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Psychologists Say This Effect Makes People Become Biased And Feel Lonely

Psychologists Say This Effect Makes People Become Biased And Feel Lonely

Have you ever felt like you were the only one to experience a certain thought, problem or emotion? Feeling this way can be extremely isolating, leading to loneliness and a bias towards negativity. However, just because you feel different to everyone else, it doesn’t mean that you are.

Psychologists have concrete psychological evidence on how similar our hopes, dreams, and fears really are, and how we can use this information to feel happier, healthier, and more motivated.

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An identical personality description can apply to many people.

In 1948, a psychologist named Bertram Forer told his students that he was going to present them each with an individualized sketch of their personality. What the students didn’t know was that each sketch was exactly the same. The sketch consisted of twelve points, which included the following:[1]

  1. You have a great need for other people to like and admire you.
  2. You have a tendency to be critical of yourself.
  3. You have a great deal of unused capacity, which you have not turned to your advantage.
  4. While you have some personality weaknesses, you are generally able to compensate for them.
  5. Disciplined and self-controlled outside, you tend to be worrisome and insecure inside.

Does this sound like you? If it does, you’re not alone.

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After presenting the personality sketch, Forer asked his students to rate it according to how well it applied to them. The average rating was 4.26 out of 5, with 5 being ‘excellent.’

This result demonstrates how similar we are to one another, with each student feeling that the twelve statements were uniquely applicable to them. While people may behave in ways that hide feelings like worry and insecurity, studies like this show that they affect everyone. By keeping this in mind, you’ll find it much easier to relate to others and form genuine connections.

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Most humans have very similar needs.

In 1943, a psychologist named Abraham Maslow proposed a ‘hierarchy of needs,’ which represented a variety of human needs in the form of a pyramid.[2] The idea of the pyramid is that in order to move to the next level, the needs of the level below must first be met. For example, before you’re able to fulfill the need for friendship, you must first fulfill basic needs like food and water.

All humans have the same basic needs.

At the base of the pyramid, physiological needs like air, food, and water are listed. The next level deals with safety needs, including personal and financial security. Next comes the level which deals with love and belonging, and includes the need for family, friendship, and intimacy. The next level is labelled ‘esteem,’ and refers to the need to be respected by others and by ourselves.

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Respect from others could come in the form of recognition for achievements, positive attention, or high status. Self-respect involves personal strength, independence, and freedom, regardless of others.

We all want to achieve our full potential.

The next pyramid level is labelled ‘self-actualization,’ which refers to achieving your full potential. The way this level manifests itself could be different from person to person – while one might dream of becoming a famous artist, another could aspire to become a successful writer. While our dreams may be different, this theory suggests that the route to achieving them is actually very similar.

Helping others is important for everyone.

While self-actualization was once considered the top of the pyramid, Maslow actually added another layer later in his life. This layer is labelled ‘self-transcendence,’ and refers to achieving altruistic goals, outside of the individual. This could involve charity work, helping others, or helping the environment.

By remembering that we’re fundamentally very similar to other humans, it’s much easier to avoid feeling negative and lonely. Rather than focusing on the ways you feel different from others, try to direct your attention towards everything you have in common. You’ll feel happier, more motivated, and more connected to others.

Reference

[1] Wikipedia: Forer effect
[2] Simply Psychology: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

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Eloise Best

Eloise is an everyday health expert and runs My Vegan Supermarket, a vegan blog and database of supermarket products.

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Last Updated on September 17, 2019

10 Simple Ways To Always Think Positive Thoughts

10 Simple Ways To Always Think Positive Thoughts

Positive thinking can lead to a lot of positive change in your life. Developing an optimistic outlook can be good for both your physical and mental health.

But sometimes, certain situations arise in life that makes it hard to keep a positive outlook. Take steps to make positive thinking become more like your second nature and you’ll reap the biggest benefits.

Here are 10 ways to make thinking positive thoughts easy:

1. Spend Time with Positive People

If you surround yourself with constant complainers, their negativity is likely to rub off on you.

Spend time with positive friends and family members to increase the likelihood that their positive thinking habits will become yours too. It’s hard to be negative when everyone around you is so positive.

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2. Take Responsibility for Your Behavior

When you encounter problems and difficulties in life, don’t play the role of the victim. Acknowledge your role in the situation and take responsibility for your behavior.

Accepting responsibility can help you learn from mistakes and prevent you from blaming others unfairly.

3. Contribute to the Community

One of the best ways to feel good about what you have, is to focus on what you have to give.

Volunteer in some manner and give back to the community. Helping others can give you a new outlook on the world and can assist you with positive thinking.

4. Read Positive and Inspirational Materials

Spend time each day reading something that encourages positive thinking. Read the Bible, spiritual material, or inspirational quotes to help you focus on what’s important to you in life. It can be a great way to start and end your day.

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Some recommendations for you:

5. Recognize and Replace Negative Thoughts

You won’t be successful at positive thinking if you’re still plagued by frequent negative thoughts. Learn to recognize and replace thoughts that are overly negative. Often, thoughts that include words like “always” and “never” signal that they aren’t true.

If you find yourself thinking something such as, “I always mess everything up,” replace it with something more realistic such as, “Sometimes I make mistakes but I learn from them.”

There’s no need to make your thoughts unrealistically positive, but instead, make them more realistic.

6. Establish and Work Toward Goals

It’s easier to be positive about problems and setbacks when you have goals that you’re working toward. Goals will give you motivation to overcome those obstacles when you encounter problems along the way. Without clear goals, it’s harder to make decisions and gauge your progress.

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Learn to set SMART goals to help you achieve more.

7. Consider the Consequences of Negativity

Spend some time thinking about the consequences of negative thinking. Often, it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

For example, a person who thinks, “I probably won’t get this job interview,” may put less effort into the interview. As a result, he may decrease his chances of getting the job.

Create a list of all the ways negative thinking impacts your life. It likely influences your behavior, your relationships, and your feelings. Then, create a list of the ways in which positive thinking could be beneficial.

8. Offer Compliments to Others

Look for reasons to compliment others. Be genuine in your praise and compliments, but offer it frequently. This will help you look for the good in other people.

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9. Create a Daily Gratitude List

If you start keeping a daily gratitude list, you’ll start noticing exactly how much you have to be thankful for. This can help you focus on the positive in your life instead of thinking about all the bad things that have happened in the day.

Getting in the habit of showing an attitude of gratitude makes positive thinking more of a habit. Here’re 40 Simple Ways To Practice Gratitude.

10. Practice Self-Care

Take good care of yourself and you’ll be more equipped to think positively.

Get plenty of rest and exercise and practice managing your stress well. Taking care of your physical and mental health will provide you with more energy to focus on positive thinking.

Learn about these 30 Self-Care Habits for a Strong and Healthy Mind, Body and Spirit.

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Featured photo credit: DESIGNECOLOGIST via unsplash.com

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