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How to Stop Being Pessimistic and Change Your Mindset, To Live Your Best Life Starting Today



Pessimism can rob you of happiness and leave you feeling like you are always waiting for the next thing to go wrong. When you think negatively, it becomes a self-defeating cycle. You can’t enjoy your wins, and it becomes hard to find motivation and drive. Positive thinking is often hailed as the way to change your personality type and become more optimistic.

Determined to be less pessimistic, you wonder if the real solution is to “learn” to think more positively? You know you “should” keep a gratitude journal, celebrate every small win, and repeat positive affirmations daily. Yet these methods only ever change how you feel temporarily. Research has likewise indicated that trying to force yourself to think more positively doesn’t work in the long term.

Pessimism and Future-Orientated Psychology

Although you feel you are meant for more, you are flooded with pessimism, making you feel stuck. You start worrying about your future, making each day feel a little more challenging than before. One study into pessimism, anxiety and depression also showed that trying to be more optimistic is not the solution.

Another area of psychology is future-oriented psychology. This investigates how the act of anticipating future scenarios is linked to emotion, anxiety, and depression. One paper called Depression and Prospection, published in the British Journal of Clinical Psychology indicated that pessimism is negatively linked to three ways of thinking.

“Three Kinds of Faulty Prospection”

(Roepke and Seligman, 2015 p23)

  1. Poor generation of possible futures
  2. Poor evaluation of possible futures
  3. Negative beliefs about the future

The research further indicated that feeling depressed can sustain this way of thinking pessimistically about the future. This intensifies negative thought patterns and maintains adverse thinking about future situations. The paper concluded that there is an implication that future-focused interventions could be more effective than types of therapy that are based on the past and the present.

Defensive Pessimism

There has also been extensive research into how pessimism and negative thinking patterns serve as a psychological defense mechanism. This theory is based on Freud’s principles of interaction between Id, Ego, and Superego. The ego is formed between the ages of one and two and uses coping strategies subconsciously. The six main defense mechanisms are:

  1. Denial is when your ego does not allow you to accept reality.
  2. Rationalization, your ego justifies your behavior.
  3. Sublimation, your ego transforms how you recall unacceptable behavior.
  4. Displacement, your ego replaces impulsive behavior with a safer alternative action.
  5. Projection, your ego transfers unwanted thoughts, feelings, and behavior to the actions of other people
  6. Repression, your ego blocks memories of impulses and events that cause you pain

When you start to believe that the solution is to think more positively, you must think that there is something wrong with you. This leads your ego to instinctively start to try to protect you with coping strategies. This is why changing your thoughts is not enough.

Pessimism and Trauma

Pessimism comes from both thoughts and feelings. Addressing just one part of why you think negatively will not resolve why you feel you can’t create the future life you want. A new concept called Aligned Intelligence® has been developed by Mia Hewett, Life and Business Coach and author of the best-selling book, Meant For More. Her methodology goes back to the source of all negative thinking from emotions you experience during a traumatic event, generally before the age of four.

A traumatic event is any event that breaks your trust in your caregivers. This is likely to be something you don’t even remember. It doesn’t need to be something big, it is just the first time your trust is broken, and you feel afraid. This could be when you played with your hamster, and it bit you. Your caregiver says “what did you do?” It could be when you accidentally knocked something over and were told you were clumsy or should have taken more care. You feel judged, afraid, and not good enough.

To protect you from feelings that you can’t process, your brain stores the memory of your emotions. Then when you are afraid of being judged or not believed or not being good enough, those emotions drive your behavior. This response comes from your core trauma, the first time you created your inner self split and your ego was created.

Whenever you feel afraid, fear rejection, or judgment, your ego is triggered to protect you from feeling those emotions. Often this materializes as negative thinking. When you believe that you can’t do something, you won’t even try, and if you don’t try, you can’t be rejected, judged, or fail. This is why Mia’s methodology is so unique. The negative thoughts won’t emerge by healing your trauma because you will no longer be driven by feelings from your trauma.

Mia proposes that everyone has the power to create a future aligned with the life they know they are meant to live. There are three fundamental reasons behind this:

  1. Imagination – You don’t need to learn how to imagine something. Every human can imagine things that don’t exist and then tackle consistent and intentional action to bring them into reality. That is how new inventions and progress are possible.
  2. Emotions – You are not taught how to “feel”. Your emotions come from your experiences and how you interpret what is happening. Your emotions hold the power to make you stop and change your behavior and actions. Emotions show you if what you are thinking is in alignment with your real intention.
  3. Aligned Action – Once you resolve your core trauma, you can consistently and predictably coach yourself past any emotions that would have previously stopped you from taking aligned action. This allows you to create your reality by visualizing the future you want that aligns with your true intentions. Subconsciously your vision becomes an emotional GPS, driving aligned actions without an inner struggle (caused by unresolved trauma). Each action you take closes the alignment gap between the present and the future you intend to create.

This methodology draws on sound scientific research, demonstrating the link between pessimism and negative thinking about future situations. Furthermore, research has shown how the split between the true self and the ego changes how you subconsciously think. This is why Mia’s Aligned Intelligence methodology is not based on thinking but emotions. By addressing the source of emotions that lead to pessimistic thinking, you subconsciously change your mental visions to create a positive future.

So when negative thoughts start taking control, stop and feel your emotions. Because your emotions are telling you that whatever you visualize does not align with the future you can create. You can change your future because you are in control of your actions in the present. This means you have the power to stop feeling pessimistic and any associated feelings of depression and anxiety.

So the next time your gut tells you to stop, take a moment and bring yourself back to the present. Visualize the future you want and hold it inside like an internal GPS that will keep your actions aligned to allow you to live free from pessimism and create a life you love.

I'm Nikos Alepidis, blogger at motivirus. I'm passioned for all things related to motivation & personal development. My goal is to help and inspire people to become better.

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