Pollyanna waves the pom-poms

I have been accused of many things in my life . . . but none so on target as . . . (gulp) . . . an optimist . . . 

YIKES . . . a rare breed, these days.  What with the economic down turn, the violence in the world, the price of gas . . . who could be happy???  Well, anybody, I guess.  At least that is what I am reading about these days.  I picked up a copy of the CD of The Secret by Rhonda Byrne for my wife (who, by the way will freely admit to being less generally optimistic than her pollyanna husband).  She never got around to listening to it.  But then again, I am always buying us inspirational crap like that to listen to.  Like the others, it went onto one of the many piles of stuff in the house labeled “gotta get to it someday” and assumed its primary duty of collecting dust.  In the usual rush to rearrange the piles before the holiday season, I came across it and, for some reason, put it in the pile to go to my car where, for some other unknown reason, I put it in the CD player and started listening to it.

As my old marching band director once said . . . “pure corn . . . the audience will love it” . . .

The background music is that strange blend of new age / eastern-sitting-cross-legged-sort-of-stuff.  The various people who speak are quite rich and excited to be so.  Rhonda, herself, has the cutest little Australian accent that inserts “r’s” and twists “o’s” in a way that is occasionally distracting.  But the message . . . WOW . . . THE MESSAGE!!!!

I did not hear anything in this that I have not heard before (remember, I have been digesting this inspirational crap for a long time).  This lack of innovation was, I heard, a complaint made by reviewers of the book.  So what made it different and powerful for me?  Perhaps it was the timing.  I will admit to a slump into relative pessimism based on a variety of circumstances in my life (notice my lack of blogging lately).  I am ready for some new thinking.  And, I am ready to push my family to do some new thinking.  I think what attracts me to this set of CD’s (and the movie and the book, by the way) is that it is highly palatable.  It is easy to read, easy to listen to, easy to watch.  And the message it gives makes it seem easy.  .  .

Think negative thoughts . . . get negative results.

Think positive thoughts . . . get positive results.

Well, heck, I gotta think anyway . . . why not think positive.

Cute story here.  My family does a collective eye roll when I start pushing one of these motivational things.  But my daughter had a very interesting experience in school yesterday.  They had an assembly and a presentation by an actor/psychologist who does a very entertaining show that stresses positivity, acceptance of others, tolerance, etc.  One of the things he had the kids do is go around telling others . . . or texting others (since they do more of that than talking) . . . and tell people that they are beautiful.  So everyone was going around complementing everyone else . . . and everyone felt happy . . . EVERYONE FELT HAPPY.

How about that.

Think positive thoughts . . . see positive results.

One of the people who she texted the message “you’re beautiful” shot back a hostile response.  She could feel the negativity . . . she could feel the drag on her mood . . . 

Think negative thoughts . . . see negative results.

So she went back to being positive . . . and could feel it.

Now, this is no panacea for treating Major Depression or some other variant of significant psychiatric disorder.  But it is good adjunctive advice.  It falls into mainstream cognitive treatments of thought substitution, etc., that you will get from any therapist.  Don’t dwell on the negative . . . focus on the positive.  

I had a nice lady in my office yesterday who is going through yet another difficult bout of depression that is resistant to medication.  Her therapist is trying to help her not feel defective for feeling so depressed for so long despite being on so many medications. So she was saying to herself . . . “I’m not defective . . . I’m not defective . . . ”  While I agree, I also don’t think that that is the point.  So I got out a 3 x 5 card and wrote a new affirmation for her that more accurately summed up who she really was, not what she was not . . . 


I told her to repeat it often.  To say it out loud.  To SHOUT it out loud to the universe.  To call out to the universe and demand recognition for these qualities that she possesses. 

Create your own affirmation.  Write it down.  Say it.  Shout it.  Live it. Demand it.

See what happens.

4 comments to Pollyanna waves the pom-poms

  • WarriorKat

    Cognitive Behavioral Therapy definition:

    The nice lady does have a defective brain. Maybe you should teach her that defective is the new normal. Or defective is good, it makes people more interesting.

    Seriously, she should try shock therapy if her medication doesn’t work, because she cannot Pollyanna mantra herself out of serious mental illness. Let’s get real before the nice lady becomes a suicide statistic.

  • Kat–Interesting how one might allow one’s thinking process to be EFFECTED BY events/circumstances, but when one decides to specifically EFFECT his/her own thinking process by purposeful re-evaluation and thought management . . . it becomes brainwashing.

    Our though processes are “washed” constantly by what we experience. Taking charge of ourselves and doing something about how we think in a proactive sense seems to me what we should be doing. Not allowing others to effect us to the point of control.

    You can keep yourself defective if you want. It is not MY new normal. I prefer to decide for myself how I will think and how I feel.

    By the way, this lady is not yet a candidate for ECT. There are specific criteria that are used. She is not there yet. Medication changes are underway that may (hopefully) provide for some much needed benefit. While one can never be certain, she is not at this time a risk to herself.

    –DH MD

  • […] What? You don’t say that to yourself daily? Then you need a better psychiatrist.  […]

  • db

    I feel better when I think positive thoughts. It’s not always the easiest thing to do, though.