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What Is a Pessimist?

A pessimist is persistently negative in attitude and always expects the worst of situations and people. A pessimist has a very bleak outlook on life regardless of the reality that may be positive. Pessimists view the world from the perspective of a ‘half empty glass’ as opposed to the optimists who see the glass as ‘half full’.

Pessimism gradually develops due to certain circumstances. It may begin as a coping mechanism and is portrayed through sarcastic and sardonic humor. Pessimists rationalize their behavior by believing that it is better to accept the worst so that if something good happens they are pleasantly surprised but if something bad happens they will be prepared for it. They think optimists are frequently disappointed with the world which rarely lives up to good expectations.

Pessimism can lead to depression which is a clinical disease. Research has shown that pessimists also have physical health problems such as heart disease. After a set back or calamity, pessimists have a much lower recovery or survival rate than optimists.

As a temperamental trait, pessimism is merely a habit of thinking negatively. Psychotherapy and cognitive behavior therapy are usually used to treat this by helping the pessimist to willfully change their attitude. Creating an atmosphere for consistent positive thinking is what a pessimist really needs. This includes recognizing negative thinking patterns and replacing them with positive ones, after all, pessimism is merely a bad habit which can be changed. Obviously, situations will not change but a change in outlook will make the situation easier to deal with and the good things greatly enjoyable.

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