Characteristics of Pessimistic People – Must See

In this article, we discuss the Characteristics of Pessimistic People and other things related to them. The well-being of the person lies in the balance, for it is essential that there is a certain degree of optimism, which is the “bright” part of the person.

Perhaps at other times, there is some pessimism, sometimes it can be supported by the vision of an objective reality that is not very encouraging.

Firstly, you need to know the pessimistic definition, what does pessimistic means?

What is Pessimism?

  • Pessimism is a negative or depressed mental attitude, in which an undesirable outcome is anticipated from a given situation. Pessimists tend to focus on the negatives of life in general.
  • Pessimism also means thinking that bad things are more likely to happen or emphasizing the bad aspect of a situation.

The above are pessimistic meaning in a simple sentence, now let us move further to explore more about pessimism.

Pessimism is not a continuum

Being pessimistic does not mean that a person is necessarily “negative” or toxic; it all depends on the degree, the background, and the continuity through the time of the condition

As well as its effects, there is a degree of pessimism that can be functional and sometimes it is necessary to give a balance to life when there is a disproportionately positive vision, and outside of reality, it can no longer be considered as essential aspects to go towards goals and achieve.

People may be optimistic in some aspects, but pessimistic in others, and among the latter we can distinguish a few that can fall into the pathology, which can eventually lead to depression, some cases of extreme pessimism can end in suicide.

Individuals can change their position from optimism to pessimism, depending on the circumstances of life, we all have “happier” days and times, and there are also “difficult” days or times, when hopes may wane.

A certain pessimism can be briefly expressed as a state of mind, a temporary condition of the mind, in the form of a continuous attitude or as a trait of a stable personality.

Recent research shows us that neurophysiology is involved in this process. There is a wide range of psychometric tests that psychologists can apply to determine the degree and type of pessimism.

How to recognize a pessimistic personality?

1. Do you often expect the worst, even though sometimes the “wind” looks right for you? Pessimistic people have a particular style of cognitive attribution.

Their way of perceiving things usually includes a somewhat catastrophic and fatalistic view of circumstances, many of them tend to expect very little from situations and people, even if they seem “positive” “They may even have the belief that their future may be bleak, they tend to focus their attention more on negative aspects.

Do you think you are “realistic” rather than pessimistic? Often this is how the pessimists think of themselves; it can be difficult for them to cherish hopes, especially when they are not based on what they call “reality.”

2. Do you know someone who frequently finds a “but” to things? And when they offer a solution, they often say and think: Yes, but … To the pessimists, it can be complex to see “the good things”.

They incline to focus on the negative side and give it a lot of importance; some have low self-esteem and depressed moods. Many of them maintain misanthropy as a philosophy of life.

3. The ability or inability to control important aspects of life is a crucial element that determines the attitude of a person.

Some pessimists believe that the events that take place in their lives are controlled by forces external to them, often prevailing in them the conviction that they have little or no ability to influence important situations of their own life and their environment, positioning themselves in an attitude of victims, thus limiting their power to modify their reality. Pessimism facilitates a passive attitude itself that hinders and minimizes positive feedback.

4. To make a decision, do you carefully consider all the options and their possible outcomes? Excessive optimism can lead to impulsive behaviors, which can be risky and dangerous for the well-being of the person.

Functional pessimists usually make their decisions taking into account eventualities and details that can ensure success in some situations.

” The vulgar men only think about how to pass the time. An intelligent man tries to take advantage of it. “

Pessimists often experience anticipatory anxiety, their ideas regarding what might come can generate distress, stress, and fear in them.

Do you often worry about how things will turn out? When anguish motivates to manage the activities, prepare and take care, not only “worry,” this can contribute to diminishing a certain degree of anticipatory anxiety.

5. The processing of the information of the pessimists is selective and aimed at looking for possible threats and disadvantages regarding someone or something.

This can be useful because they are natural detectors of faults, dangers, and risks since they can assign a more significant amount of attention to signals and negative emotional stimuli, while they tend to forget the positive aspects of a situation, due to attentional bias.

So a pessimist can be valuable in a team because they will usually be able to identify the negative issues of something, because even their brain pays more attention to this, while a positive mindset could ignore this.

6. Some pessimists tend to remain passive in their comfort zone when they encounter a challenge, anchored in the belief that their efforts are useless anyway.

Worrying excessively about potential dangers and focusing your energy on what could go wrong leads to avoidance, passivity, and worsening of moods of sadness, melancholy, and increased vulnerability to depression.

Therefore, the optimal balance is cautious optimism that is firmly anchored in reality.

7. They are often more likely to believe that they are vulnerable to health problems in the future.

When taken to the extreme, it can fall into hypochondria, where the individual will interpret minor physical symptoms as signs of a severe illness, perform many unnecessary medical tests and express doubts and disbelief when they notify him of an improvement.

