“Bad emotions, bad parents, and bad feedback have more impact than good ones, and bad information is processed more thoroughly than good. The self is more motivated to avoid bad self-definitions than to pursue good ones. Bad impressions and bad stereotypes are quicker to form and more resistant to disconfirmation than good ones.” -from a paper, ‘Bad is Stronger than Good,’ as cited by Nobel Prize winner (economics), Daniel Kahneman, in Thinking Fast and Slow
The Negative Dominates
Sadly, this idea rings very true. Think about how long bad feelings last and how hard they are to shake. Now, think about how quickly great feelings dissipate and how fragile they are when confronted by something negative.
But I refuse to let my life be dominated by the fact that, for reasons of biological survival that are no longer really relevant for me, the negative dominates. Instead, I seek to do the hard work to dispel bad feelings, and replace them with good ones at every opportunity. Mindfulness really helps with this – consciously looking for and celebrating the small (and large) positive things in my life. Slowing down the tempo of my life helps, too. When I’m not stressed by being hurried, I’m much more likely to remain in a positive state of mind (the same is true of my husband, despite his love of stimulation…! It’s a real fight for him to slow down, but he always benefits when he does.) Less bad stuff happens to you when you take your time to savor things a bit.
Writing is also helpful when I try to shake the negative. I can explore the bad things that have happened and, in so doing, make it less powerful. When I write, I am able to seek out ‘good self-definitions’ by exploring what makes life positive. (Now you know one of the reasons I enjoy writing these tips – it’s therapeutic!)
Can you think of some tactics you might use to fight the power of the negative?
You can find great resources for couples impacted by ADHD at adhdmarriage.com, including: a free online treatment overview; free downloadable chapters of my books; a community forum with other couples facing similar issues; a large number of blog posts on various topics; referrals; and my very popular couples course: ADHD Effect In-Depth Couples' Seminar - Next live session starts October, 2016 - this eight-session phone seminar has helped many couples turn around their relationship.