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How being realistic can be key to your wellbeing

https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20200722-how-being-realistic-can-be-key-to-your-wellbeing

bbc.com

How being realistic can be key to your wellbeing
Lots of studies over the years have shown optimists to be healthy and happy. But being a measured realist might be even better for your mental health, researchers say.

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Unrealistic Optimism

Unrealistic Optimism

The tendency to over-expect the probability of good things happening while negating the likelihood of anything bad happening is a common human trait.

Studies consistently show that a large majority of the population (about 80% according to most estimates) display an overly optimistic outlook.

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The Advocates for Pessimism

Pessimism, or having a bias towards a negative outcome, has a fan base too, as it seems that pessimists are immune to disappointment.

Their view of life already considers the worst possible outcome as the default one, and anything better than that can only improve it.

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Loss Aversion

Losing something we already have is twice as much pain than gaining the same. This skewed feelings towards loss is known as loss aversion.

Expectations always dampen the feelings of happiness, always setting us up in advance for a dose of disappointment.

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Two Sides Of The Same Coin

Both optimism and pessimism are judgemental biases that try to bend reality inside our minds and can lead to worse outcomes and suboptimal levels of happiness.

Being on either side can lead to poor decisions in career, finance and just about anything involving risk and uncertainty.

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Good Realistic Decisions

To make good decisions, one has to have accurate, reliable information, free from any bias or prejudice.

Realists tend to have the best cost-benefit ratio of handling uncertainty while maintaining a healthy level of well-being and happiness.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Defensive Pessimism

Defensive Pessimism
  • While normally pessimism means blaming yourself for the negative outcomes, defensive pessimism takes this at a whole new level, harnessing the negative feeling and using it as a step...

Setting Low Expectations

Having a defensively pessimistic strategy can help one chart out a course of action to ensure that the mishaps that are envisioned do not turn into reality.

Example: Having a low expectation of an interview, along with brooding about what all could go wrong can help one practice harder and plan to avoid those outcomes.

Pessimism As Insurance

While waiting for a piece of important news, being pessimistic has better health benefits than being overly optimistic.

If the news is not in one’s favour, the optimists take a bigger hit on their wellbeing, experiencing great disappointment, while the pessimists do not suffer as much, as they were already ready to take the hit.

one more idea

Pessimism vs optimism

While we may have many good reasons to be pessimistic, we don't have to resign ourselves to it forever.

Optimism can be learned. Research reveals that optimists earn more money, have b...

Visualize your best possible self

Studies show that imagining your ideal future can increase your levels of optimism. Focusing on your dreams coming true turn your focus away from worrying about the worst possible outcome.

Imagine your ideal life in 10 years - what it would look like and how you would feel. Spend time considering family, career, romance or health. Now write it down once a week for the next two months.

Accept disappointment

When we expect the worst, we might be trying to protect ourselves from disappointment.

Disappointments are inevitable. We might as well have positive expectations that are occasionally proven wrong than negative expectations that are sometimes proven right.

Luck is a perceptual bias

Luck is a perceptual bias

In other people, we focus on the successful result, not the struggle and growth experiences they endured to reach it, while in ourselves, all we’re aware of is the struggle...

We control our luck

... to a certain extent. We may not directly affect major opportunities of our life at any given moment (like finding oil on our property), but we can indirectly influence how many opportunities spring up and the ferocity with which we pursue them.

Become a lucky person

  • Be a social butterfly: Lucky people enjoy relating to other people.
  • Periodically do something stupid: Luck is more likely to fall on those who take a dumb risk or two.
  • Maximize your positive luck and minimize the negative one.
  • Be optimistic: Our performance usually rises to the level of our expectations.