Defensive Pessimism

According to Julie K. Norem, Ph.D., a professor at Wellesley College Department of Psychology, defensive pessimism is a strategy used by anxious people to help them manage their anxiety so they can work productively. Defensive pessimists lower their expectations to help prepare themselves for the worst. “Though it sounds as if it might be depressing,” reads the site, “defensive pessimism actually helps anxious people focus away from their emotions so that they can plan and act effectively.”

The Optimism Bias

Tali Sharot write The Optimism Bias, a book on why humans almost always view the future as hopeful and sunny. She has studied hundreds of subjects, young and old, and found that no matter the odds, we always believe that tomorrow will be better. We’re apparently hard wired that way. “We hugely underestimate the likelihood of divorce, cancer and unemployment,” she writes. “”We expect to be healthier than the average person and more successful than [our] peers.”