My day started off great! I woke up on time (without my alarm), my mood was light, I had my favorite espresso, kids were off to their respective places, the first few client sessions were meaningful, and then one negative hiccup….. Sure enough, before I knew it, my glowing, upbeat mood had soured and the rest of the day had a shade of gloom cast over it. What happened?
As humans, we are hard wired for survival and with that comes a built in negativity bias. If 12 good things happen to us in a day and 1 negative thing happens, we are more likely to reflect, stew, and perseverate over the negative one. It is an evolutionary adaptation designed to keep us alive. Our brains don’t have to try to remember to learn from negative experiences, they are firmly rooted in our minds, Unfortunately, this bias extends to even the smallest of negative insults, so if someone is rude to you, this too will become fodder to replay and dwell over.
The good news is we can combat this bias by being intentional about taking in the good things, especially the small ones. If a positive experience isn’t overwhelmingly joyous, it is likely to be a blip on our radar. Thus, we don’t learn from it, nor does it have the chance to influence our mood and attitude.
Rick Hanson, PhD talks more in depth about this subject if you would like to learn more, but, in the meantime, spend at least 15 seconds on each positive thing, so that you can experience the positive high from this natural brain boost.