Taking In The Good

Why is it that some people need to create drama and make things into bigger issues than they should be?  The most obvious answer to this question is that many people do it for the attention.  Any kind of attention, good or bad, is better than no attention.  Some people just tend to overreact to things though, while some just seem to thrive on conflict and are waiting for the next thing to complain about or be angry about.  They appear to be looking for negatives.

I recently read a book called Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence by Rick Hanson, Ph.D. that might explain why this is.  It seems our brains are hard wired to think more about negative things than positive things as a means for survival, to prepare us for the worst.  This makes sense back in the days where we had to hunt for food and build our own shelter when our survival instincts were necessary.  You would think that perhaps our brains would have evolved to not do this, now that we don’t need those survival skills, but apparently they haven’t.  The author explains that the brain is better at building brain structure based on negative experiences than it is on positive ones, and negative information about someone is more memorable than positive information.  It makes sense to me that the negative experiences are transferred into long-term memory more often because of the sometimes stronger or more intense emotional responses attached to them.  So we need to make a conscious effort to “take in the good” so that we don’t still feel down in the dumps, even when we are generally having mostly positive experiences.

Going back to my “Gratitude and Attitude” post, I was partly talking about how I think it is important to go INTO situations with a positive attitude.  This author was pointing out the importance of reflecting BACK on experiences and life in general and trying to focus on the positives and how they made us feel and really appreciate those moments.  He also goes through the process of how to do this.

I have to admit that for a while, I had gotten away from my habit of writing down something each night for which I am grateful and something I enjoyed about my day. I am back to doing it after reading this book, and I do think I am feeling a difference again, but now I am taking even more time to think about why I am grateful for a particular person, thing, or event and focus on how good he/she/it makes me feel.  It forces me to end the day on a positive note, to appreciate any positives even if they are small ones, and it puts me in a better mood before going to bed.  That, in turn, puts me in a better mood when I wake up, which makes it less likely that I will notice or focus on the negatives.  I’m not going to lie and say this makes all of the negatives go away, but I do feel like I can deal with them a little more calmly.  Now, if I could only get the rest of my immediate family to think more along these lines!

Gratitude is the key that unlocks every door.

If you have any thoughts to share on this topic, please feel free to click on “Leave a Comment” below the title to this post.  You can easily read any or all previous posts by clicking on the “Home” page tab and scrolling through the topics, or you can search by clicking on a category or tag word or by using the search box to the left.

4 thoughts on “Taking In The Good

  1. I am married to someone who isn’t grateful. He doesn’t realize how good he has it. What I need is a way to train those around me to be grateful. It’s also really hard for me to continue to give of myself when I know he doesn’t appreciate it. I struggle to keep my own personality in tact when it’s barraged with negativity.

    Like

    • I can very much relate. I have found that focussing on the positives, even the smallest ones, does help my own well-being though. It’s not always easy, so making a conscious effort is definitely necessary.

      Like

  2. I have been trying your idea of thinking about and writing down positive thoughts about the day before going to bed ever since I read this, and I think it has been helping me too. Gratitude is really a pretty simple concept but it is easy to overlook and get lost in all the stressful things or things that bring us down. Thanks for the idea!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad it is helping you. I am inconsistent with it, but I do notice a difference when I am doing it regularly and really thinking about why I am grateful for particular people or things.

      Like

Feel free to share your thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s