Positive experiences count for less than negative experiences…dang!

What an annoying fact. Positive experiences count for less than negative ones. 

It seems humans are wired up to focus on the negative while ignoring the positive. Such is the conclusion from one observation by Daniel Kahneman in his bestseller Thinking Fast and Slow

How irritating is that? But sadly it has the ring of truth and it sort of makes sense. To focus on danger and problems might keep us safe, while good things…well they dont need looking after. A recipe for unhappiness indeed!

So that means we have to do lots of positive things to weigh against the few negative things.

Lets get busy then.

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How seeking too much reassurance can weaken you

I hope this brief blog piece on seeking reassurance might be of help to those suffering from worry and fear. 

There is a line that separates useful guidance and support on one hand and a destructive pattern of seeking to much reassurance on the other. When the line is blurred a person can seek more and more reassurance at the expense of building their own sense of strength in themselves, an independent spirit. 

An example of this is Health Anxiety. Getting clarification from the doctor about one’s health can be a life saving journey to the surgery and is an important part of ‘looking after one’s self’. However we can also seek (or feel the need) for diagnosis of every twinge that we get which leads to worry and fear. 

Another example is in relationships with our nearest and dearest. Sharing our concerns and worries with a loved one is one of the most rewarding aspects of human relations. However when it is taken to an extreme it can undermine our sense of self and lead to bitterness and arguments.

So how do we get the balance right? 

One answer is to accept that there is a limit to what another person (or organisation) can do for our peace of mind and that seeking reassurance is not always a healthy thing to do. Bitterness and anger might also be a sign that we are making excessive demands that will eventually undermine us. That is not to say that we should give up our ability to campaign against injustice however. 

Another answer might be to focus on the concept that the dreaded possibility that we are trying to avoid is actually something we can handle. The dreaded thing might be bad and uncomfortable but is something that can be dealt with. Being held to ransom by the thought “I cannot bear it” could haunt a person for years when the reality could be quite different. Most of the things we imagine will happen don’t happen and if they do who is to say how we might actually respond?

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