Why Positive Thinking May Be Harmful For Some

the pessimistic personalities
Photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash

Brainwaves of negative and positive thinkers disclose crucial insights into positive thinking. In accordance to a research study, being asked to ‘think positive’ is extremely difficult and might even be causing harm instead for some people. The research study observed neural markers of negative and positive thinking.

71 females were told to look at upsetting images and to put a positive spin on them in the research study.

Females were recruited specifically as they are more prone to experience high levels of anxiety and depression. The images consisted of a woman being held hostage by a masked man with a knife to her throat. As anticipated, the positive thinkers found this task was easy.

However, the scientists noted something crucial among the natural worriers.

The natural worriers in fact revealed a complex backfiring result in their brains when they were asked to reduce their negative feelings. This theorizes that the natural worriers have a very difficult time putting a positive spin on tough situations and actually worsens their negative feelings when they are told to think positively. On the other hand, those positive thinkers were able to lower the electronic signatures of worry which the brain produces, conveying that positive thinking was working for them.

This aligns with what the pessimistic personalities frequently state: that asking them to ‘be positive’ is no help but harmful instead.

That’s why you can’t simply ask your friend “not to worry” or “think positively”. You should use different methods and perhaps tell him to think of the situation in a different angle. Techniques that are most likely to work are usually those used in cognitive-behavioral therapy that include challenging or coming to terms with relentless anxieties.