Have you ever noticed how your brain has a funny way of focusing on the negative?
And I don’t mean just your brain… The human brain is just hardwired to pay more attention to negative information and experiences compared to positive ones.
It’s a fundamental survival mechanism that has evolved over millions of years to help us stay safe in a world filled with potential threats.
It all started when our ancestors faced numerous life-threatening situations daily, such as predators, food scarcity, and environmental dangers.
A single positive event, like finding food, may have been pleasant, but a single negative event, like encountering a lion, could be life-threatening.
So, those who paid close attention to potential risks were more likely to survive and pass on their genes.
As a result, the brain learned to prioritize negative stimuli to ensure we respond quickly to potential dangers, and this bias became an integral part of our cognitive architecture.
Even though we’re not facing life-threatening situations these days, that negativity bias still lingers and has been translated by evolution to what we perceive as “modern threats” like deadlines, financial stress, social fear of rejection, etc.
You might experience it when you dwell on criticism more than compliments, worry about potential problems, and find it challenging to let go of negative events.
The problem is that nowadays, this tendency is not only irrelevant to your survival; it can actually harm you by leading to increased stress, anxiety, and a general sense of unease.
Understanding the negativity bias is the first step towards overcoming it. By acknowledging that our brains have a default setting that leans towards negativity, we can consciously work to counteract it.
Mindfulness and positive reframing are highly effective tools to help you tip the balance in favor of positivity and create a calmer, happier, more fulfilling life.
The first step is to notice when the negative thoughts creep in. Pay attention to the little voice in your head, and recognize when it starts spiraling into negativity – You might say to yourself, “I see that I’m feeling stressed or overthinking this.” Once you’re aware, you can take action!
Much like steering a car, it’s easier to handle your thoughts when you’re going 10 km/h and not 100 km/h. Taking a deep breath is like gently tapping the brakes on your spiraling thoughts, slowing them down and allowing you to gain better control of the situation.
🙏 You can also remind yourself that it’s okay to have these feelings and thoughts. It’s perfectly normal, and you’re not alone in experiencing them.
Now, you’re in a better position to steer the wheel of your thoughts with ease and reframe them positively.
When you catch yourself thinking, “I can’t do this” or “This is too hard,” pause and reframe it into something more positive. For example, “I can handle this challenge,” “I’ll give it my best shot”, or “It’s natural to worry, but I’ll try to focus on solutions instead of problems.”
❗ Just be mindful of not reframing it too positively into something you don’t actually believe in and will cause further overwhelm.
If you’re thinking, “Yes, yes, Jeni, I already know I’m supposed to do this,” but “Easy to say, hard to do,” then the Mental Fitness Bootcamp is perfect for you!
This course is designed to help you build the skills and mental muscles needed to conquer negative thoughts and shift them into positive ones so you can reduce stress, worry, doubt, or overwhelm and cultivate more calmness, confidence, and joy in *any* situation. Curious to learn more about how to master your thoughts? Click here or reach out to us with any questions.
Stay Positive, Xx,
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