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USC Off the Beaten Path: The Search for Spirituality

The Yin and Yang of Positive Thinking

By Chantal Allan, Allison Louie, July 11, 2007

It’s hard to avoid positive thinking these days. The Secret continues to top The New York Times best-seller list for advice books, touting a philosophy that has actually been around for centuries.

It’s the idea that if you think positive thoughts, you will be happier – and get what you want. Now, inevitably, there’s a backlash.

Some psychologists are saying too much wishful thinking not only sets you up for disappointment, but may also have negative effects on your health.

As The Secret movement continues to grow, devout followers are flocking to meetings across the country. The group in Costa Mesa, Calif. boasts more than 250 members.

Chantal Allan reports for Canadian Broadcasting Corp. Radio. Produced by Allison Louie.

Brad Axelrad rings a bell to convene a meeting of fans of the wildly popular positive-thinking guide The Secret in Costa Mesa, Calif.

Click the photo above to view a multimedia slideshow of a meeting of The Secret fans

Image: Positive thinking backlash
Click the anti-smiley to hear Chantal Allan's report on the "positive thinking" backlash movement

Stop Smiling" trademark reprinted with permission of Barbara Held, author of Stop Smiling, Start Kvetching: A 5-Step Guide to Creative Complaining

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