In the Saunterer’s last post (May 4, 2016) was an explanation from a research article for why bad is stronger than good. From the same article we continue here with how one bad thing that happens to you on a given day can wipe out the feeling of four good things on that day, and with what the authors say on how to make yourself happy:
Good can overcome bad by force of numbers. To maximize the power of good, these numbers must be increased. This can be done by creating more goods. For example, in a romantic relationship each partner can make an effort to be nice to the other consistently. Such small acts of kindness are important for combating the bads that will typically occur. Indeed, If Gottman is correct, the ratio should be at least five goods for every bad. Likewise, individuals can make an effort to recognize and appreciate the goods that they have—celebrating each small success, being thankful for health, and having gratitude for supportive others.
Another contributor to the perception of life as good involves selective perception and memory. As Taylor argued, the human psyche has powerful mechanisms for retrospectively minimizing bad experiences. Although both good and bad feelings may fade with time, the bad ones are actively suppressed; whereas the good memories may be cultivated and sustained (e.g., through reminiscence). By the same token, people may treat bad experiences as isolated events while integrating good ones into an ongoing general perception of goodness. In this way, individuals may sustain a broadly favorable view of their lives. Something like this must after all be operating in most marriages, given that most people rate their marriages favorably, but half of marriages end in divorce. Probably they rate their marriage favorably (by regarding the problems as temporary or exceptions) until they begin to contemplate divorce seriously.
(Quoted from page 361 of “Bad Is Stronger Than Good,” by Roy F. Baumeister, Ellen Bratslavsky, Catrin Finkenauer, and Kathleen D. Vohs. Review of General Psychology, 2001, Vol. 5, No. 4.)