3 Ways to Conquer Negativity Bias

In my recent post about Negativity Bias, I talked about why we’re hard-wired to dwell on negative thoughts or interactions while the good and positive vibes seemingly roll off us like raindrops.

Today, we’re talking about three ways we can re-train our minds to get the most out of pleasant moments and overcome the negative ones.

Awareness is Key

Any expert will tell you that the first step toward changing a habit is to be fully aware of it. The thing is, this is harder than it seems. Most of us can recognize that we feel “off” or upset or otherwise not ourselves, but we seldom take the time to trace those feelings back to the trigger event.

Try this: The next time you feel upset, pause and reflect on why. Ask yourself, “At what precise moment did I begin feeling this way?” or “What was I doing when I started to feel bad?” Mentally retracing your steps will likely reveal the remark, look of disapproval, or unkind email that led to your negative spiral. Once you’ve got it pinpointed, you can then determine whether you need to address the issue or simply let it go.

Savor the Treats

While we can’t eliminate bad things from happening in our lives, we can choose how we respond to them. The best way that I’ve found to do this is to savor happy and positive moments as if they were your favorite dessert. When you get a sweet text from a friend, don’t just read it and then open an email about your credit card balance. Instead, take time – at least 20 seconds – to fully absorb the sentiment behind that text, the same way you’d enjoy a spoonful of crème brûlée.  Think about the friend who sent it, why you value him or her, and what their relationship means to you.

Try this: Keep a box of notes, cards, pictures and other meaningful items that people have given to you. Go through it on occasion to find tactile proof of what an amazing human being you are.

End the work day with Gratitude

Starting your morning by writing in a gratitude journal is a great habit, but here’s a new twist on that suggestion: Since most of us start our day with a clean slate, why not end your day with a few thoughts about what you’re personally grateful for?

Try this: Instead of making a list of tomorrow’s tasks before you leave the office, write down two or three things you’re most grateful for. It could be that the meeting you were dreading ended up going smoothly, or that you made a big sale, or that you mastered a new stretch in Pilates class. Challenge yourself to come up with new and different points each day.  If you do this every day for 7 days, you’ll have a list of 21 things you’re grateful for by the end of the week. ♥

How do you personally overcome negativity bias? Comment below! ↓↓

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