Psychology & Psychiatry

The surprising benefits of being a pessimist

How many times have you been told that something great will happen as long as you believe it is possible? From pop psychology books to self-improvement seminars and blogs, there's a lot of hype surrounding the advantages ...

Health

Monday's medical myth: You can think yourself better

Of all the cultural beliefs about health and illness that saturate the developed world, there is none so pervasive and deeply held as the idea that you can "battle" an illness by sheer force of will.

Psychology & Psychiatry

Computer game aims to zap teen depression

Long viewed as a contributing factor in teenage isolation, computer games are now being used to treat adolescent depression in an innovative New Zealand programme.

Other

Listening in, researchers learn about end-of-life communication

What is the best way to talk to someone about prognosis and quality of life when serious illness strikes? It turns out that no one had studied that question through direct observation, until the University of Rochester Medical ...

Health

Exercise and attitude may be thermostat for hot flashes

(Medical Xpress) -- Attitude may play an important role in how exercise affects menopausal women, according to Penn State researchers, who identified two types of women -- one experiences more hot flashes after physical activity, ...

Health

Better think positive: Pessimism can block therapy

Spine surgeon Anders Cohen puts a lot of stock in patients' expectations of pain relief. He prefers to operate only on those who "grab you by the collar and say, `I can't take it anymore.'"

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Pessimism

Pessimism, from the Latin word pessimus (worst), is a state of mind in which one perceives life negatively. Value judgments may vary dramatically between individuals, even when judgments of fact are undisputed. The most common example of this phenomenon is the "Is the glass half empty or half full?" situation. The degree in which situations like these are evaluated as something good or something bad can be described in terms of one's optimism or pessimism respectively. Throughout history, the pessimistic disposition has had effects on all major areas of thinking.

Philosophical pessimism is the similar but not identical idea that life has a negative value, or that this world is as bad as it could possibly be. It has also been noted by many philosophers that pessimism is not a disposition as the term commonly connotes. Instead, it is a cogent philosophy that directly challenges the notion of progress and what may be considered the faith-based claims of optimism.

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