Canadian researchers have discovered that a lot of the hype about positive thinking is just that - hype - and can even backfire for some people. Bad news for the multi-billion dollar "self help" publishing business. From BBC News
The researchers, from the University of Waterloo and the University of New Brunswick, asked people with high and low self-esteem to say "I am a lovable person."
They then measured the participants' moods and their feelings about themselves.
In the low self-esteem group, those who repeated the mantra felt worse afterwards compared with others who did not.
However people with high self-esteem felt better after repeating the positive self-statement - but only slightly.
The psychologists then asked the study participants to list negative and positive thoughts about themselves.
They found that, paradoxically, those with low self-esteem were in a better mood when they were allowed to have negative thoughts than when they were asked to focus exclusively on affirmative thoughts.
In other words, if you don't need it, self-help techniques are wonderful. If your self-esteem is in the toilet, not so much.