…or the benefits of positive thinking.

Back in 2009, the company I worked for then (and still the best place I have worked so far) got acquired by a much bigger organisation. And as it is often the case in those takeovers, even a friendly one like ours was, many people find themselves made redundant or reorganised. I personally was quite optimistic about it, seeing the potential opportunities for growth. I had kinda reached a plateau within the current structure and although I loved what I did and the people I did it with, I was eager for more. A bigger company was potentially a good move for me…It wasn’t to be so. Although I wasn’t made redundant like pretty much all my team, I was to be outsourced to the company my new employer had selected to provide the services.

This was to be the worst possible option for me, as instead of opening up my prospects, it narrowed them as my new employer had no need for the skills I wanted to develop (internal communications and intranet management) and reduce my job to more menial duties such as timesheet input and endless Health and Safety reports and risk assessments. Believe there is no fun in those and nothing actually to stimulate my over active brain…Anyway, to cut a long story short, I got intellectually bored very quickly and although I started to look for another job quickly, we were smack in the middle of a recession so slim pickings.

I decided that to stimulate my brain, I should look outside of work instead of boring poor sods at the pub about how bored and unhappy I was. I decided to find a course and this was the best decision I had made in ages. After much research, I decided to take a course in Psychology. I have always been interested in that matter but never thought I could do it. I joined my first module in January 2010, entitled Foundation of Modern Psychology at Birkbeck University, London. Now for those not familiar with BBK, it’s a university which specialised in evening courses for people like me, who have a day job but want to further their education but also want to actually go to class and not go the distance learning route. I love studying but I am well aware of my lack of discipline and I knew that distance learning would be hard for me to keep up with, too many opportunities to skip and procrastinate.

Very quickly I fell in love with the subject and soon I was signing up for the whole course with was to give me a Certificate of Higher Education in Psychology. Now, it is not a degree which is going to give much in terms of career, but it is a measurable achievement, which worked for me.

You must be wondering by now, what has it got to do with denial and positive thinking…I will get there I promise, I just needed to set the background so you knew where I got to learn that…

There was different modules I had to complete of the course of the following 2 years. Several of them covered different aspects of stress and health and even relationships. And one of the things that all had in common was articles where the benefits of denial was highlighted.

Unfortunately I don’t have copies of these articles but I do remember some of what they said, as I felt it spoke to me. Basically, they emphasised that sometimes ignoring the truth was a good thing. I believe one of the sentence used was “wearing rose tinted glasses is not always a bad thing”. By engaging in mild denial – I have to emphasised the mild here, as full blown delusion is a serious problem – you can be protecting yourself from ill effects. I think that is what most optimistic people do. They choose to see the silver lining or the positive side of things instead of wallowing in the negative and by such, they sort of protect themselves from the bad effects of stress and it can also help relationships to continue – apparently only seeing one’s mate’s good sides and brushing off the negative, is quite beneficial…as long as the negatives are not things like abuse (physical or emotional) or illegal stuff! But choosing to ignore the little habits that can drive one crazy is good for the relationship!!

(If you are interested in the subject and have spare cash, I highly recommend the following study books – there are definitely good enough for beginners – like me!)

5th Edition (there are more recent ones)
5th Edition (there are more recent ones)
12th Edition (it was the latest when I bought it in 2012)
12th Edition (it was the latest when I bought it in 2012)

I have always been an optimistic person – my glass is always full you know, especially if it’s a glass of Pouilly Fume! – and after reading these different articles, I have felt a lot better about engaging in some light level of denial…and I believe that this is definitely helping me cope better with my breast cancer. I don’t think about what could go wrong and if I will stay clear for the next 5 years and over…I choose to take one treatment at a time and ignore any of the stats and other more dramatic stories as they don’t help me. Of course I feel sad for the people who have to suffer through this a lot more than I do, but thinking I could be one of them, won’t help me.

So here’s to the positive thinkers out there….enjoy living in denial…wear your rose tinted glasses with pride and let’s all raise our half full glass!!

ps: and by the way, I graduated with my Cert HE in Psychology in 2012!

Graduated!
Graduated!
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