via Positive Psychology News Daily by Darlene Marshall

“While you can’t control your experiences, you can control your explanations.” ― Martin E.P. Seligman

It’s been 23 years since Seligman’s original publication of Learned Optimism, in which he describes optimism and pessimism as explanatory styles rather than dispositional traits.  In Seligman’s model, optimists can see the limited context and duration of their problems. They also do not interpret the existence of challenges as comments on them as individuals.  In contrast, pessimists see problems as having lasting effects that go beyond the scope of the original issue. They also believe their challenges are due to causes within their control.  While the optimists have greater happiness and better outcomes, Seligman pointed out that pessimists tend to be better at risk assessment.  In the middle of a pandemic, optimists may have more hope, but pessimists may exhibit more caution and compliance  (There are even masks designed for pessimists as shown here.)

False Dichotomy?

What if there is a false dichotomy between optimism and pessimism?  Could the same individual filter with the caution of the pessimist and choose the hope and positive outcomes of the optimist?

Pouring more into a half-full glass

Those familiar with Learned Optimism or trained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy will recognize the ABC model: Adversity (the challenge you’re responding to), Belief (what’s underlying your reactions), and Consequence (your reaction to the event and the fallout).  Psychologists added D and E, suggesting that those looking to become more optimistic could practice Disputing their initial reactions and being aware of the changes in Energy to rewire themselves through positive reinforcement.  

The World Health Organization (WHO) is predicting a spike in the need for mental health support. As Professor Vikram Patel from the Harvard Medical School puts it, “the pandemic presents a historic opportunity to reimagine mental health care, by realizing the science which demonstrates that we must reframe mental health beyond a narrow focus on ‘diagnoses, doctors and drugs’.”  For those with a positive psychology background, Patel is preaching to our choir…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE