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Tricks to Stop Negativity Bias

Hey negative Nancy, get positive today!

Focus on the negativity? We all do it, because we are built to do it, for survival. Evolutionarily we have better chance at survival if we remember, with priority, what can harm us over what has helped us. Negativity is sticky but let's figure out how to replant with some positivity.

Why Are We All So Negative?

In a recent podcast Dr. Dhru talks about Dr. Rick Hanson's research that describes negativity is like Velcro to our brains, while positivity is like teflon. This is our innate negativity bias that prioritizes the negative or painful experiences in our memories. How specific is this? John Gotman theorizes that it takes five good interactions or make up for one bad one in a relationship. That's why that one bouquet of flowers just won't make up for the one forgotten birthday, it would actually need 4 more.

Tips to Get Positive

Dr. Dhru goes on to stay how powerful gratitude is for the brain, it serves as a quick-fix version of meditation. He believes you can flip the script from negative to positive with a mindset shift, goal setting and a little hard work. He lays out a way to reflect upon the year and ask yourself 3 questions for every month. In a way, we simply need to bring these positive experiences to the forefront, otherwise they'll get outranked by our innate biases. Start with January and proceed through the year with these 3 steps:

  1. What was something tough or challenging that I accomplished?

  2. Who is someone that did something nice for me?

  3. What is something nice that I did for someone else?

Don't think too hard, they don't have to be big events. Happy reflecting! I hope this makes you have an even happier new year.

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