Healthy 100 Articles

Focusing on the Positive

Focusing on the Positive

Tagged: Outlook

How is it that we can so easily recognize anger in others, but we rarely see it in ourselves? Several factors help explain this.

We experience negative emotions 4 to 10 times more intensely than we experience positive ones. 

For example, if I were to say five things about you, four positive and one negative, which one are you most likely to think about for the rest of the day? If you're not sure, try this experiment. Here are five things your best friend just said about you:      

  • You are a good friend.
  • You have been very helpful.
  • You tend to tell little white lies.
  • You dress very stylishly.
  • You were very helpful last night.

Unless you're extremely unusual, you will spend the rest of the day wondering what your friend meant by the "little white lies" you supposedly tell. "What lies?" you might demand. "If anyone tells lies, it is you! Why would you say that about me? I thought you were my friend! I'm going to have to set the record straight and tell all my friends about the white lies you've told."

We all dwell on the negative things said about is; our thoughts and energy naturally gravitate in that direction. If someone gets angry with you and says something negative of does something hurtful, you will remember that event a lot longer than you'd remember something nice that person said or did.

By Dick Tibbits, MD

Author of Forgive to Live

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