Updated: Aug 22
It’s not healthy to lounge around and be mad at the world. You have to get out and do the things you enjoy. If you don’t know what brings you excitement, look within. Remember the things that brought you excitement in your youth and give that activity a try. In order to see the positive, you have to think positively. Do you think you can succeed at something if you go into it with a negative frame of mind? Pessimism is defined by the American Psychological Association as "the attitude that things will go wrong and that people’s wishes or aims are unlikely to be fulfilled." A person with a pessimistic personality tends toward a more negative view of life. Optimists, on the other hand, see things more positively.
An article titled "Pessimism: What Is A Pessimistic vs Optimistic Person?" presented by The BetterHelp Editorial Team, and medically reviewed by Lauren Guilbeault, Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, states the following points are ways being pessimistic instead of optimistic can hurt you:
•A Pessimistic Attitude Hurts Your Relationships
-It’s often hard to be in a relationship with a pessimistic person. The pessimism definition explains exactly why that is. People who are chronically pessimistic have a hard time trusting other people. Therefore, when you are pessimistic, you may end up making unfair accusations. You often assume the worst, and so you look for the worst to happen. When you do this, you can actually create problems that don’t exist. You might fabricate things in your mind that will support your pessimistic attitude.
It’s also hard for pessimistic people to plan the future with another person. Because you are constantly expecting something bad to happen to ruin the relationship, it’s difficult to see past that and have hope for the future. However, your significant other may only put up with this for a certain amount of time because they likely want to be able to make plans and know where the relationship is headed.
Relationships are difficult. Every relationship is different and comes with its own challenges. However, when you add a pessimist into a relationship, it goes to a whole new level of difficulty. Pessimistic people will not show their true feelings easily. This means they will hold back from being open with how they feel. In an effort to protect themselves, they’re actually withholding the words that their significant other would like to hear. This also causes them to not work on their relationship when there is a problem. Because they assumed that there was going to be a problem before it happened, they don’t feel that there’s any point in working on it.
•Pessimism Hurts Your Health
-Your thoughts are closely tied with your physical health. People try to separate health into mental health and physical health, with some even adding emotional health; but these all correlate together. There is no way to truly separate different parts of health. Your mental health affects your physical health, and your physical health affects your mental health.
When you have a bad attitude and are pessimistic, you may be hurting your physical and mental health. Pessimistic people have a negative mindset. When you have a positive mindset, you believe that you have control over your life and the things that happen to you. When you are pessimistic, you don’t believe that you have that control.
Studies have found that pessimistic people are less likely to diet, exercise, or see a doctor when they need. They are also more likely to smoke. If you are pessimistic, you may believe that your poor health is a reason why you have a bad attitude, and constantly expect the worst; but the truth is, your pessimistic attitude may be the reason why those things are happening.
•Pessimistic Personalities Can Be Found To Relate To Heart Disease
-One Finnish study came up with interesting results about pessimism and heart disease. There was a study conducted on over 2,000 people over a period of 11 years. These people were initially given 6 statements to rank on a scale of how they thought that the statement applied to them personally. There were positive and negative statements. At the end of the study, there were 122 people that had died over the 11 years from coronary heart disease. The researchers took into effect things like diabetes, smoking, and other risk factors, and determined that the most pessimistic people were twice as likely to die of heart disease.
Pessimism affects your mental health because it constantly feeds you negative thoughts. A negative mindset can lead to anger and depression. If you are struggling with anxiety, worry, anger, rage, or depression, you can speak to a professional therapist to help transform your pessimistic attitude. They can help you identify areas that are triggering your pessimism and help you to overcome them.
•A Pessimistic Mentality Can Hurt Your Career
-Being pessimistic can be a big drawback in the workplace. There have been studies conducted to test the difference between a pessimist and an optimist in the workforce. The numbers are overwhelmingly in favor of having an optimistic attitude in your career. Pessimistic people are more likely to give up when they encounter a difficult situation at work, are less likely to learn valuable lessons from their failure at work, and are more likely to stab others in the back in the workplace.
When you understand the pessimism definition, it’s easy to see why it’s a drawback at work. Employers are looking for people that have a growth mindset. They want people who are going to persevere through difficult times and challenges to find a solution. They want team players to be working for them. And often employers prefer employees that do not create drama in the workplace.
•Pessimism Ultimately Hurts Self-Esteem And Confidence
-Pessimistic people are not just hard on other people; they are hard on themselves, too. Some people were not pessimistic from the start. They developed these tendencies, and thought processes after going through hurtful situations in their life. After being constantly disappointed, let down, or hurt by other people, they decided that it would be easier to expect the worst from the start. It’s an effort to protect themselves from being hurt in the future. However, this often backfires and hurts them even more.
The good news is it’s not too late to change and become more optimistic, even if you have been pessimistic for your entire life. It isn’t always easy to do, but if you work through the process with a therapist, it’s much easier as they will guide you step-by-step. Cognitive behavioral therapy would be a typical approach for therapists to use in session with someone who is pessimistic. Learning to alter distorted ways of thinking and adapt more healthy, rational thoughts can have a positive impact on one’s mood.
Becoming a more optimistic person will transform your life in many ways. As you begin to look for the good in situations instead of the bad, you will begin to see the good and become more optimistic. As people, we tend to find whatever it is that we are looking for. That means if you look for the bad, you will find the bad. But, if you look for the good, you will begin to find the good. You will also begin to see that you have more control over the outcome of your life than you previously believed.