I have had a lifelong interest in psychology -- even got a degree in it after the Army as I tried to figure out myself and others around me. Psychologists will most often say we are in control of our attitudes. Self-help experts will say the one thing in that is in our control during life’s ups and downs is our choice to be positive. BUT -- researchers will now say “not so fast there, Mrs. Positive Person.”  A study published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology shows investigators at Michigan State University are saying results show for the first time that a brain marker really distinguishes negative thinkers from positive thinkers. The study is the first biological evidence proving there are, in fact, positive and negative people in the world.

For the study, 71 women were shown graphic images and asked to put a positive spin on them while their brain activity was recorded. The worriers actually showed a paradoxical backfiring effect in their brains when asked to decrease their negative emotions, which suggests the women have a hard time putting a positive spin on difficult situations and actually make their negative emotions worse even when they are asked to think positively.

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Translation: Saying “snap out of it” probably isn’t going to help.   Scientists say to think about the problem in a different way, although they say it would probably take a lot of time and effort to even start to make a difference.