Posts Tagged Positive Thinking

Honesty, Not Forgiveness, May Be Best for Couples


Honesty, Not Forgiveness, May Be Best for CouplesEmerging research suggests a marriage in which partners follow the time-honored tradition of forgive and forget can lead to problems.

The finding opposes the strategy of positive psychology — an approach that offered the promise that with forgiveness, optimism, kindness, and positive thinking, people can turn around their relationships even after a serious transgression.

In the new study, investigators discovered that expressing anger might be necessary to resolve a relationship problem — with the short-term discomfort of an angry but honest conversation benefiting the health of the relationship in the long-term.

Experts say the study is part of a larger effort to better understand the contexts in which some relationships succeed and others fail, and also to understand how close relationships affect our health.

James McNulty, Ph.D., of Florida State University initiated the study when he took a closer look at positive psychology and well-being.

“I continued to find evidence that thoughts and behaviors presumed to be associated with better well-being lead to worse well-being among some people — usually the people who need the most help achieving well-being,” McNulty said.

These findings lead McNulty to examine the potential costs of positive psychology. In a set of recent studies, he found that forgiveness in marriage can have some unintended negative effects.

“We all experience a time in a relationship in which a partner transgresses against us in some way. For example, a partner may be financially irresponsible, unfaithful, or unsupportive,” he said.

“When these events occur, we must decide whether we should be angry and hold onto that anger, or forgive.”

His research shows that a variety of factors can complicate the effectiveness of forgiveness, including a partner’s level of agreeableness and the severity and frequency of the transgression.

“Believing a partner is forgiving leads agreeable people to be less likely to offend that partner and disagreeable people to be more likely to offend that partner,” he said.

Moreover, McNulty believes anger can serve an important role in signaling to a transgressing partner that the offensive behavior is not acceptable.

“If the partner can do something to resolve a problem that is likely to otherwise continue and negatively affect the relationship, people may experience long-term benefits by temporarily withholding forgiveness and expressing anger.”

“This work suggests people need to be flexible in how they address the problems that will inevitably arise over the course of their relationships,” McNulty says.

“There is no ‘magic bullet,’ no single way to think or behave in a relationship. The consequences of each decision we make in our relationships depends on the circumstances that surround that decision.”

Source: Society for Personality and Social Psychology

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Positive Thinking Reduces Depression in Girls


Positive Thinking Reduces Depression in Girls | Psych Central News

Positive Thinking Reduces Depression in Girls
By TRACI PEDERSEN Associate News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on March 29, 2012
In a new preliminary study by Stanford researchers, daughters of depressed mothers were able to witness their own stress levels go down on a real-time brain scan as they switched from negative thoughts to happy ones.

The girls, ages 10 to 14, were the focus of the study based on previous findings that girls born from depressed mothers, or from mothers who have experienced depression, have a higher risk of the illness.

Depressed people have more intense responses to negative experiences, including increased heart rate, blood pressure, and cortisol (stress hormone) production. By observing the girls’ brain activity when they were shown upsetting pictures — such as an accident — and measuring the stress response with a graph, the researchers could then ask the girls to try to lower the graph by thinking of positive thoughts like playing with pets.

Happy and amazed, the girls found out that they were able to decrease the level with their own thoughts.

Another study task included looking at two faces on a computer screen: one negative and one positive.  The girls were then asked to move a dot toward the positive face and click on it.  Then another pair of images appeared and the same situation was repeated over and over. The game taught the depression-prone girls to choose the more positive option when presented with a choice.

The Stanford research could help these girls learn to prevent depression. A followup period after the tests seemed to suggest the potential for depression prevention. After putting the girls through some tests to bring on stress, they did not react as strongly.

The research could offer new insights into how people who are genetically predisposed to depression can prevent depression, or perhaps reduce its severity, through the use of cognitive techniques.

Source:  Stanford University

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