Your Negative Thoughts Might Actually Be Helpful

Using negativity for good is a technique

Dr. Psychology
3 min readJun 15, 2022


stressed man
Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

Pessimism (negative thinking) is a tendency to expect the worst out of a situation or view things through a negative lens, and considered as a big DON’T, but the psychologists disagree.

The psychologists have proved that pessimism actually has mental health benefits of its own. Specifically for the patients who suffer from anxiety pessimism has the potential to shift their lives toward a positive side.

Many people who suffer from anxiety disorders use Defensive Pessimism or a partially pessimistic approach to achieving their goals, it helps them reduce anxiety. However, it does not imply that those people are pessimistic or simply not positive about their life and expectancies. A pessimist will blame himself/herself for the bad things that happen to him/her while a defensive pessimist will try to avoid bad things from happening. That’s a lot of difference.

Defensive pessimism is a coping technique where an individual sets low expectations of success and rather focuses on the possible negative outcomes. These negative expectations help them to devise better plans to avoid those negative outcomes.

Defensive pessimists tend to get anxious in the anticipation of failure and therefore work to avoid failure. A similar yet different strategy to fight anxiety is strategic optimism. Here instead of focusing on the possible negative outcomes of a situation, the individual entirely focuses on the positive outcomes. In other words, strategic optimists do not leave any room for negativity to avoid anxiety, while defensive pessimists acknowledge the negativity and work on it to eliminate anxiety.

Example of Defensive Pessimism

A jobless person who is preparing for an interview is anxious about not being selected and figures out what could go wrong during the interview. Once that’s done he works to eliminate all the factors that could go wrong from his side and gets better results.

Is Defensive Pessimism Really Effective?

Yes, absolutely. Research has shown that it has positive results on an individual’s ability to cope with stressful conditions.



Dr. Psychology

Set out with the goal of raising awareness and providing information about MENTAL HEALTH, SANE PARENTING, and PSYCHOLOGY.