Oliver Burkeman on 'Antidote,' negative thinking

'The Antidote' by Oliver Burkeman
Book cover courtesy of publisher

Oliver Burkeman, writer for The Guardian, says your efforts to start off the new year on a positive foot on your path to happiness is probably not going to work. In his new book, "The Antidote," he looks at a "negative path" to happiness as efforts to clear your life of negative thoughts can often lead to more anxiety and unhappiness.

Burkeman on NPR:

"I think the premise from which I start is this idea that ... relentless positivity and optimism is exactly the same thing as happiness; that the only way to achieve anything worthy of the name of happiness is to try to make all our thoughts and feelings as positive as possible, to set incredibly ambitious goals, to visualize success, which you get in a million different self-help books. Whereas, actually, there's a lot of research now to suggest that many of these techniques are counterproductive, that saying positive affirmations to yourself in the mirror can make you feel worse and that visualizing the future can make you less likely to achieve it. And so what I wanted to do in this book was to explore what I ended up calling 'the negative path to happiness,' which involves instead turning toward uncertainty and insecurity, even pessimism, to try to find a different way that might be more durable and successful."

Burkeman joined The Daily Circuit Thursday, Jan. 17 to talk about his book.

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