The Power of Negative Thinking

Better to acknowledge bad feelings than recite phony good ones
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jul 8, 2009 2:50 PM CDT
Positive thinking may not be the best way to escape negative feelings.   (Shutterstock)
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(Newser) – Deliberate positive thinking—from Norman Vincent Peale to Stuart Smalley—has long been touted as a way to overcome feelings of worthlessness and self-doubt. But a new study suggests that repeating positive mantras may often backfire, making people with low self-esteem feel even worse about themselves. For many, it may “simply highlight how unhappy they are,” writes John Cloud in Time.

The recent study, bolstering earlier experiments, supports psychotherapy that pushes people to come to terms with negative feelings, learning to put them “into a larger, more realistic perspective” rather than rejecting or fighting them.