The Positive Power of Negative Thinking – NYTimes.com

Though much of this research is new, the essential insight isn’t. Ancient philosophers and spiritual teachers understood the need to balance the positive with the negative, optimism with pessimism, a striving for success and security with an openness to failure and uncertainty. The Stoics recommended “the premeditation of evils,” or deliberately visualizing the worst-case scenario. This tends to reduce anxiety about the future: when you soberly picture how badly things could go in reality, you usually conclude that you could cope. Besides, they noted, imagining that you might lose the relationships and possessions you currently enjoy increases your gratitude for having them now. Positive thinking, by contrast, always leans into the future, ignoring present pleasures.

via The Positive Power of Negative Thinking – NYTimes.com.

(This is how San Jose gets into the New York Times. Just sayin’)

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The Virtues of Daydreaming

“Certainly she was losing consciousness of the outer things. And as she lost consciousness of outer things, her mind kept throwing things up from its depths, scenes and names, sayings, memories and ideas, like a fountain spurting.”

– Virginia Woolf, To The Lighthouse

Studies that show how taking a break from a problem, working on other tasks, daydreaming (and night-dreaming), and letting your mind wander can help you come up with more solutions or more creative approaches.

Read: The Virtues of Daydreaming, by Jonah Lehrer for The New Yorker