Can Positive Thinking Make You Live Longer? Probably Not.

Among the critics:

Barbara Ehrenreich, whose best-selling book “Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America,” published in the fall, maintains that thinking positively does little good in the long run, and can, in fact, do harm.

Among the defenders:

When president of the American Psychological Association at the time, Martin Seligman, sought out good scientific research on positive emotion. He found hundreds of studies showing the health benefits of thinking positively…he accuses “Barbara I Hate Hope Ehrenreich” of “cherry picking” studies to suit her purpose.

Full article on the benefits and harm of optimism.

Comments (4)

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  1. Vicki says:

    Interesting debate. However, can anyone think of any downside of positive thinking? If not, be positive!

  2. Larry C. says:

    I’m siding with Vicki. Hard to see any real harm.

  3. artk says:

    Andy Grove, one of the founders of Intel, and a holocaust survivor, thought that believing in the power of positive thinking was antithetical to success. He is famously quoted as saying “Complacency breeds failure. Only the paranoid survive.” If you want to be mediocre, just keep believing that positive thinking will make a difference.

  4. Tom H. says:

    arftk: What do the paranoid do when they go home at night. Enjoy themselves? Or stew in their fears and worries?