A new psychology study suggests that some forms of “positive thinking” actually contribute to making you more depressed.
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The research, published in Psychological Science, found that people who fantasised about their ideal future tended to have less depressive symptoms in the present, but faced more depressive symptoms in the future.
The study of 88 uni students found the more positively participants fantasised about the future, the better they felt at that current time but they then went on to show stronger symptoms of depression one month later.
Researcher Grabriele Oettingen summed it up:
The modern era is marked by a push for ever-positive thinking, and the self-help market fueled by a reliance on such positive thinking is a $9.6 billion industry that continues to grow. Our findings raise questions of how costly this market may be for people’s long-term well-being and for society as a whole.
The important bit:
Inducing positive fantasies may indeed produce depressive symptoms by encouraging people to enjoy their success prematurely in their minds, thus lowering energy and effort.
So there you go. If you know you’re too lazy to actually go out and accomplish your dreams, you’re better off not having any at all. Better than deluding yourself into thinking how awesome your life is going to be only for life to turn around and kick you in the dick when you least expect it. I used to do this all the time. I’d buy a Lottery ticket and then spend the next few days fantasising about my new mansion with the swimming pool and helicopter launch pad in the garden. Then the winning numbers would be revealed and guess what? I’d never win. All that daydreaming and positive thinking for nothing.
So clearly the lesson here is never be optimistic. Don’t think positive thoughts about the future because that will just make you more miserable. Better off just expecting the worst out of every situation and that way you might have a shot at happiness.
P.S. In all seriousness, if you think you might be depressed, have a read of THIS.