Couples can benefit from pushing back on the negativity bias that is wired into our brains.
Do you and your partner ever dwell on the positive in your relationship? Maybe you should.
It’s really easy to dwell on the negative in our personal lives and relationships. The brain is wired to have a negativity bias. In other words, it is more reactive to negative stimulii. This being the case, it’s clear how this is one reason couples can get stuck in a negative loop together, quick to call out all the hurts, wrongs, imperfections and failures of each other in a very reactionary way.
As a relationship therapist, I often see this “negativity bias” in full swing when couples come to see me for help. After hearing their concerns of all the things going wrong and the changes they would like to make, I always make time to explore what’s going right to assist them in accessing the positives in their relationship. If they struggle to find anything currently positive, I ask questions about what brought them together initially. I want us to spend a little time dwelling on the positive to help create a more balanced perspective of what their relationship really looks like.
If you’re having relationship problems, simply being aware of the human tendency to go to the negative provides you an opportunity to do something different. You and your partner can work hard to push back a little on the negativity bias and focus on some of the positive things about each other, even little things that were done by each of you on a daily basis that might be overlooked. This is a great place for appreciation and gratitude to be woven in to your relationship as well.
- Communication Tip Commit to a few minutes a day discussing anything you can think of that’s going well together. It might be something you really love about each other or a behavior done that had meaning.
Spend some time dwelling on the positive. If your relationship is worth working on, this just might be the reminder you need to stay the course together.
You can find more tips and tools for creating a better relationship including how to assess the emotional safety in your own, practice active listening and other worksheets in The Premarital Counseling Workbook for Couples - and The Marriage Refresher Course Workbook for Couples.
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