Why do negative words latch onto the brain, not seeming to let us go for years after a negative incident in our life has occurred? …This is due to our brain having a built-in ‘negative bias’ – an evolutionary hand me down from our cave dwelling ancestors.
As Hara explains in Our Brain’s Negative Bias:
Your brain is simply built with a greater sensitivity to unpleasant news. The bias is so automatic that it can be detected at the earliest stage of the brain’s information processing.
This mechanism aided our ancestors to discern and avoid threats for survival by heightening their awareness stimuli to danger, and, although we can not undo this evolutionary development, we can allow our neurons to fire up and we can rewire our brain through focusing on positive stimuli. All it takes is a little mindfulness and some training to rewire our brain towards remaining positive. #happydays
How do we do this you ask? Well, I’m glad you did… here are some simple ways I’ve compiled through my research to get to #teampositive!
1. FOCUS ON THE GOOD – ONE MOMENT AT A TIME
There’s no such thing as a perfect day, and undoubtedly each day comes with it’s highs and lows.
During the day’s high, take a moment to savour the sensation by focusing on the thoughts and emotions that come with it, so you can bookmark it for future reference. #positivethoughts
When the low moments hit like a whirlwind during the day, take time either in the moment, or later when it passes, to reflect on how it benefited you or what it’s taught you. #focusonthegood
2. FOCUS ON THE PRESENT
Don’t ruminate over the past, because no matter how much you do, it can never be undone. Take away the positive from your past, like how much you’ve learnt, grown and how much wiser you’ve become because of it.
Don’t focus on the future because it will build anxiety. Yes – #dreambig, then plan through setting targets and having goals to help you achieve what you desire for the future. But remember that the outcome of those targets and goals can only be achieved through your efforts in the present.
…So focus on the present and take each day as it comes towards your perfect plan for the future. #staypositive
3. POSITIVE SELF TALK
Listen to what you are saying to yourself – take notes for a few days to analyse your thought trend. If you can see a trend of negative thoughts, challenge it! Ask yourself:Would I ever say those things to someone I love? Is there a valid basis for my thoughts depicting this negativity? What can I do to change what I’m feeling negative about?
Pivot your thoughts (as I said that I had an image of Ross in Friends saying, Pivot! So i’m going to oblige and add that image!)
#Pivot – Anyway, I read an article recently by Deep Patel about being positive and I really wanted to use it for this blog post but I can not for the life of me find the article right now! When I do I’ll add a link because he suggests some very useful tips.
One thing that stuck with me from that article is the notion of pivoting our thoughts. Basically, he says that when you have a negative thought, ask yourself what the opposite of that is, and then follow the path towards the positive thought process by visualising a more positive outcome, then think of taking the steps for you to achieve it. For example, if you hear yourself saying I can’t do that because I am not skilled or experienced to do so… Think the opposite – I can do that, I can become skilled and experience by learning.
Another tool that can help with positive self talk is positive affirmations. There are many free videos, notes and quotes out there with positive affirmations, so use them if you need to. #positiveaffirmations
Lastly, remember that we are genetically built with a negativity bias and because of this, it’s easy for the brain to slip back into familiar territory. So be sure to practice focusing on the good, practice focusing on the present and practice positive self talk so that you rewire the brain into a habitual state of positive thinking!