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Can Positive Thinking Be Harmful?
Why complaining could actually help your marriage thrive.


Photo Credit: John Dalog
Too much positive thinking, without speaking your mind, could lead to an empty marriage.


Recent studies show that it is better for couples to argue than to pretend everything is just fine and show compassion.”
Water which is too pure has no fish. ~Zen proverb

Reciting affirmations, listening to motivational coaches—who needs the stress of being happy all the time, blissfully in love, or overly optimistic in precarious situations? Apparently, many people believed in Tony Robbins’ "Unleash the Power Within" event and about two-dozen were severely burned when they walked on hot coals. For example, if you found and brought home an injured snake, nursed and fed it and then one day the snake bit you, would you feel betrayed or should you have realized that the snake was just being a snake and taken precautions?

If you are married to a pessimistic realist, know that pessimists and skeptics have proven to be powerful driving forces for the betterment of humanity. Negative thinking has led to survival in the real world alerting us to avoid danger, to fight for independence and to constantly improve upon inventions. A critical eye can uncover flaws, which needs remedied. Righteous indignation has led to humane treatment.

If you repress your bad thoughts to be more upbeat, you might become anxious. Self-suppression in a relationship/friendship can lead to cardiovascular disease and inflammation according to the American Medical Association.

Recent studies show that it is better for couples to argue than to pretend everything is just fine and show compassion. Florida State University researcher James McNulty explains that arguments, while they may cause short-term discomfort, keep a marriage on track. They are better than kind words and positive thinking (not to be confused with constructive and considerate disagreement) because communicating what’s wrong to a spouse leads to change; otherwise it might seem like excessive spending, having an affair or not helping around the house is acceptable behavior because the injured party doesn’t complain.

Here are 9 negatives, which could turn out to be positives:

1. Being bad at something new when you are first learning leads to practice and proficiency. You are going beyond your comfort zone.

2. That critical, honest friend gives you a necessary reality check to help you grow as a person.

3. ADHD can lead to more creative achievements by having an innate openness to distracting ideas, which might not have happened normally according to Holly White, assistant professor of cognitive psychology at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida.

4. Shy, introverted people make good listeners.

5. Disobedience can rid a country of oppressive rulers.

6. Jealousy can spur you to accomplish.

7. Reciting affirmations that you don’t really believe make you feel worse about yourself. Better to acknowledge a bad trait or situation and do something about it.

8. Saying "no" can free up your time and spirit.

9. Acute stress is actually good for you as it makes your immune system more vigilant and triggers you to perform better.

Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of "Addicted to Stress: A Woman's 7 Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life," "Changing Habits: The Caregivers' Total Workout" and "Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul," a stress-reduction specialist, a radio show host and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: www.turnonyourinnerlight.com.


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Over 1 million couples turn to Hitched for expert marital advice every year. Sign up now for our newsletter & get exclusive weekly content that will entertain, educate and inspire your marriage.



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