Happiness

Fighting the Negativity Bias in Our Brain

brain-negative-bias

Have you ever noticed that negative words and occurrences stay with us considerably longer and have a greater effect on us than positive ones? I’m sure you’ve had this happen to you several times.

A compliment from your teacher, for example, is welcomed, but the effects fade fast. A negative statement, on the other hand, lingers with you for a considerably longer period of time.

Why is this the case? It’s because our minds have a negative bias. It’s quantifiable, and brain scan tests have shown that our brain reacts more strongly to negative stimuli. The big question is, how do we combat our brain’s negative bias?

What can we do to avoid being discouraged by harsh comments and criticism?

The first step is to recognize that such a thing exists. As a result, we may take each piece of negativity with a grain of salt. Recognizing that our thoughts and hearts may be overreacting to something terrible can be quite beneficial.

On the other hand, this knowledge enables us to make a point of savoring the good. Don’t disregard a compliment lightly. Instead, relish it, reflect on it, make a point of remembering it, and use it to raise you up when negativity gets you down.

All of this is, of course, easier said than done. Because this negativity bias is hardwired in our brains, it takes a lot of time and works to develop new, more optimistic behaviors.

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Each morning, remind yourself that your mind is attempting to push you to focus on the negative and that it requires a conscious effort to balance it out by being attentive to all the wonderful and pleasant things in your lives.

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This will allow us to develop a thicker skin in the face of unjustified criticism over time. Should you disregard every single negative comment or suggestion? Obviously not.

There is such a thing as constructive criticism, and it can help us develop and improve at what we do. What we must avoid are unpleasant words, circumstances, and feelings that cause us to retreat into a cave. We don’t want to encourage ourselves to be passive.

Instead, we want to use the positive around us to pull us up and help us get through the difficult times, grow stronger, and improve at what we do.

Reflecting on both the good and the negative on a daily basis may be a terrific practice to help us gain some perspective and see everything that is occurring to us in a more positive light.

Keep a journal or set aside time for quiet reflection. Another wonderful suggestion is to talk things out with a buddy, especially if you’re dealing with something terrible that you’re having trouble getting beyond. Above all, do everything you can to balance the negative with the positive.

Save some of the best positive emails and comments you’ve received in a box or file. Look through these if you need to offset a negative situation. With time, you’ll develop a thicker skin that will protect you from the fiercest critics.

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