How can we be happy and peaceful despite our "Negativity Bias"?
Our mind by nature has a “negativity bias” stemming from our evolutionary past. Researchers have estimated that as much as 80% of our thoughts are negative.
And despite this, as human beings we have an amazing capacity to work with ourselves and our minds, and to form positive mental habits with just a little effort. Every day we have countless opportunities to change our frequency. We can shift from a fearful state of self-doubt to an empowered state of peace and happiness.
Here are a few things you can do every day to cultivate a positive mental habit of peace and happiness.
Start the day right
Immediately on waking, practice remembering a feeling of gratitude. Think about and appreciate the miracle of life: “I’m awake! I receive the gift of this day this day as a valuable opportunity take positive actions with a positive view. In addition, as I keep going, I will develop an effortless positive habit.”
Appreciate the present by being present. It’s a gift.
The present moment is all you’ll ever have, and the only one you can act in - so be present whenever possible! Spend a few minutes just feeling your breathing, coming in and going out. Appreciate this process of breathing… we rarely notice it, yet it is giving us life moment by moment. Furthermore, it doesn’t matter what we think or feel, life loves us enough to bring us fully into existence, breath by breath!
Let go of any concerns about success or failure.
This doesn’t mean we don’t set intentions or have goals. Certainly, we make efforts to succeed. We recognize that fearful thoughts about success and failure simply don’t help. Therefore see clearly that they are just a distraction and an energy drain. Above all, stop being fascinated by them.
Replace any fearful thoughts with encouraging, creative thoughts to switch to a different part of the brain. As you develop the clarity that fearful thoughts don’t help, it becomes more and more easy to dismiss them. Enjoy encouraging yourself with creative ideas instead. Because we are made to create, creative ideas automatically make us feel happier.
Creative thoughts can be a simple flip: “I doubt myself so much! What happens if I doubt my doubting?”
Get playful. We rarely think to do this when negative thoughts and feelings are holding us back. “I can draw a picture of that place that upsets me with the furniture on the ceiling.” A funny drawing may destroy the effect of recurring negative experience. “When mother in law is telling me how worthless I am, I see her in the chair hanging from the ceiling while everything is falling out of his pockets.” - solutions to problems become easier when we engage our creative mind.
No-one to please
Recognize that there is no judge of your life—no one you have to please.
We developed habitual thinking patterns in childhood and teenage years of being watched over, and being evaluated - this experience continues at work and in other environments. At a more basic level we are free to choose how we want to live our lives. However, our internalized caretakers may prevent us from truly doing this.
As a result, we could require some time to develop a non-judgmental and more compassionate attitude towards ourselves, which leads to greater fulfillment and happiness. Remember that pleasing others is a fearful orientation. Therefore, it erodes our self-respect, and self-esteem.
Recognize ‘trying to please’ as merely an outdated, fearful pattern. Remember that fearful thoughts never help. Then choose to cultivate a sense of mature self-respect. In this way, we stop speaking to ourselves with guilt or self-judgment. Instead we speak with encouragement about accomplishing our own genuine values and interests, because we are worth it!
Meet the Challenge to Stay Kind!
Often I am amazed at how simple and beneficial these ideas are. And yet it has been difficult throughout human history for a high percentage of humanity to understand and practice them. Furthermore, in our technical age, practicing kindness seems to be getting even more difficult.
The constant and instantaneous flow of information, presented in ever more sophisticated ways, influences us, mesmerizes us, and keeps us stressed!
Consider that it has never been easy for humanity to connect with and hold on to kindness and integrity. Therefore, feel proud of your effort. Through our resolve to cultivate kind and loving habit patterns, we are uplifting not just ourselves, but everyone. Let’s explore the journey together!