It’s very easy to get bogged down with a negative state of mind these days. We only need switch on the news to find ourselves deflated and demoralised. But it’s no wonder so many of us feel pessimistic: our brains are wired to protect us, so they’re constantly scanning for threats and the things we’re afraid of.
Research consistently suggests that we think social problems are worse than they really are, that the environment is ‘very bad’ when what we see around us every day tells us otherwise, and just 20 per cent of us think our job situations will ever improve.
Now, here’s the good news. After many years spent teaching positive psychology at Harvard, travelling the world researching happiness and advising global businesses and government departments on the subject, I’ve come to understand how we can all teach ourselves to become more optimistic.