Monday, March 9, 2009

Defensive pessimism

This may be the one time in my life that I recommend something I read in “O, The Oprah Magazine.” There are occasions, however, when someone so perfectly captures a concept in print that you have to share it—even if it comes from a source I resolutely deny ever reading.

(Just so you know, Ellen subscribes and the magazine was in the bathroom…)

This short article describes a form of negative thinking that psychologists call defensive pessimism. It’s a strategy that some people use in specific situations to manage anxiety, fear and worry. By imagining a range of bad outcomes, defensive pessimists like me figure out in advance how they’ll handle them. I won’t spoil the surprise by telling you why this makes us brilliant. You’ll have to read “O” for yourself.

I’d rename this blog “P,” only I’m sure something terrible would happen to me if I did, like being sued by “O” for stealing her idea.

This post does have a purpose, in case you’re wondering. I had my quarterly CT scan this morning, and now I’m waiting for results. This is always psychological torture as I imagine the range of possible bad outcomes. With luck, I’ll hear from my doc sometime tomorrow. Until then, I’m indulging in the power of negative thinking. Thanks, O.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear "P:"

Good to hear the news but thought you would wait to publish in your next edition. Make "O" a little envious.