Monday, February 27, 2012

Retro 1: First Ever Post On Intelligentwomenonly.com — Positive Thinking No Antidote to Negative Self-Talk

I'm getting ready to review intelligentwomenonly.com this upcoming week, the first week of March 2012. I started this blog early in March 2010 although the first post didn't appear until March 29th. With a few minor changes here's that first post, slightly altered.

Women, from 13 to 60 plus, are experts at negative self-talk, or "overthinking" as Susan Nolen-Hoeksema Ph.D. refers to the NaSTy habit in her book Women Who Think Too Much. http://www.amazon.com/Women-Who-Think-Too-Much/dp/B0001LUGU2/ref=sr  Research shows that a larger percentage of women engage in negative thinking than men — and that it causes them to experience higher levels of stress.

In my opinion, personally and as a psychologist, intelligent women are even more likely to indulge; perhaps they're perfectionists putting themselves down, maybe they think rehashing, questioning, investigating all angles in their mind, reflects an analytic mind, a tenaciousness to fix everything and get relationships going well. It doesn't. NST is just a bad habit, like biting fingernails, procrastinating, potatoing on the couch, that wastes time and energy and produces nothing useful.

Positive thinking is also a bad habit if you believe that thinking positively will make positive things happen. Recent research
( http://www.psychologicalscience.org/onlyhuman/2009/07/i-am-lovable-person-not.cfm) as well as Barbara Ehrenreichs's new book Bright Sided shows clearly that positive thinking is not what it was cracked up to be for the last twenty plus years. Negative always beats positive thinking when the two are competing. If you get rid of the negative first, then some realistic positive thinking will help.  E.g." I can make a plan to solve this problem" rather than "He'll stay married to me and give up the girlfriend because he really loves me and the kids")

I'd like to hear some opinions, for or against or in the middle, from smart women out there.
Retro 1: First Ever Post On Intelligentwomenonly.com — Positive Thinking No Antidote to Negative Self-TalkSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend


  1. I love the distinction between "think positively!" and "do something!" That always comes up in work I do as a creative writing coach.

    I think it's important to remain optimistic while struggling through a personal challenge, sure. But it's also critical to be realistic about potential outcomes (many which we have no power over) and to take action wherever and whenever we can to effect a desired outcome.

    Just thinking positively about a situation isn't going to be enough to shut out the prominent NST that is likely to accompany that situation. No doubt NST exists, in part, to feed that state of personal inertia which keeps us from moving past our problems.

    Our best response, I think, is to do something within our control. Even in failure, we can find potential new solutions, but this can happen *only* when we *try.*

  2. How bout "ACT my way into a new way of THINKING!"

    1. How bout elaborating a bit more. Fake it til you make it? I don't think so.

  3. NST is such a difficult habit to break. I'm 25 and about to graduate law school, yet I am constantly struggling with NST. For me, its a one day at a time type of recovery. If I start thinking on too large of a scale, the NST goes way up, if I bring it back down to earth and just think hour to hour, day to day, the NST seems to go down. It's been great reading your blog.


Tell me what you think!