Is happy thinking the source of happiness?

Günter Scheich: "Positive thinking makes you unhappy"

ARD.de: What does "luck" mean for you?

Günter Scheich: Happiness is when I succeed in something. This also includes the process of success itself. And sometimes even more if I also get social recognition for it.


"Wrong paths can be helpful"

On the Saturday of the theme week, Günter Scheich chatted with users about the connection between (un) luck and positive thinking. You can read the chat here. | more

On what occasion were you happy today?

When I was able to help a person who was in emotional need, who was desperate, and take away this need and despair or at least significantly reduce it and give him a new perspective on life. Tonight, too, I was happy after an hour and a half jogging with friends.

When did you experience a "great happiness" and how did this event shape your further life?

There are many events and experiences that have shaped my life. One thing happened to me while climbing many years ago. I was on a summit descent with a friend. Then I realized that something had fallen out of my pocket. It was a very important item of value to me that I really wanted to have back. I agreed with my friend that he would continue his descent slowly, while I wanted to climb again alone to the summit, where I suspected the lost object. Then I wanted to catch up with my friend on the way back.

In fact, I found what I was looking for on the summit - but then it got dark faster than I expected. So when I went down again I lost my orientation and kept climbing into wrong, dangerous walls. I heard my friend who kept calling to me to show me the right way. He was very patient for many hours. I couldn't see him for a long time - and at some point I couldn't hear him either.

I finally managed to get down from the mountain somehow. He and especially I were overjoyed when we met again in the mountain village on the market square, where my friend was still waiting for me. I will not forget that: first of all the patient reliability of my friend and then also my own experience of having come out of the difficult and dangerous situation unscathed.

Do you have a trick to give yourself a moment of happiness?

Yes: Always an interesting task, having an interesting hobby - and physical exercise.

"Think positively - and you will be happy," is the tenor of many advice on happiness. In your non-fiction books with the expressive titles "Positive thinking makes you sick" and "Anger is healthy" you take the opposite view. How do you come up with your theses?

Apart from the fact that a person cannot always think positively, negative thoughts and feelings are at least as important for mental hygiene and orientation in the world as positive ones. Negative thoughts and feelings help to cope with bad experiences, trauma and the inevitable dark side, unpleasant challenges of life. For centuries they have been used for psychological development in psychotherapy.

Those who only think positively, on the other hand, are taking risks in life, the occurrence of which can make them unhappy for years or even forever. The compulsively applied "positive thinking" is a repression and narrow-gauge psychology, a pure black and white thinking. In between, however, life takes place. Insofar, a superimposed "positive thinking" makes the soul sick in the long run, divides the person into a good and a bad soul, so that in a certain way the person becomes afraid of his own thoughts, his own soul and can become downright schizophrenic. Resting in yourself, trusting yourself, looks different. Furthermore, thinking cannot replace skills, experience and emotional conflicts. It's just a nutshell on the sea of ​​the soul.

Ingo Fischer conducted the interview

Status: October 1st, 2013, 9 p.m.