My friend and fellow coach Cecilia Rose asks, “Do you want to be a Naysayer or a Yaysayer?” Some of us want to be Yaysayers but we struggle with seeing the glass as half full.
Nature and Nurture
It may be helpful to know that research published in the journal Psychological Science indicates that a combination of environmental and biological factors can amplify negative experiences. MIT neuroscientists recently pinpointed a brain region that can generate a pessimistic outlook.
The Right Balance
While a healthy dose of pessimism can contribute to critical thinking, optimism has been proven to be beneficial to our well-being. How do Naysayers find the right balance?
- Hope for the best and plan for the worst – this approach allows us to feel prepared so that we can focus on envisioning the positive outcomes
- Practice gratitude – we can start with the simple step of sharing something good at the end of each day and work up to keeping a journal as a resource when our outlook gets cloudy
- Find an accountability partner– we have a much better shot at succeeding if someone is willing to gently remind us of our commitment to changing our behavior, especially if they use humor
If you’re hardwired for pessimism I encourage you to work on getting the benefits of optimism – for yourself and those around you!