Before taking Positive Psychology my thoughts about the course were that I was going to learn about techniques focusing all about increasing a person’s happiness in life. I thought it would be about being happy all the time or just focusing on the good things in life. I wasn’t too sure what to expect but I knew it would promote positivity.
Discovering the benefits of pessimism
An ah-ha moment for me in Positive psychology was to do with learning about optimism and pessimism. In the course one of our assignments was to take a quiz to get a perspective on if we are more optimistic or pessimistic. After looking at the results it turns out I was highly pessimistic. It was a bit discouraging so I tried taking the quiz again and my scores were even worse. I then realized I might need a change in my life and the way I think about things because I seem to be a very sad person. I’ve had some recent hardships in my life that I think have affected my new train of thoughts and maybe made me more pessimistic. A part of me has always been a realest and I more often look at the down side of things or what can go wrong than the good things.
As we went through the lesson plan about pessimism I learned that my thinking style and how I perceive events in my life will effect how I feel and respond to situations. I may end up self-blaming for things going wrong or think that the world is out to get me if I am having a bad day. But I have to not let little events be seen as omens for how the rest of my day may go. If I don’t want to have a bad day it’s up to me to have a good time. I’ve learned that instead of being an optimist or a pessimist it’s better to have a balance of both. You don’t want to have false hope when being positive all the time, but you also don’t want to let one bad event ruin your day. There can be a benefit to being pessimistic sometimes. One tends to not be naïve or oblivious to weakness or their limits.
I see myself for all of me
I think if I were to change my mindset I would need to gain confidence. I believe my low self-esteem leads to me thinking that anything that goes wrong is because I’m not good at something and I probably won’t get better. Instead I should keep trying and not give up so easily on myself. When I have difficulty doing something I can be quick to give up and lose interest instead of gain a drive to get better. Negativity doesn’t have to be permanent and I need to learn to overcome the bad times and see the light at the end of the tunnel. Positive Psychology has taught me that I don’t have to be happy all the time but I can improve my mood and my life by smiling more, and to have more confidence in myself. It made me realize I need a change in my life. I should be trying to spread happiness to others and in return that will make me happy. We are capable of changing this world just by making an impact on one person at a time.
About the author: Ashlie Reese was born and raised in Hawaii. She is currently a student at Chaminade University and is attaining her Bachelor’s in Psychology. She is planning on getting her Master’s to become a Career Counselor and working with high school students.