are one way or the other.

5 Excuses People With Fear of Failure Make

By Guy Winch Ph.D. on January 24, 2017 in The Squeaky Wheel
Fear of failure will make your mind come up with compelling excuses that will increase your chances of failure. Here's how to catch them and correct them.