Health

The Upside of Pessimism

BY Olga Khazan TIMESeptember 16, 2014 PRINT

I have pretty low expectations for this article. Oh sure, I spent a lot of time on it, and I personally think it’s a great read. But I’m kind of worried that you will hate it. Worse yet, I’m afraid you’ll hate me for writing it. You might take to Twitter and call me a featherbrained, elitist millennial. And then I’ll cry into my kombucha-flavored macaron. Or even worse, you might not read it at all. You might click away and go visit some lesser site, leaving me and my feathered brain to shout into the Internet abyss.

Or at least, that’s how I would start out thinking if I were prone to defensive pessimism, a phenomenon in which people imagine worst-case scenarios in order to manage their anxiety. But what defensive pessimists do next is key: They come up with strategies to avoid having all of those bad things happen, thus ending up better-prepared and less anxious in the long-run. In my case, that might mean topping this article with a clever title or even pre-writing some 140-character barbs to rout the haters.

You can take a test to find out if you’re a defensive pessimist here.

This article was originally published on www.theatlantic.com. Read the complete article here,

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*Image of “pessimistic” via Shutterstock

 

 

Olga Khazan
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