Thursday, February 17, 2011

Understanding And Fighting Negativity

I've been thinking about negative people lately. I know some, and so do you. I don't like them, and neither do you. But why are they this way? Why does their negativity seem so instinctive?

The people that we are speaking of have not yet learned how to control their negativity bias, which is a natural, default way of thinking that we all must work diligently to overcome. So it is a scientific fact that, as a species, we are all negative thinkers. Therefore, becoming a positive (thinker) person must be an active choice. If we choose not to acknowledge this reality, it will be difficult to suppress the negativity bias that we are programmed with.

There is an underlying evolutionary reason for negativity. In prehistoric times, it behooved us to think negatively because our survival depended on it. Fear - which is first cousin to negativity - kept us away from danger.

Negative emotions are processed first in the portion of the brain called the amygdala, which prompts us to actively seek out and respond to negativity (i.e. situations with potentially undesirable consequences); hence the negativity bias.

To prevent a negative dominance (thinking negatively all of the time), it takes 5 times the positive thoughts to effectively overcome 1 negative thought. Now you know why truly positive people are also some of the most (mentally) disciplined.

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