The negativity bias can happen to anybody. In fact, most of humanity is predisposed to favoring negative sensory input and memories over the positive. This can often hard wire us for issues like depression and a lack of motivation. When we begin to believe that more negative things happen to us than positive things, whether that is true or not, it can be extremely discouraging. We start to feel like the entire world is against us, and no matter how hard we try, the cards will always be stacked out of our favor.
However, when you actually think about it, the truth is that we undervalue positive experiences and tend to overvalue the negative ones. This can make it very difficult for us to move on and let go of negative events that happen to us. We find ourselves reeling from negative events for days and days, while positive events often become forgotten by the end of the day and we no longer find any value in them or their memory. In a way, the mind is a little bit of an ingrate like that.
Most of this happens because of the training of our neural pathways. These are the synapses in our brains that connect and help us to process information and react appropriately to the input that our mind is receiving. For example, if we are treated negatively by somebody for a long period of time, and we become able to predict their behaviors, our neural pathways will fire off the appropriate response to that stimulation. This can be great in the moment, but if our brain is misinterpreting cues that seem close to what we are used to but actually do not have a malicious intent, our negativity is actually unwarranted. And yet we can’t seem to help ourselves when it comes to our reactions.
This is similar to what happens when we are traumatized. Anybody who goes through this type of conditioning is likely to have certain responses to certain situations that other people wouldn’t have.
Thankfully, the human body is magnificent and can rewire itself to change the way we interpret sensory input. If we are willing to interrupt our negative thoughts and replace them with positive thoughts, this can actually help us to remap our neural pathways so that we are capable of changing our response to negativity and remaining positive despite the circumstances that we are faced with.
If you find that you are, this can hold you back. Start interrupting your negative thoughts with active attempts to remind yourself that you are making great strides toward success. Every step that you make toward progress is a huge deal, and allowing yourself to feel pride toward your accomplishments is a great way for you to combat your negativity bias and prime yourself for even more success down the road.
All of us are capable of rewiring our brains, no matter what the situation might be. Use this knowledge to your advantage and start retraining your mind today!