Embracing Positivity in Relationships

Couple playing aroundLife is wrought with challenges and stress, and it can be tempting to give in, give up, and commence to complain in sex and relationships… to the point that negativity begins to rule your life. However, once negativity takes over, it begins to rule your thought processes, causing long-term effects that are often difficult to recover from. It can take many years and much effort to reverse a negative thought pattern. Moreover, negativity affects your physical health and it can affect your partner’s thoughts as well as sex and relationships. Even when life is throwing you one lemon after another, it is important to embrace a positive outlook. Doing so will substantially improve your ability to cope with your situation and will prevent adverse effects on your sex life and relationship.

Embracing Positivity

Even in the most difficult situations, you have to keep telling yourself that things will get better, and learn to be content despite negative circumstances. Complaining affects your brain, and it affects your partner’s brain, as mentioned on this blog in prior posts.

Difficult circumstances are bad enough without exacerbating and complicating them with a constant flow of mental and verbal negativity. Not only are you not helping yourself to effectively cope with and overcome your situation, you are not helping your partner to do so either. Negativity can result in mental exhaustion, irritability, disagreements, and a change in perspective that can interfere with sexual desire and can further harm or destroy relationships. In negative circumstances, you not only need to be able to build yourself up, but you also need to be uplifting to your partner, encouraging them to focus on the brighter side of things as well.

Case Example

A young woman in her early thirties was married for eight years. The relationship seemed happy at first, but as time went on, and things got tough, her spouse’s negativity drove a wedge between them. An intelligent woman, well educated in psychology, she appealed to him to embrace a more positive outlook, for both their sake. The stress and depression began affecting her physical health and she did not hesitate to inform her spouse about the effects his negativity was having on her. This only resulted in more negativity, and eventually, the marriage ended, mostly because she k new she could not continue living in such a negative environment. She felt helpless and hopeless, and no longer felt any love or sexual desire for the man. In her eyes, he was no longer a man; he was merely the personification of his negativity.

Today, this young woman is in a happy, loving relationship. Her health is better, and she has found this has much to do with her positive environment. It is not that the situation is the best. She works full-time, and her partner is unemployed. They have dealt with several difficult situations, but the difference is that her partner tries to maintain a positive outlook and encourages her to do so as well. And when she does get down and out, he makes every effort to be uplifting and encouraging.

This case example illustrates the importance of positivity in relationships. Love, intimacy, and sexual desire can be hindered or destroyed by negativity. Negativity is a selfish frame of mind. It not only affects you, but those who are around you all the time, especially your spouse or partner. The desire to remain with a partner is contingent on brain science. We all know that the heart is not where love and desire truly reside. Therefore, strong and lasting relationships are built on positivity, even in the most negative of situations.

Emotional Styles of the Brain – Part 3

In the last two weeks, we have defined the first two emotional styles of the brain. The first being resilience to adversity. The adversity can be a wide range of so-called setbacks – from the most trivial things such as someone cutting you off in traffic to the more significant setbacks such as the passing of a loved one. The second being outlook – meaning whether you have a positive or negative view on life. 

Let’s look closely at the second style, outlook, which can be broken down to be defined as either positive outlook or negative outlook. The left prefrontal cortex in a resilient person can be 30 times that of someone who is not as resilient – this means that there is a a pretty big difference in brain activity within people who are clinically depressed and those who are not clinically depressed. For people who suffer from depression, activity in the right prefrontal is much higher. For people who are healthier and have an overall positive outlook on life, activity is the left prefrontal is greater. In other words, left side activity equals positive and right side equals negative.

The thing to remember about these specific findings is that everyone has ups and downs in their lives, so the left and/or right asymmetry can change. This relates back to the first style – adversity – under certain difficult periods of people’s lives, they may behave and/or react differently during these times. This is simply just part of the ebb and flow of life as a human.

Dr. Richard Davidson has been doing research on the emotional styles of the brain for over twenty years. Dr. Davidson’s research has been on all kinds of walks of life, including everyday hard-working Americans, undergraduate volunteers, children and infants, and also a Tibetan monk community. These monks lent their time and brains to science by having Dr. Davidson run MRI’s and EEG’s on them. In his findings, Dr. Davidson has found that these monk’s left prefrontals were off the chart compared to his other findings making this evidence for the stark difference in the brain activity that underlie emotional and personality differences. The monks are constantly smiling, people of good will and constantly help one another. And their brains can prove it.

Next week, we will continue the emotional styles of the brain, digging more into how brain patterns persist or change.

The Role of Positivity in Your Relationship

Young beautiful couple dating

Is it difficult to create a place of positivity within your relationship? The answer is a resounding no. You, as well as those in a relationship with you, can create a positive environment – not only for yourself but for the relationship overall.

It helps if you think of life and the relationships that you have like a game of football. When the team has gone out and lost the game, what do they do? Do they sit around in misery? No. They get back up and motivate themselves for the next game. They look at it from a perspective of positivity; that they will win the game. Each member of the team brings to the table a spirit of positivity with their winning attitudes.

Where to Start

You can’t go anywhere unless you start out at the beginning. So in a sense, it begins with you. You need to know that you deserve to be happy. You should expect it. Keeping a positive mindset means telling yourself that you and your partner both deserve to feel safe and secure within the relationship. You both deserve to be treated nicely. Not being on the same page in this area can cause some stress within the relationship because each of you feels differently. Coming together and stating that you both will strive to keep positivity within the relationship is important. It gives each of you something to strive for with each passing day. No, every day won’t be a bed of roses, but it can be close if you both truly want it to be. The thing with positivity is that it is an ongoing mindset. You can’t say, “ok we’re happy today,” and think that’s all it takes. What about tomorrow?

Too often in a relationship each person dwells on the negative aspects of the relationship. When this happens, it builds up the negativity. That’s because you are focusing on the wrong thing. When you focus on the bad; all you get is bad. You need to focus on what is good about the relationship. What are the positives that each of you has that enhances the relationship? By focusing on those positive aspects, you shift the direction of the relationship. People like to know that someone sees the good within them. Granted, ignoring the bad can be a challenge, but you have to start somewhere. Do this, and you’ll soon begin to notice that you are different toward one another, better.

It’s Not Easy

Changing the relationship and pointing it in a positive direction is a huge commitment, and it will be challenging at times. However, when you both work together, when you both are aiming for the same goal, it gets easier. Happiness doesn’t have to be a chore. It’s supposed to be something that happens easily.

Living a life with the one you love should be positive enough, but when you find your relationship struggling, really remember the positives. You fell in love with each other for a reason. Take time to remember all of those things that you love about your partner. Focus on the positive sides, and life will be a blessing for you both. Why? Because that’s the power of positivity!