The Power of Positivity
Our thoughts impact our psychological health and well-being. People who experience recurrent negative thoughts are at an increased risk for feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, mood and anxiety disorders. Negativity can lead to low self-esteem and self-worth which can sabotage your relationships. It can also affect your decision-making, clarity and perspective. Negativity can be stifling, whereas positivity opens the door to possibilities, creativity and hope.
Positivity is the practice of focusing your thoughts on things that are good. It is an attitude that generally reflects optimism, expects better outcomes and results. The research is clear that positive thinking can improve our mental health, well-being and happiness. Positivity can lead to a better future, a more productive life and quality relationships.
Positivity and negativity affect relationships. The difference is that if we practice thinking well of our partner, choosing to focus on the positive qualities, attributes, and characteristics the better our relationship can be. On the other hand, if we are in a state of negativity, where most of our thinking is negative, the quality of our relationship suffers.
Positivity doesn’t imply bad things don’t happen. Nor does it mean everything in your relationship is great. Positivity means that you are being intentional about what you are focusing on. Even when things are challenging in your relationship, you can still control your thought life. You can learn to cultivate more caring, kind and loving thoughts. This in turn can affect your emotional well-being and your relationship.
People who practice positive thinking have more quality friendships, greater marital satisfaction, better physical health, and live longer lives. They are also better able to meet life’s challenges and take advantage of opportunities for successful relationships. Positive thinking is one of the keys to health and well-being in your relationships.
Creating Positivity in Your Relationship
1. Notice Your Thoughts
Don’t just accept your automatic thoughts. Rather, learn to be intentional about what you are actually thinking about. Are your thoughts good? Are they negative? Are they healthy? What are you thinking about? Are you aware of how your thoughts are affecting you and your relationship? If this is a new idea, you may want to keep a thought journal.
2. Observe Emotions
What are you feeling when you are thinking about your partner? Identify the feelings and name them. Are you feeling happy? Joyful? Sad? Angry? Bitter? Frustrated. Learn to identify what it is you are feeling.
3. Pay Attention to Communication
As you and your partner communicate, challenge unhealthy or faulty thinking patterns. If you find that your thoughts about your partner are mostly negative, it’s time to explore what is going on. It may be that there are relationship dynamics that need to be addressed or processed. Sometimes negative patterns have been going on so long you don’t know how to change them. You may feel stuck.
4. Focus on the Good
One of the ways to do this is to be deliberate about thinking about good things that you like or admire about your partner. Focus on the qualities that you fell in love within your partner. Try writing them down and making a list. Then put the list in a place where you can regularly see it.
5. Practice Appreciation and Gratitude
Be appreciative and thankful for your partner. This is another way you can change negative thinking into positivity. Start your day by thinking of two things that you are thankful for regarding your partner. Now think of two things that you appreciate about your partner. You may even want to share your thoughts with your partner.
6. Choose Forgiveness
Forgiveness is a choice and a process. If we hold on to unforgiveness and harbor feelings of bitterness, resentment or frustration we will have negative thoughts toward our partner. Become aware of any unforgiveness you may be holding. Decide how and what you want to do with it. It could make all the difference in experiencing more positivity in your relationship. You may also feel freedom when you learn to forgive. You get to decide.
Positive thinking is a skill that requires practice. Positivity attracts more positivity. Learning to replace negative thoughts with positive ones takes time. You are retraining your thought processes, in so doing you are also changing the neurochemistry in your brain. In time, changing your thinking to more positive thoughts can increase your well-being and mental health.
Do you feel emotionally disconnected? Lost in your relationship? Tired of arguing? Get a jump start to happiness with couples counseling. Dr. Angela Bisignano specializes in helping couples get back on track from surviving to thriving. Contact Dr. Bisignano at her office in Palos Verdes, California.