Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life
by Martin Seligman, Ph.D.
Wow! This is another book that I recommend to my clients, participants in my classes, and practically anyone who’s ever experienced depression, pessimism, or difficulty in achieving their dreams. Based on over twenty years worth of research, Dr. Seligman shows how optimism combats depression, improves health, enhances success, and much more. Not a rah-rah book for being positive, it covers the questions about his research and how he came to his conclusions.
There are exercises to test whether you’re optimistic or not, and how depressed you might be. A thought always precedes an emotion, and Dr. Seligman found that pervasive negative thoughts always preceded a person’s depression. He describes how some people “learn” to be helpless, and then don’t try, even when they are assured of success. If you’re a parent, teacher, or have a child in your life, the author explains how children become pessimistic and how it affects their lives. He even addresses the conditions when realistic thinking, not optimism, is best in the situation.
Best of all, this book gives instructions on how to change your thinking from pessimistic to optimistic. You simply have to learn how to change the way you explain the situations of your life to yourself. In other words, change your internal dialogue.
It’s an engrossing and entertaining read, considering that it covers much of his research. But it also gives case histories of people who have changed their lives. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.
~ Linda-Ann Stewart