Research clearly indicates that even the most die-hard pessimist can learn, using CBT, to use an optimistic explanatory style … and reap the benefits of a longer, healthier, and more satisfying life.
The 3 P’s of Learned Optimism
An intersection between CBT and Positive Therapy is translating Seligman’s research in learned optimism. In therapy, we work on how to manage the 3 P’s of a pessimistic explanatory style. How do you explain setbacks to yourself?
Permanence: An optimist will explain a negative event as temporary; a pessimist will see it as permanent.
Pervasiveness: An optimist will specify that a failure is specific to particular conditions; a pessimist will see a failure in life as being a total failure in all of life.
Personal: An optimist will take responsibility for a failure, in context to all the other contributors to it; a pessimist will blame himself without that other context.
For more details about the research behind ‘Learned Optimism’ check out Dr. Seligman’s book.