It’s a great time to be alive. We live in an era of wealth and prosperity, where everything is slowly becoming available to us. Yet we are depressed. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. But if we have everything, why do we feel this way? A pessimistic outlook on life can lead to feelings of hopelessness and despair, and if we don’t change our mindset, depression might get the worst of us. Here are three thoughts that will turn you into a pessimistic person.
You are too realistic
It is a fact that realistic people get more depressed than optimistic persons. Psychologists Lauren Alloy and Lyn Yvonne Abramson called it depressive realism. People who see things as they truly are, tend to be more pessimistic, and consequently, more depressed. For instance, they might tell you their writing skills are at 80% and not at 90% as they should be. This rigid and realist way of thinking leads to filtering the positive and makes you focus on the negative. Optimistic people see beyond what they have in front of them and do the best they can with what they have.
You think problems are permanent
Depressed people believe adverse events will never pass. That no matter what they do, bad situations will never be resolved and will stay that way forever. But Buddha Gautama said himself: “everything changes. Nothing lasts forever.” And like your problems, this will pass too. Optimistic people with emotional stability know problems in life are transitory, and once they overcome them, they don’t have to come back. As long as you understand obstacles come and go (especially come!), you will find the silver lining in every situation.
Pessimistic people fear a problem will have consequences in every aspect of their life. For instance, if they believe they are not worthy at work, they might think they’re not worthy of having a relationship. But it doesn’t have to be this way. You do not have to be involved in a life of self-sabotage and catastrophism. Things go wrong for one reason and that reason only. When you deal with a difficult situation, don’t worry about the rest of your life. Focus your attention on what’s important and what’s causing the problem. If you have an issue with your family, solve it with them; If you have an issue with your boss, solve it with him. Give time to each area of your life, and you will see there’s a lot more positive in you than you thought.
Written by Omar E. Martinez, psychologist