Pessimism can bring you good health!
Yes, you heard right. After the advent of bestseller, ‘The Power of Positive Thinking’, most of us are wired to the idea that only positive thinking can make us successful. However, the surprise twist to it is that research has revealed that "defensive pessimism" can help in shaping your success.
Defensive pessimism translates into good planning
When you are into defensive pessimism, you have a Plan B in place in case things don’t go as expected. For instance, health conditions such as Diabetes, heart problems and B.P. are associated with being overweight. A defensive pessimist will think of these in advance and get into a healthier lifestyle that includes exercise, healthy eating and maintaining optimal weight.
Let’s look at another real-life scenario where a patient had to undergo knee replacement surgery. An optimist would be all hunky-dory that nothing could ever go wrong. On the other hand, a defensive pessimist would have the mind ticking away and planning how to rid himself of anxiety. He would not assume that post-surgery, it would be quick and easy. He would think of whether he would have to spend few more days at the hospital, whether more rehabilitation care would be needed, necessity for prescription painkillers, necessity of nursing care and so on. Factoring in on all these concerns ensures that the defensive pessimist has all bases covered.
Can pessimism help cancer?
Defensive pessimism can help patients better accept the diagnosis of disease especially cancer. For instance, a defensive pessimist who gets screened for cancer and receives a result positive for cancer is likely to handle the situation better. An optimist may fall into depression, guilt and fear whereas a defensive optimist would have read up on therapies and will have a more realistic view.
Having said all of this, defensive pessimism is not to be confused with perpetual pessimism which will only serve to hold back a person from reaching the full potential in life. Defensive pessimism is more a strategy to help prepare and handle negative outcomes.