Family Law Blog

The ABC of Optimism

Significant life challenges can be managed and tolerated far better, by simply developing optimism for a good outcome or a more positive future.

Learn an optimistic response

For those of us who are not innately optimistic, life experience provides the lessons. We get blindsided by another disappointment. Followed by a good sook. Then something clicks and we push on. Sometimes it is a distraction. At other times things are turned around by actively challenging our negative thinking. There is no doubt that learned optimism is hard won and we can save ourselves unnecessary emotional angst, periods of low productivity and even depression, by learning to make optimism an automatic response.

The Simple ABC Formula changing pessimism to optimism

Martin Seligman, in his book “Learned Optimism” provides an anecdote to pessimism by the application of a simple ABC formula.  He recommends taking the distressing situation (A) and identifying the thinking you have adopted in response (B). The final step is changing the thought process (C), either by actively distracting yourself or by challenging your distorted thinking. Seligman explains that those of us who are not naturally optimistic, tend to personalise the distressing situation, perceive it as lasting longer and/or see it as more pervasive (by affecting broader aspects of our lives) than is the reality. This is the process by which optimism can be learned.

Seligman’s simple formula can be used as an anecdote to the helplessness experienced by people in difficult circmstances, such as those at a cross road in their relationship. When facing a family law financial or parenting problem, as with other potential life altering events, it is imperative that destructive emotions not be allowed to take hold. A positive attitude about achieving a brighter future is after all the first step in making it happen. 

Our Blog

April 25 2022
Sometimes, if you are going through the separation process or a divorce the legalities could be the last thing on your mind. And, because of the complexities of finalising some relationships, you might find that significant time...
March 9 2022
Separation under one roof is a concept that allows parties to finalise a divorce even though they have completed some of the necessary separation period while still living in the same place. This article will discuss how separation...
February 10 2022
Sometimes during a marriage or while parties are going through the separation process, one becomes entitled to, or receives, an inheritance. Perhaps a parent or grandparent passed away, and as part of the estate process, it becomes...

Contact Us

Call us +61 3 7002 6222

Email us click here

Visit us Raglan House, 4/27-33 Raglan Street
South Melbourne VIC 3205 map



Accessible Family Law acknowledges the First Nations People paying respect to Elders past, present and future as the traditional custodians of this land.  We live, learn and work on the lands of the Bunurong people of the Kulin Nation.  flags 2