The negative bias and why it matters
There is scientific evidence to suggest that, as a general rule, we pay three times as much attention and bias to the bad stuff as we do to the positive experiences in life.
Three times as much!
If we have a positive and negative experience of equal weight and value occur , we don’t feel neutral, we feel bad.
Why does it matter to know this?
For me, this simple, yet astonishing fact, has helped me to understand why gratitude journaling has had such a powerful effect and why it changed my outlook on life so quickly.
Human beings are chemically, historically and culturally attuned to notice the bad shit and to give it more weight in relation to how we judge our circumstances and environments.
If we want to shift this, we need to make a concerted effort to notice and appreciate the positive things that are going on in our daily lives and consciously give them more value.
There is power in the positive stuff.
Barbara Fredrickson, a leading researcher in the field of Positive Psychology, has carried out numerous studies to look at the impact positive emotions have on us human beings. The results of some of these studies suggest that when our positive emotions are stimulated we can better deal with stress, anxiety and other negative emotions.
Seeking out positive emotions will not only improve how you feel on a day to day basis but will ensure that you are better prepared for when negative things happen in your life. You will become more resilient to the stress and hardships that are inevitable in life and you will bounce back from these more quickly.
Try This. . .
Think about three positive emotions you would like to feel more often in your day to day life. These might be CALM, JOY, PRIDE, ACCOMPLISHMENT, LOVE, CONNECTION – you will know what is right for you.
Create a Pinterest board for each of these three emotions and start collecting sayings and images that help to evoke these feelings.
Come back to these boards when you need a boost of positive emotion in your day and be on the lookout for new triggers to add to them as you go about your regular tasks.
Become aware of what makes you feel these emotions, and start actively seeking them out in your day to day life. This will encourage you to feel them more often.
And if, like me, you need a positivity REBOOT, give gratitude journaling a go – stick with it for a week or two and let me know how you find the experience.
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