Saturday, July 04, 2009

Positive thinking makes people with low self-esteem feel worse

LOL! Hopefully, this is the last nail in the coffin of the self-esteem fad. One of many other nails here. I don't suppose that the fad really will die, though. Evidence doesn't count in matters like this. It has for instance been shown since the 1940's that Freudian psychotherapy is no better than placebo but it still has many devotees -- particularly in NYC. It's been said, however, that going to a shrink is the only way to get anyone in NYC to listen to you! I remember certain dinners in New York which make me believe that

REPEATING positive statements such as "I am a lovable person" or "I will succeed" makes some people feel worse about themselves instead of raising their self-esteem, a study says.

“From at least as far back as Norman Vincent Peale's (1952) 'The Power of Positive Thinking,' the media have advocated saying favourable things to oneself,” said the study by Canadian psychologists, which was published in “Psychological Science” on Thursday. It cites a popular self-help magazine that advises its readers to: “Try chanting: I'm powerful, I'm strong, and nothing in this world can stop me,” but says the practice doesn't work for everyone.

Positive self-statements make people who are already down on themselves feel worse rather than better, according to the study conducted by psychologists Joanne Wood and John Lee of the University of Waterloo and Elaine Perunovic of the University of New Brunswick.

For the study, the psychologists asked people with low self-esteem and people with high self-esteem to repeat the phrase: “I am a lovable person,” and then measured participants' moods and feelings about themselves. What they found is that individuals who started out with low self-esteem felt worse after repeating the positive self-statement.

“I think that what happens is that when a low self-esteem person repeats positive thoughts, they probably have contradictory thoughts,” Wood told AFP. “So, if they're saying 'I'm a lovable person,' they might be thinking, 'Well, I'm not always lovable' or 'I'm not lovable in this way,' and these contradictory thoughts may overwhelm the positive thoughts,” she said.

Although positive thinking does appear to be effective when it's part of a broader program of therapy, on its own it tends to have the reverse effect of what it is supposed to do, said Wood, urging self-help books, magazines and TV shows to stop sending a message that just chanting a positive mantra will raise self-esteem. “It's frustrating to people when they try it and it doesn't work for them,” Wood told AFP.


New Vegemite put to the taste test

Now THIS is important news. Like most Australians, I am never without Vegemite in the house. I had to laugh at the comment in red, though. That is a LOT of Vegemite to eat. For British readers: Vegemite is similar to Marmite. For American readers: It's beyond explanation. If you ever try it, you will likely hate it

For more than 85 years Australia has been a nation of happy little Vegemites but now there's a new version of the iconic breakfast spread. Mixing the salty taste of traditional Vegemite with milk, butter and cream cheese, it is being marketed as a snacking spread or dip.

Great grandson of the inventor of Vegemite Cyril P Callister, Jamie Callister said during today's sample release at Toowong the new Vegemite should be judged on its merits and not compared to the breakfast table favourite. "I think with this one it's probably going to have a wider appeal - it's not as sharp a taste and it might appeal to more people," Mr Callister said. "Traditionally with Vegemite you either love it or you hate it... I think this might cover a bit more of the in-between ground."

Most shoppers who tried the new spread said they were keen on the new taste but there weren't many who said they would consider switching from the original. "I do like it, it's got a slight after taste but it is smoother and creamier than the original," Sandy Mckevitt from Springwood said. "I'm a Vegemite freak so I don't think I would (switch)."

Fellow shopper Gary Rendshaw said: "It's quite nice, it's like old Vegemite but with a quieter taste." "I think I'll switch to the new one but I'll still keep the old one... I buy the two kilogram buckets of it and they last me about two months."

But outside the centre Lisa Cunningham and her daughter Lilly from Bardon were thoroughly unimpressed with the new product, saying it would not feature in their household. "It's terrible. It is too sweet and I like the saltiness of the original Vegemite. It tastes like they've put some sort of sweetness in it to lessen the taste of the original Vegemite taste," Mrs Cunningham said. Lilly said she would not be recommending the new spread to her friends at school. "Normally I like my Vegemite not too thick on toast... I don't really like the new stuff," she said.

Kraft Foods Australia/New Zealand has said in a statement there are no plans to remove traditional Vegemite from the stands and it will continue to be manufactured in Australia. The new flavour of Vegemite will be available in supermarkets across Australia from July 6.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Positive thinking makes people with low self-esteem feel worse"

This result has been anticipated by many of the most serious self-help gurus by now, namely that mere verbalization is not a useful lever in accessing that 50% of personality that is not genetic. They instead recommend both static and story line based visualization of positive OUTCOMES. Of course if the outcome comes to naught, self-esteem will suffer but that's only assuming life did not improve much at all or got worse, in which case defeatism represents mere realism about lack of talent, drive, or favorable conditions.