Do you find your mind focuses more on what’s negative than positive? It’s not because more bad stuff is happening in your life it’s the brain’s natural tendency to fixate on problems. This tendency is known as the negativity bias. Any of our ancestors that weren’t looking out for potential threats were more likely to get eaten. So we are the offspring of the hyper-vigilant. No wonder we are always looking out for problems from deadlines we might not reach, to worrying about the state of the world.
So, what can we do about this natural tendency of our minds?
PUT THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE. What are you telling yourself? Is it true? Will worrying make the problem go away?
TRY REFRAMING. We all like to vent at the end of the day about all the problems we have: the awful commute, the difficult conversations, how overloaded we are etc. Next time you notice yourself (or someone else) doing this try asking “What happened today that was good?” and notice where this takes you.
SAVOUR THE GOOD STUFF. Help balance the negativity bias by taking time in your day to notice and savour the good things in your life such as feeling the warmth of the sun, hearing the birds singing, enjoying a nice cup of tea and recognising what you have achieved.
BE GRATEFUL. Research shows that just taking a few moments each day to reflect on the things you are thankful for can help you experience more positive emotions.
As Dan Brown said, “Sometimes a change of perspective is all it takes to see the light.”