8. Some have low self-esteem, insecurity, and a negative attitude towards what they project; The body image is a factor which in turn can affect their self – esteem.

Consequently, the implication of the tendency to see more body imperfections (real or imagined) and to exaggerate their meaning is also associated with more excellent activity in the right hemisphere.

9. Their coping strategies in the face of anguish are based mainly on the use of avoidance behaviors.

When faced with obstacles on the way to the desired goal, the pessimist will generally give up easily, or before starting a task.

“They lose more because they fear failure” because the doubts can limit them in their behavior, rather than because of a real incapacity of the subject.

10. They can establish a learned thinking pattern of learned helplessness and a depressed mood.

They may become content with reality, sometimes because they learned to ignore their own needs, even basic ones such as hunger and sleep, sometimes from very early stages of their development, can be victims of abuse and violence constantly, as they tend to “Habituate” easily to abuse.

11. Personal growth and success, having significant achievements requires taking risks, that is, leaving the “comfort zone”.

The pessimist may have a reduced tolerance to take risks, associated with a motivational deficit and a feeling of hopelessness.

Prevent risks, the passive instead of proactive attitude and caution are also linked with more activity in the right hemisphere.

The aversion to risk correlated positively with cortical activity in the right prefrontal cortex.

Exhaust and avoidance behaviors minimize possible positive experiences and their reinforcing effects.

12. The personal improvement, aspiring to improve our skills and capabilities may be aspects for the benefit of the development of the person, however, when the belief of “not being good enough” is what motivates the search for an ” unattainable perfection ” “, Can condemn the individual to frustration, lack of acceptance and deteriorate their self-esteem badly.

The high standards pursued by perfectionists may be impossible to perform so that repeated failures reinforce the belief in their personal incompetence or their alleged inferiority, so they are condemned to constant frustration, anger, and dissatisfaction in their lives.


This vicious circle further exacerbates negative thinking patterns and can lead to a sense of hopelessness and self-punishment, which can lead to severe depression.


Defensive pessimism

It is a strategy used to manage anxiety, it helps them to work more efficiently, cognitively reducing their expectations to different particular circumstances that distress them and think and imagine possible solutions or ways of coping with it, in this way they “prepare”, not only “pre-occupied”, but busy getting ready for the worst, through planning and reducing levels of anxiety at the end of “mental exercise”.

Neurobiology of pessimism

There are underlying neurobiological mechanisms that may explain why some people are pessimistic or have a tendency to see the “half-empty glass”.

Research by David Hecht (2013), clearly shows that certain thoughts, attitudes, moods and much of the behavior of both optimists and pessimists can be explained by the differentiation, predominance, and functionality of the cerebral hemispheres.

In this sense, these states of mind are governed by different neurophysiological processes.

The mediation between a more realistic and less exaggerated evaluation of oneself, the concern for an uncertain future, contains significant elements of fear, anxiety, and stress, emotions that are mediated mainly by neural networks within the right hemisphere.

At the same time, the cerulean locus is an anatomical region in the brain stem that is linked to the responses to stress and fear, the higher levels of cortisol induced by stress and anxiety correlated in Hecht’s study with greater activation of the right hemisphere.


The research showed that patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) found in Pessimistic People, in which the event that produced the trauma, can “be experienced again and again”, through sudden memories or “flashbacks” and nightmares, physiologically activate the responses of coping with fear and stress, observed an increase in activity in the right hemisphere.

The panic attacks and social phobia were associated with hyperactivity on that side of the brain.

In our two cerebral hemispheres is involved in the mediation of the fundamental functions for life, sharing information with each other, through the corpus callosum.

The “pessimistic view” and its particular characteristics are usually mediated by the right hemisphere, while optimistic attitudes are regulated mainly by the left hemisphere.

Greater physiological activity in the frontal parts of the right hemisphere that is associated with an increased risk of feeling hopeless due to negative life events and a greater probability of falling into depression, as shown by the research by David Hecht (2013).

It may interest you: Arousal or cortical activation and the law of Yerkes-Dodson

When the attention on the positive side of life is not something that occurs in the person in a “natural” way.

It can be achieved through a conscious effort of the will, it is possible to give some relief to the body through the mind and to the mind through the body, many ancestral techniques such as Vipassana, Yoga, and mindfulness, to name a few, provide simple techniques for self-observation.

The focus of attention, promote states of relaxation and provide techniques for managing anxiety, stress and to balance pessimistic thoughts. When such efforts are not enough, it is recommended to seek the help of a psychologist.

Now that you know pessimistic definition and also more about Pessimistic People and their characteristics, kindly share this post on your social media accounts. Thanks!

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