As part of your mediation preparation, consider being, and staying, positive.
If you choose to stay positive, not only will your own mood be improved, you will have a better chance of settling your case. Studies show that students who watch comedies prior to negotiations had better outcomes than those who did not.
In the same way, being optimistic has its advantages. If your style is to be pessimistic when bad things happen to you, there is hope. Martin Seligman, a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, has devoted his professional life to exploring optimism and pessimism and teaching optimism as a learned behavior. His book, Learned Optimism, takes the jargon out of psychology and makes his ideas accessible to lay people.
Seligman suggests that people have an “explanatory style,” that is, the way they explain things to themselves when bad things happen. Pessimists tend to see bad events as personal, pervasive and permanent. For instance, if a pessimistic student flunks a test, he might say to himself, “I’m stupid (personal), I can’t do anything right (pervasive), and I will never change (permanent).”
If an optimistic student flunks a test, she might say to herself, “I know I can get better grades; I guess I should study more next time instead of talking with my friends.” In other words, to the optimist, this was a one-time occurrence based on distinct facts. It’s not pervasive or permanent.
Seligman’s breakthrough insight was the notion that optimism can be learned. It’s a matter of training yourself to catch your thoughts, reframe them, and talk to yourself more optimistically (and compassionately).
In addition, your clients will be watching you. If you remain optimistic, your clients will be more likely to remain optimistic. Consequently, your chances for settlement will be improved.