Depression, Optimism, Motivation
Did you know that the way you explain negative events has a significant effect on your mood and motivation? If you view negative events as having causes that are personal, stable, and global, you are thinking like a pessimist. When the cause of a negative situation is seen as impersonal, unstable, and specific, you are thinking as an optimist.
The pessimistic outlook sees negative events, large or small, as being caused by::
- Something Internal - you blame yourself and will do so again when something adverse happens; you carry the cause with you wherever you go.
- Something Stable - if something with stability causes difficulty it will stick around to cause difficulty again.
- Something Global - global causes are bigger than one person so there is nothing that can be done by you, now or in the future.
The optimistic outlook sees negative events, large or small, as being caused by:
- Something External - the situation is not your fault; there is nothing inside you to spark a repeat of the negative event.
- Something Unstable - causes that are unstable come and go so the situation is temporary, and the cause may never arise again.
- Something Specific - you have some control; specific causes can be handled, fixed, changed, modified, or managed to some degree.
Since pessimists expect future negative events to be stable and global, they see little chance of having any control over what happens. This, in turn, drains their motivation, and they tend to feel helpless. Lack of motivation and feelings of helplessness are two symptoms of depression.
Optimistic thinkers feel that they have some control over what happens in the future. It inspires their motivation, giving them persistence and resilience. While both pessimists and optimists may initially feel depressed about a negative event, optimists will bounce back in a few hours or days.
The optimistic perspective to negativity, which inspires motivation, gives people energy, and stamina to manage adversity; they cope effectively with the issue at hand. Connecting negativity to a cause that is external, unstable, and specific (optimism) correlates with high academic achievement, better health and athletic performance, and even marital satisfaction.
Anyone can learn to see the cause of negative events optimistically, or as an opportunity to problem solve. Cognitive behavioral therapy has helped many people change their habits of thought for the better.
"Optimism and Well-being" Contributors: Karen J. Reivich - author. Magazine Title: National Association of School Psychologists. Communique. Volume: 38. Issue: 7. Publication Date: May 2010. Page Number: 10+.