What is Negativity Bias?

When a wave of negativity hits, it hits hard.

In fact, one of those waves just pummeled me this morning.

I had an unpleasant conversation with a family member, and once it was over, I found myself cloaked in a cloud of icky feelings.

Not wanting my morning to be ruined by this negattack, I knew I had to be proactive about re-centering ASAP.

The best way that I’ve personally found to do this? By triggering the PEA – the Positive Emotional Reactor.

Learning about the PEA was one of the most fascinating experiences I had while studying to be a life coach. Now I won’t get all science-y here, but basically, the PEA is your brain’s response to positive stimuli, and the NEA (Negative Emotional Reactor) is your brain’s response to negative stimuli.

What I find so dang interesting about this is that you can actually see how positive and negative experiences affect the brain using MRI imaging. So when you feel annoyed, slighted, or hurt by some outside force, it actual shows up in your brain as legit electrical activity.

Now here’s the thing. Scientists who study this stuff have found that your brain reacts more strongly to stimuli it sees as negative. So the guy who cuts you off in traffic or the waitress who treats you rudely show up as CODE RED in your mind. This tendency is called negativity bias – our hard-wired inclination to overestimate risk and danger while underestimating resources and opportunities.

At this point, you may be thinking, “There’s gotta be a way to offset this negativity!” And you’re right, there is. But guess what? The PEA and NEA don’t balance out at an even 50/50. That means you can’t simply treat yourself to a latte after you get an earful of bad news and hope to positively realign your thought patterns.

This is because negative emotions outweigh positive ones 5 to 1. Yep. So you know what that means. For every 1 negative interaction – and I mean something as slight as seeing that the milk was left out on the counter again – you’ve got to manifest 5 positive feelings just to get back to your baseline.

Sound overwhelming? It might, but it’s not impossible. In my next post, I’ll talk about 3 ways to overcome negativity bias. ♥

How do you personally overcome negativity? Recently. how have you successfully reprogrammed yourself to be positive after a negative experience? Comment below! ↓↓

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