How Negative or Positive is you Thinking

Does an extraordinary challenge make you freeze up with fear? Do you let yourself dwell om minor slights? If so, you are prone to destructive thinking patterns that can prevent you from doing your best, fostering successful relationships, and in general, coping well, and living long. Pessimists are less likely to survive major surgery, for example.

The antidote for destructive thoughts is cultivating constructive ones. To help you do that, Seymour Epstein, Ph. D., professor of psychology at the University of Massachusetts and author of You’re Smarter Than You Think, adapted the following quiz from a psychological test he uses to help patients strengthen their coping skills. This exercise will tell you how positive (constructive) a thinker you are overall and identify the areas that could stand some pumping up.

Rate each statement from 1 to 5 according to the scale:

1 -= completely false

2 = mainly false

3 = undecided

4 = mainly true

5 = completely true

Be honest. Don’t answer according to how you think you should be but how you naturally are.

  1. I don’t worry about things i can do nothing about. ________
  2. I am the kind of person who takes action, not just complains about things. ________
  3. I don’t let little things bother me. ________
  4. If I have an unpleasant chore to do , I try to make the best of it by thinking in positive terms. ________
  5. I don’t feel I have to perform exceptionally well in order to consider myself a worthwhile person. ________
  6. I look at challenges not as something to fear, but as opportunities to test myself and learn. ________
  7. i tend to dwell more on pleasant than unpleasant incidents from the past. ________
  8. When I have a difficult task, I think encouraging thoughts that help me do my best. ________
  9. I tend not to take things personally. _______-_
  10. When faced wit upcoming unpleasant events, I usually think carefully how I will deal with them. ________ Total A ________
  11. I feel that if people treat you badly, you should treat them in kind. ________
  12. Talking about something I want to succeed at all but ensures failure. ________
  13. I believe in Astrology. ________
  14. There are two kinds of people: good and bad. ________
  15. When something good happens to me, I believe it will be balanced by something bad. ________
  16. I have at least one good luck charm. ________
  17. There are many wrong ways to do something, but only one right way. ________
  18. I believe in good and bad omens. ________
  19. I believe in ghosts. ________
  20. I tend to classify people as being either for or against me. ________
  21. I sometimes think that if I want something to happen too badly, it probably won’t. ________
  22. I believe some people are able to read other people’s thoughts. ________
  23. I tend to be very judgmental. ________
  24. I have learned not to hope for something too much – that usually means it won’t happen. ________
  25. I believe there are people who can literally see into the future. ________

Total B (90 minus total for 11 to 25) ________

Grand Total (A+B) ________

Scoring

Above 99 = Very High. You are a very constructive (positive)thinker – you have got a right track mind!

89-99 = High. You are a better than average constructive – positive – thinker. You usually expect good things to happen and they often do. But there’s room for improvement.

74 – 88 = Average. Like most people, you are prone to some destructive, negative, thoughts. Go back through the exercise and try to identify a pattern . For example, statements 11,14,17,20, and 23 represent categorical thinking – seeing situations and people as either good or bad; and 13,16,19,22, and 25 show a kind of thinking that relies on belief in the paranormal. if you gave more than a three to these questions, try to catch yourself before lapsing into your usual assumptions. In addition, shore up your positive thinking by reviewing the positive statements, 1 through 10, paying particular attention to those to which you gave less than a 3.

63 to 73 = Low. Your habitual thinking is somewhat more destructive, or negative than most people’s, and it interferes with your happiness and efficiency. Follow the advice given for average scorers.

below 63 = Very low. Your destructive – negative – thinking is likely ot be the source of serious problems. Work at identifying and correcting it. If you have trouble doing so, consider seeing a therapist. But regardless, don’t expect your negative thoughts to go overnight.