Have you ever had an amazing day? Everything is going great? And then ONE negative comment or situation completely wrecks your day?
Even if you’ve been getting great feedback all day…all it takes is ONE bit of criticism and BANG…it’s a bad day.
Not only does this derail a particular day for you…but this phenomenon can cripple your life IF you allow negative comments to become what your brain focuses on (which is what it is designed to do). How do you overcome your own biological imperatives?
Well, there’s a reason for that and it all has to do with a simple brain shift.
Ok…here’s a scenario:
So you are having a great day, you’re getting a lot of positive feedback and adulation for this project you’ve finished…and then ONE guy says something to the effect of, “Meh, it’s not that great.”
BAM…it’s suddenly a bad day.
Why does this negative comment carry so much weight?
Why is it that ONE negative or off-hand comment can wreck your day?
In fact, I’ll bet if you can step back for a moment, you’ll be able to recall a negative comment that was tossed your way when you were young that still sticks with you and impacts you today.
Well, your brain is designed to focus on the negative. This is simply a bi-product of your brain’s prime directive to keep you safe and alive. This is called the negativity bias.
Think for a moment about ancient human beings…back when we drew on the walls of caves and wore clothes made from the skins of animals.
It was imperative for our survival as a species to pay attention to any and all negative or POTENTIALLY negative circumstances.
Is that noise in the woods a saber tooth tiger? Or something harmless? It doesn’t matter, the brain’s NEGATIVITY BIAS kicks in and the hairy, animal skin clad human makes his way back to his cave before confirming whether or not he was about to become lunch.
Socially, it was also important to fit in when it came to survival. Not only were ancient humans more dependent on each other…but if anyone was banished from the tribe for any reason…then they were likely dead men (or women) walking. This could be why gossip, rumors, or negative comments feel so harmful – even deadly – to us today.
So, your brain is a negativity magnet. Great…now what?
Below are 5 very simple things you can do to circumvent your biology
…there’s always a way to hack your brain and get around the way things work. You just have to be consistent with these little tricks J
- Soak In The Positive – Negative events are integrated into your brain IMMEDIATELY. This is because your brain is detecting a threat. Positive moments take some time to take root in your brain. So when something good happens to you – take a moment to soak it in.
I mean seriously take 60 seconds and revel in your own glory! This doesn’t make you
arrogant, it makes you WISE!! And ultimately happier and more effective because you’ll be better able to perform at your very best – without the crippling effects of the fear center of your brain causing you to focus on potentially threats.
So bask in your moments of glory. Focus on them right after they happen and then continue to play them over and over in your thoughts so that you BOMBARD your brain with how amazing you are. This will reduce the power future negative events have over your life – particularly when you consistently practice this little technique.
- Celebrate Your Victories – Your brain likes to be rewarded…A LOT. So take time to celebrate your achievements. It may be something as elaborate as a vacation or something as simple as giving yourself time to read a book at night.
The size of the reward isn’t what’s important here…the fact that you are rewarding yourself for doing something great is the key. Your brain will begin recognizing that you are going to reward it for performing at peak levels. This only encourages that wrinkly gray matter upstairs to DO MORE ACHIEVING!
This also primes your brain to pay less attention to negative comments or circumstances because the rewards of achieving and risk-taking outweigh the perceived damage that negative comments and events can cause.
- Stop Watching The News – Ok…so I haven’t seen the research on this specifically…but I do know that filling your brain with negative images and stories on a consistent basis will prime your brain to focus on negative stuff…INCLUDING negative comments directed your way.
I don’t watch the news. Many of my friends don’t either. We are happy people over all and I think that not watching the news or TV shows filled with drama and negativity is a key component.
“But I might miss something important if I shut down the news!”
No you won’t. Trust me…you’ll hear about it.
If you are skeptical, just give it a try for 4 weeks and see what happens. I used to be addicted to TV (another story for another time) and if I can shut it down…I promise you can too.
You’ll be happier for it.
- Meditate – Even if it’s just 5 minutes a day…just do it. You’ll be blown away by the benefits.
And don’t overthink it…you really can’t do it wrong. Just close your eyes and focus on something positive in your life.
Focus on what you WANT your life to be like.
Focus on letting go of some thought, image, or event that causes you pain and holds you back.
Including this simple discipline in your life daily will help you create neural pathways aligned with the best parts of yourself, with how you want to live your best life, and with the positive elements that you cherish in your life.
This also crowds out the negative stuff and gives it less room to grow and take root in your mind.
People who meditate actually increase the amount of gray matter in their brain, they are happier, get sick less often, and are typically more positive and present in their life.
- Practice Gratitude – It’s more than just saying thanks…although that’s a good place to start.
Truly appreciating another human being…or yourself…or your life as it exists today…will help get you ‘out of your head’ where you are ruminating on everything that’s wrong or scary in your life.
A team of researchers at The University of Southern California studied what a grateful brain looked like.
What they found was grateful people’s brains showed enhanced activity in the anterior cingulate cortex and the medial prefrontal cortex. These areas are responsible for processing emotions, bonding and rewarding social interactions, moral judgment, and the ability to understand the mental states of others.
It also makes your hypothalamus work better…which means you’ll sleep better and metabolize your food better. You’ll also become more resistant to stress AND receive healthy doses of feel good hormones.
What this does is it creates a bias for gratitude…for feeling thankful and for appreciating yourself, other people, what you DO have, and creates a more optimistic outlook on life.
And being consistently optimistic, happy, and focused on what is working will tend to lead you to seeking and seizing opportunities to improve your health, finances, relationships, self-esteem, and so on.
The best part is that it takes ZERO special training to integrate these little tricks into your life. All it takes is a little focus and consistency – and then your life will change dramatically (even if none of your current circumstances shift).
But here’s the cool part…what typically happens to people who practice these 5 little brain tricks is that they DO experience changes in their results AND the stuff that is giving them problems will tend to give way to clear solutions to those issues.
It really is all about your brain…because that’s where it all starts.
And if you’re serious about experiencing the true power of rewiring your brain to overcome your negativity bias, then click here to take advantage of a free gift I’d love for you to pick up:
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