How Being Positive Promotes Healthy Relationships

Our experience has shown us that it is very important to be positive about both your partner and your relationship. Where you put your attention can often change your entire experience of what is happening.

We recently read an article in the New York Times entitled “Turning Negative Thinkers Into Positive Ones,” and found it touched on this issue in a most interesting way. In the article the author shares some new studies that show that even with just a few weeks of compassionate mindfulness training, the participants were able to have a much higher degree of positive response. It is important to understand that the article is not just saying that you should find a way to see things positively, but rather that you can change your brain to respond differently. As we know from many of the recent neurological studies of the functions of the brain, it is plastic and can indeed change and rewrite old patterns and behaviors.

Dr. Fredrickson’s team found that six weeks of training in a form of meditation focused on compassion and kindness resulted in an increase in positive emotions and social connectedness and improved function of one of the main nerves that helps to control heart rate. The result is a more variable heart rate that, she said in an interview, is associated with objective health benefits like better control of blood glucose, less inflammation and faster recovery from a heart attack.

Dr. Davidson’s team showed that as little as two weeks’ training in compassion and kindness meditation generated changes in brain circuitry linked to an increase in positive social behaviors like generosity.

Another interesting point in the article was that the researchers found that accumulating “micro-moments of positivity, can, over time, result in greater overall well-being.” This is one of those areas where your relationship can be a source of positive moments to support you throughout your day.

We thought this information would be heralded by most people with great joy and enthusiasm, since knowing that you can change your negative responses, rather than be subjected to them, is surely good news! However, we were quite surprised to see that there were, along with the pleased responses and statements of agreement to the article, many very negative comments in which the writers seemed determined to hold onto and defend their negative stance toward life.

80% to 90% of how we see the world comes from our brains, and what you look for is what you see. Put these two together, and a pessimist is going to see negative outcomes and discount the positive ones.

Our animal fears make us err on the side of caution. If it might be a tiger, act cautiously, even if it’s improbable. But life is filled with far more good things than bad things, and nowhere more so than in relationships. You have to believe one is possible. It is only that belief that makes it possible. Then arguments are just surface grime that can be washed away. Otherwise, arguments are fissures that can widen into a breakup.

Being positive promotes healthy relationships; find out how #relationships #quote #dating Click To TweetWe both come from different beginnings in terms of positivity, but we seem to have landed in the same place together. Maude’s mother Annie was completely able to see the positive in every situation, and she passed on this attitude to her children. Phil’s mother was deeply troubled in his first years of life by the loss of his father in the war while she was still pregnant. This colored her experience strongly, and it wasn’t until much later in life that Phil was able to arrive at a positive viewpoint through his own work and study. Backgrounds may vary greatly, but it is possible in a relationship to come from a place of trust and peace and positive assumptions about each other and how you will deal with life’s events together.

It is more than possible, it is essential to a successful relationship and a happy and healthy life. There are methods that are now available to all of us to assist in reprogramming the brain to respond differently if necessary. Taking a mindfulness course can be a wonderful undertaking to do together as a couple. When we can see the positive side of ourselves and our partners and look at the positive possibilities in any given situation, it is very freeing and enriching.

One comment on “How Being Positive Promotes Healthy Relationships
  1. Jinjee says:

    I agree completely! When I pray regularly I feel happier and more positive. A gratitude practice goes hand in hand with that for me, and many people find just listing three things they are grateful for each morning or evening changes their outlook positively.

    You’ve spoken in your books about the fact that we are able to choose from a variety of reactions to most situations, and that was helpful for me. I realize that if I’m feeling negatively it was because I chose that reaction. I generally try to work through it and see what my feelings and needs are and if there is something I need to express about such. If not, once I process whatever I’m feeling, I am often able to let go of the negative outlook and choose to focus on the positive.

    Sometimes when I’ve been stuck in a negative story, I missed some really lovely gestures made by my partner in the moment. Later when I realized this, I threw out my negative story in the interest of not missing out on any more of the loveliness!

    Having open lines of communication with ones partner helps and if we really listen to their feedback and they are well-intentioned then that helps me to come into clarity on situations.

    I have been guilty in the past of the opposite too, wearing rose colored glasses in a situation and not recognizing the extent of the problems in my then relationship.

    Thanks for sharing the bit about your mothers.

    Love you guys!
    Jinjee recently posted..Influences Upon HealthMy Profile

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