Why Your Negativity Is Your Responsibility

14
Sep

negativity bias

 

Did you know that negativity is a human being’s ‘go to’ mentality?

That we notice the good, fleetingly, but obsess about the bad, continually?

Our brains are wired this way.

Negative before positive – literally.

If you want to be a healthy person, it’s best to take responsibility for this dark propensity.

 

Why Such Negativity?

It’s a survival mechanism.

Human beings have prevailed through the ages by responding to danger (negativity) – before reward or pleasure (positivity).

“Our ancestors survived by approaching pleasant stimuli, like a carrot, and avoiding unpleasant stimuli, like an incoming stick, say writers from positivepsychologyprogram.com “They eventually began to discern that avoiding a stick, and subsequent injury or death, was far more important than picking a carrot.”

And we still think this this way.

A moment of bad news, for example, has a greater effect on our minds than a moment of good news.

We also search for the negative. Become dramatic about the negative. Heap and store truckloads of negative into our brains.

Little wonder why wonder stress, anxiety, depression are so prevalent.

However.

New brain science and research suggests that we can better understand and accept our negativity.

We might even be able to circumvent it.

 

10 Ways To Circumvent Negativity

 

1. ‘Feed’ Your Brain Properly.

Think “Experience Dependent Neuroplasticity.” The fascinating premise: “Your brain is constantly changing its structure, based on what you think and feel,” says Dr. Rick Hanson.

Thus, if you feed the brain a steady diet of negative material, the ‘good’ is all but dismissed. Feeding the brain positive material (good experiences, thoughts and actions) is the antidote.

“Any single time you do this, [it] will make only a little difference,” says Hanson, “but over time, those little differences will add up, gradually weaving positive experiences into the fabric of your brain and your self.”

In that spirit:

 

2. Honour Positive Experiences.

Good things happen every day. Notice them, revel in them, and discuss them. Don’t ignore them. Focusing on the good in life becomes a habit. It’s a great habit that can rewire the brain towards a more hopeful mindset.

 

3. Own Up To Your Negativity.

Yes, own it. Awareness is key. If you take responsibility for your negativity, you can aim to understand it better and change your relationship with it.

 

4. Focus On Solutions.

Complaining is negativity personified. Consider The No Complaining Rulesays Jon Gordon. “You are not allowed to complain unless you also offer one or two possible solutions.”

 

5. Choose Safety From Negativity.

Spend more time with those who have cheerful, hopeful dispositions. Find yourself a passion or hobby that offers refuge and contentment. Disconnect, unplug, Say NO, and set boundaries with people and situations that are unpleasant.

 

6. Know Your Stress Triggers.

When your buttons are being pushed by others, be aware of your own reactions. For example, “before dealing with Mr. or Ms. Bad News,” says Matt James Ph.D.”… check to see how much of your negative reactions to their negativity come from your own internal issues.

 

7. Twist Your Storylines.

When disappointing events or situations occur, don’t bathe in them. For example, if a friend cancels a visit with you, don’t rush to the darkest conclusion: “I guess he/she doesn’t like me anymore.” Instead, find an uplifting alternative: “I’ll make other plans today.”

 

8. Be Accountable For Your Thoughts.

Consider a Thought Record, for example, which keeps track of your thinking patterns and alerts you to the negative ones. Also consider the importance of gratitude, affirmations, meditation, exercise – all of which raise mood and lay down that ‘positive experience’ foundation for the brain.

 

9. Talk To Yourself.

When negative thoughts approach, say “STOP!” This is surprisingly effective. It also promotes ‘thought responsibility’, because you have a choice – to take action against negative thinking, or be a victim of it.

 

10. Get Help.

If negativity is a dark staple in your life, and you can’t seem to shake it, you owe it to yourself to receive help and guidance from a reputable therapist, doctor, or other healthcare professional. An ongoing battle with negativity is a sign of chronic anxiety or depression, and should not be taken lightly.

In the meantime, we can all own up to our own negativity. It’s part of our wiring, yes, but we can better understand its role in our lives. Changing our habits, and facing our darkness, is what is required.

 

This entry was posted on Thursday, September 14th, 2017 at 10:23 pm and is filed under Posts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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