Negative thinking in relationships is more common than you might think. Negative events stand out even in the minds of otherwise happy, positive people. Ever find yourself fixating on or coming back to something your husband or wife said? Even months or years later? Don’t worry; help’s here.
Negative Thinking Is Biologically Hard-Wired into Human Beings
I was listening to a talk recently and the speaker was telling us about how our brains are wired. He said that when something good happens it doesn’t stick in our brain because our brain treats the good like Teflon. But when something bad happens, our brain acts completely different, it becomes Velcro.
It doesn’t make sense that our own brain would act so contrary to what would be more helpful to us in our lives. It would be much better if all the good things in life were to stick like glue and the bad things would just roll off, but that’s not the way we are wired.
The Worst Experiences Stick with Us the Longest
Just think about the times in your relationship where you get mad at the person you love. When you are upset with them, all you see and feel and know is the upset, or what they did to you. You aren’t thinking of the time when they were wonderfully sweet. You aren’t remembering all the things that made you fall for them in the first place.
This is how all couples are. All of us get mad and when we get mad we don’t remember what happened before the incident. In fact we might even have a list of grievances that we can easily recall when we get our feelings hurt. We might be the kind of mate that throws lots and lots of hurts and wrong doings at our partner when something bad happens.
What Can We Do About Our Tendency to Get Trapped in Negative Thinking?
So if we look at how the brain is wired; good is the stuff we forget, bad is the stuff we remember, it’s easy to see why we might gather all the hurts and throw them in. That’s just how our brain remembers our life and when we feel pain, we really feel it.
So if we know this, what can we do about it? The first part of any type of change is to become aware. If this makes sense to you, and you find yourself pretty much consumed by the bad or wrong with your mate, you are gaining awareness.
Use Tricks Like Reflecting on Good Times with Your Loved One, To Counteract Negative Thinking in Relationships
There are even things you can do to help you remember the good, but it takes some practice. We have to make a conscious effort to bring the good moments into our mind so the wiring in our brain can change. In other words, when you think of something good that happened between you and your mate, or with your pet, or at your job, try and think about the feeling you had when this good thing occurred.
If you can re-think of the incident and feel the good emotion that went with it, then you are on your way to change. When we re-think of goodness and feel it in our body, we are building resources inside our brain to help us out of negative experiences.
Overcoming Negative Thinking Takes Practice; Make Time to Practice Positive Thinking
It is that easy. But here’s the hard part: you have to do the practice. When something good happens to you, try and recall it later in the day. Breathe into the experience for about 10 seconds. Really feel it inside your body. This is the exercise. The more you remember the good, the more your brain gets used to understanding that the good is there.
If you just expect your brain to do this on it’s own, it won’t. Remember, we are hardwired to remember only the negatives. We must train our beautiful brains to remember that there is so much good in our lives, even if by default we can’t remember.
Stop Feeling Inadequate and Start Feeling Cherished in Your Relationship
Read a Book About Relationships
Learn how you and your partner can communicate better and express more appreciatio nfor one another by reading Linda’s book, Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship. It might help you understand the ways you fulfill one another and how happy you both are that you’re there for each other. Give it a read.
Get Couples Counseling
Come in for couples counseling. Couples counseling can help you and your loved one get the most out of your relationship. It'll equip you with coping strategies and tools for communication that can help you argue less and love more.