Learned Optimism lays out the foundation of positive psychology and delves into the debate surrounding depression. Mixing personal anecdotes and case-studies with historical facts and interactive questionnaires. It outlines some cognitive tricks to keep you from ruminating over negative thoughts. The biggest tip is to change your explanatory style to turn away from pessimism and towards the stuff of hope.
This book is important because depression is rampant and selfishness is on the rise. I enjoyed how the author included work sections to help the readers diagnose themselves. It is clear that optimism leads to better health and achieving goals, whereas pessimists see reality more accurately, so the push for ‘flexible optimism’ is the way to go.
A necessary read for many of us, Learned Optimism written by Martin Seligman PhD, sheds light on how we explain events in our universe (Explanatory Style) shape our reality, and with it, our optimistic vs pessimistic perceptions of the event. Such explanations have insidiously great effects on our mind, health, happiness and prosperity.
Seligman takes us through his journey of research, discovery, and battling the establishment, as well as some cognitive skills to better become an optimist.
So much of my youth I battled depression, often times had suicidal thoughts. Like many who are productive and still depressed, one would never assume that behind the outgoing and social personality there was something terribly not right.
The research presented in this book cuts though the BS, showing us ways to detect the propensity of a person to be depressed through subtle statements.
An important quote:
“I have learned that it is not always easy to know if you are a pessimist, and that far more people than realize it are living in this shadow…” – Seligman