This is why it’s so hard to think positive.
We all know we’re supposed to focus on the positive instead of the negative. But why is it so hard to do this very simple act?
In part, it’s due to the brain’s inherent wiring. Research has shown that when we perceive something as harmful, our negative emotions are registered immediately & intensely in our brain’s hyper-reactive amygdala. We’re not in conscious control of this automatic reaction.
When something is seen as good, our positive emotions are only mildly registered in the amygdala, not intensely like our negative emotions. Most of our processing of this experience takes place in the thoughtful, conscious, decision-making part of our brain, the pre-frontal cortex, which often sees it as nothing special vs something good.
Not all perceived harm is actual harm. Therefore, your brain’s automatic reactions aren’t always the best ones. It’s important to learn how to take a pause, be aware of what’s happening then choose your response instead of letting your brain decide for you.
And since it’s your wiring to over-emphasize negative experiences & under-emphasize positive ones, it’s necessary to train your mind to begin actively seeking out, noticing & appreciating what’s positive in your life.
Your brain isn’t wired in a way that the positive aspects of life will naturally bring themselves to your attention. You have to create that habit for yourself.
In his post, “Outsmarting the Brain’s Blame Game at Work”, Robert Cooper, Ph.D. further explains: