So today’s topic will be about most of us, whether we admit it or not, are struggling with.
We tend to give more weight to negative scenarios rather than positive ones. That one negative comment or event, that one rejection, can sometimes derail some of us and throw us into the backseat of negativity for a period longer than we would like.
This is due to the phenomenon I would call “Negativity Bias” – The tendency for us humans to give more attention and more weight to negative experiences over neutral or positive ones.
This tendency has actually helped out our ancestors to stay alive way back in the past. Due to this natural hardwire in our system, the brain tends to over-estimate threats and under estimate opportunities.
Negative experiences move more quickly into our long term memory and is terrible for your health:
1. Weaken immune system
2. Increase anxiety
3. Reduce ambition
But get this! We are able to change this by consciously hard-wiring positive thoughts into our brain. I’ve compiled 3 simple but effective steps in helping those in need for their kick start to happiness.
Step 1: Acknowledge the moment that you’re feeling negative
Simply acknowledge what’s going on when it happens. “Ah this is negativity bias. This is my brain’s ancient circuitry doing its job to help keep me alive.” By acknowledging it, you suddenly become the observer instead. This in turn gives you more power and control over your thoughts.
While this may not exactly help to turn your thoughts into positive ones, acknowledging the pain that you’re feeling helps to lessen the sting
Step 2: Deliberately Distract Yourself
Distract yourself intentionally.
Learn to put your attention where it serves you best. Remember, what you allow your mind to focus on, shapes your brain. So rather than amplifying the pain, shift your attention to something more productive and positive. Whip up a piece of paper and write a gratitude list or throw yourself into an insane exercise class or immerse yourself into a feel good movie. Really anything good and productive that can give your mind something else to focus on.
Step 3: Use The 20-Seconds Rule
Why do you think we tend to the negative more so to the positive? That’s because we re-play those negative experiences over and over again until it becomes hardwired into our brain!
So, the same can be done for positive ones. Try internalising every positive event for at least 20 seconds. Embed as many positive memories and events as possible. Spend at least 20 seconds soaking in that positive experience in your mind to cement that positivity in your mind.
Anndddd that’s a wrap! Practice the above and I guarantee you, the world will seem much more colourful! Here’s a motivational penguin to brighten up your day.