Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2009

Negative Thinking

People spend hours in psychologists' offices trying to turn negative thoughts into positive ones. But it's possible that a lot of that time is wasted. A study in the journal Psychological Science suggests that the very effort to think positively may highlight how unhappy you are. Investigators interviewed volunteers and rated their self-esteem. All the subjects were then asked to spend 4 min. writing about their feelings. Every 15 sec., some of them heard a bell; when they did, they were supposed to tell themselves, "I am a lovable person." In that group, those with low self-esteem scores did not feel better; in fact, their writing showed that they felt worse. A better solution for some people might be to accept that negative feelings are there — and thus disempower them.