How To Negate Negativity

The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for a newer and richer experience. Eleanor Roosevelt

Did you know that your brain is built to be more sensitive to unpleasant news than it is to pleasant? You’ll probably remember the rebuke longer than you’ll remember the praise. Sometimes, the sadness of death will impact a person more than the feelings of joy and warmth they received from their loved one.

This bias for negativity generally causes us to worry more than necessary, fear the worst, and focus on bad narratives for too long. When we allow this to happen, we rob ourselves of experiencing the joys around us.

Eckhart Tolle, spiritual teacher and author, writes, “All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present. Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry — all forms of fear — are caused by too much future, and not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of non-forgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence.”

Affirmation: I feel the joy.

Coaching questions/requests: Are you experiencing an abundance of anxiety, stress, or worry? What about sadness, bitterness, regret? This week, take time to be aware of your negativity. As you do so, refocus your thoughts by meditating, having an attitude of gratitude, establishing a “worry time” or writing down your negative thoughts to get them out of your head. Some negativity will hang around for a while and that’s ok. What counts is your continued effort to redirect and reprogram. You will see the effects of it over time, just stick with it.

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Photo by Bruno Aguirre on Unsplash

Understanding Debbie Downer

People tend to dwell more on negative things than on good things. So the mind then becomes obsessed with negative things, with judgments, guilt and anxiety produced by thoughts about the future and so on. Eckhart Tolle

Do you know a Debbie Downer? Have you ever wondered why a person is predisposed to negative thinking? Our psychological predisposition comes from many sources of course, not the least of which is our upbringing. However, I found the following quote by Rick Hanson, Ph.D. and founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom, to be very enlightening.

Dr. Hanson says, “Negative stimuli produce more neural activity than do equally intense positive ones. From an evolutionary standpoint, our ancestors’ predisposition to Debbie Downer-ism makes sense. Ancient humans lacked reliable sources of food, water and shelter, and, as a result, made life-or-death decisions more frequently than we do today. To keep our ancestors alive, Mother Nature evolved a brain that routinely tricked them into making three mistakes: overestimating threats, underestimating opportunities, and underestimating resources. This is a great way to pass on gene copies but a lousy way to promote quality of life.”

I’m sad to say that I have limited loving memories of my mother but I do have a few negative ones. Dr. Hanson’s findings help me to understand this fact of my life experience. Perhaps his wisdom will help you also.

Affirmation: I embrace my memories.

Coaching questions: What negative memories are you wanting to understand or set aside? What will help you get out of the Cave-Woman mentality and move forward?

Debbie Downer-ism

People tend to dwell more on negative things than on good things. So the mind then becomes obsessed with negative things, with judgments, guilt and anxiety produced by thoughts about the future and so on. Eckhart Tolle

If you tend to be a Debbie Downer, have you ever wondered why? Our psychological predisposition comes from many sources of course…not the least of which is our upbringing. However, I found the following quote by Rick Hanson, Ph.D. and founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom, to be very enlightening.

Dr. Hanson says, “Negative stimuli produce more neural activity than do equally intense positive ones. From an evolutionary standpoint, our ancestors’ predisposition to Debbie Downer-ism makes sense. Ancient humans lacked reliable sources of food, water and shelter, and, as a result, made life-or-death decisions more frequently than we do today. To keep our ancestors alive, Mother Nature evolved a brain that routinely tricked them into making three mistakes: overestimating threats, underestimating opportunities, and underestimating resources. This is a great way to pass on gene copies but a lousy way to promote quality of life.”

I’m sad to say that I have few loving memories of my mother but I do have a few negative ones. Dr. Hanson has helped me to understand this mystery in my life experience. Perhaps his wisdom will help you also.

Affirmation: I embrace my memories.

Coaching questions: What negative memories are you wanting to understand or set aside? What will help you get out of the Cave-Woman mentality and move forward?