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

Big Projects, Big Mood Swings

Learn why we bounce between optimism and pessimism while working on large projects. And discover 6 ways to deal with these mood swings.

Is Depression 'Contagious'?

Can exposure to depression cause you to become depressed? The answer might surprise you.

The Power of Positive Self-Talk

One of the ways to recognize, promote, and sustain optimism, hope, and joy is to intentionally fill our thoughts with positive self-talk.

Silent Scream

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on May 08, 2016 in How To Do Life
The quiet alienation inside many people.

The Curse of Apathy: Sources and Solutions

What causes the feeling of non-feeling?

Voting With Our Ancestral Brain

By Eric Dietrich Ph.D. on April 26, 2016 in Excellent Beauty
A good psychological theory suggests that attraction to Trump as a candidate could be written into our DNA. Could it also be now a mental disease?

Jackie Robinson Day And Diversity in Major League Baseball

By E. Paul Zehr Ph.D. on April 15, 2016 in Black Belt Brain
It's important to reflect on the importance of honoring and celebrating Jackie Robinson's efforts and career but also to pause and consider how far things have truly progressed.

Are You an Optimist or a Pessimist?

Did you know that optimists are healthier, have happier relationships, get less depressed, are more successful, make more money, and are healthier than pessimists?
sgtphoto purchased via

Hillary Plays the Cynicism Card

Cynicism results from the frustration of our needs for meaning and purpose and plagues our politics.

A State of the Union and Future We Can Believe In

By Mark Goulston M.D., F.A.P.A. on January 12, 2016 in Just Listen
Like many, I am eagerly awaiting to hear President Obama's final State of the Union address and I've been thinking of what I hope I'll hear.

Your Brain Can Be Trained to Self-Regulate Negative Thinking

By Christopher Bergland on January 10, 2016 in The Athlete's Way
New research shows that mindfulness training can improve your ability to self-regulate emotions and reduce negative thinking.

Schopenhauer Talks Back

By Joachim I Krueger Ph.D. on January 08, 2016 in One Among Many
Before your next argument, review Schopenhauer’s “Art of being right.” Beg the question, turn the tables, or make your point ex concessis. Whatever it takes!

Depressed and Looking Forward to the End of the World?

By Peter Toohey Ph.D. on January 01, 2016 in Annals of the Emotions
Good natured and bad tempered depressives, going to the movies with Lars von Trier, centaur planets, Saturn, being anxious, and the end of the world.

Thanksgrieving: How Inevitable Decline Can Make Us Grateful

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on November 26, 2015 in Ambigamy
A grateful song I wrote for those times when it's hard to feel grateful.

In Praise of Seriousness

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on November 24, 2015 in How To Do Life
Upbeat is overrated.
David Bruce

Letting Go of Fear of Failure-Part IV

By Jim Taylor Ph.D. on November 17, 2015 in The Power of Prime
Fear of failure is about the perceptions that you hold about failure and, for the vast majority of people, those perceptions are entirely disconnected from the reality of their lives. You perceive that bad things will happen if you fail, but the reality is that nothing particularly bad, aside from some disappointment, will likely result from a failure.

20 Other Possible Reasons They Said No

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on November 10, 2015 in Ambigamy
A rejection is not necessarily all about you. Here are some examples of other things it could be about.

7 Ways to Deal With Negative Thoughts

With practice, you can replace negative thinking patterns with thoughts that actually help you. And that can make a huge difference in your day-to-day happiness.

Making Patients Feel Worse Without Really Trying

Doctors can do the right thing and still make their patients feel worse instead of better. It depends on whether they pay attention to what the information they use and pass on means not just to them but to the people they're talking to.

Why Are Optimists Smiling? Are They Blind to Reality?

By Arthur J. Clark Ed.D. on August 25, 2015 in Dawn of Memories
Understanding a Person's Outlook on Life Through Early Recollections

Trumping Frustration Is Not the Same as Trumping Fear

By Mark Goulston M.D., F.A.P.A. on August 24, 2015 in Just Listen
Mr. Trump, inflaming people's frustration will "play in Peoria," but what are you going to do about people's fears?

How to Stop Irritating Thoughts in Seconds

By Steve Sisgold on August 19, 2015 in Life in a Body
To stop negative thinking on demand, I find it wise to step back and remember that you always have a choice when it comes to your thinking

Touch and Go Relationships – Do they have to be Superficial?

By Randi Gunther Ph.D. on August 14, 2015 in Rediscovering Love
How can we rise above when new intimate relationships don’t pan out, and multiple failures take their toll on optimistic expectations.

Finding a New Job After 40

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on July 20, 2015 in Media Spotlight
Employment statistics show that the length of time spent being unemployed has tripled for workers over the age of fifty-five. Whether due to outdated job skills or age-related bias, older job seekers often find themselves being forced to drop out of the work force completely or taking jobs paying far less than what they once earned.

A Debate: Is Our World Getting Better?

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on July 17, 2015 in How To Do Life
Looking at the big picture can help us approach our lives more wisely.

A Debate: Should You Be Optimistic About Work?

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on July 15, 2015 in How To Do Life
Looking at the big picture can help you make better career decisions.

Is a Cannabinoid as Sweet by Any Other Name?

By Theodore Dalrymple M.D. on July 09, 2015 in Psychiatric Disorder
Oblivion, annihilation, amnesia: for many, they are the highest pleasure.

My Daughter Is Going To College And I Am Terrified

How To Handle Anxiety About College

4 Reasons We Should All Give Up Cynicism

Cynicism feels protective. A little cynicism, however, goes a long way. Too much mistrust and cynics find themselves losing more than they gain. If you default to cynicism in your thinking and interactions, make an effort to tap into your more optimistic side.