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Hello, fellow anxious ladies. Are you getting fed up with those negative thoughts and worse case scenario thoughts that pop into your mind without warning?
Don’t worry, it’s not your fault. It’s actually something everybody’s brain does automatically.
That’s why I’m here to answer all your questions surrounding the negativity bias in your brain, how to overcome it, live the life you want, and think how you want to think.
Let’s go, and start overcoming the negativity bias today!
What is negativity bias?
The negativity bias is the fact that our brains push negative thoughts around much more easily than positives.
This means we dwell on the sad events in our lives much more, and we feel the sting of being criticised for years to come more than the happiness after being complimented.
This is why past trauma is a big cause of mental illnesses in adults like myself.
These memories linger in our minds for long periods of time, and effects the way that we live our lives and our confidence without us even realising.
Examples Of The Negativity Bias
These are a few examples of negativity bias that I have lived through myself. The more you think about it, the more obvious it is that your brain does this on purpose.
- I have had quite a few performance reviews at my work when starting a new job over the years. Most of the time, the reviews are filled with positives with only a few things for me to improve on. However, for the rest of the day, I tended to find myself dwelling on the things I needed to improve and not celebrating my wins and what my employer said I was really excelling at.
- Sometimes, I find myself walking towards someone who looks slightly intimidating. Instead of just walking past them, and noticing that they actually are not paying attention to me, I go out of my way to cross to the other side of the street.
- When you get your grades back from an exam, you tend to notice the lower grades first and feel disappointed. I know that I did.
- You are scrolling through instagram and you see an influencer who has an amazing life, clearly lots of money, a great body, and a big audience. I have fallen victim to this and found myself feeling jealousy instead of actually feeling inspired by them.
There are so many more situations that I could list, but these are the main ones. Just so that I can make it clear how present negativity bias is in all of our lives. It affects us all.
Negativity bias and anxiety
Due to the obvious negativity bias in our brains, people with anxiety tend to suffer more. Anxiety is bad enough without our own brains encouraging it, and making us think of the worst case scenario and how to avoid it constantly.
Also some of the effects of the negativity bias can include symptoms that we usually connect with anxiety. This includes; an increased heart rate, shortness of breath, sweating and more. If you already suffer from anxiety, these responses will be much more intense and hard to deal with. Usually resulting in an anxiety or panic attack.
That’s why it’s important that I share with you today, my tips for overcoming negativity bias. Knowing these easy techniques will help you to improve your mood, and your mental health so much over time.
Remember the negativity bias is set in stone in your brain, so don’t expect to see results overnight. Stay consistent and start finding ways to embrace the positives over the negatives.
How to overcome the negativity bias?
As mentioned above, this isn’t something that will come easily or naturally to us. The first step is just knowing where to start and going from there.
Over the years, I have been taught a few ways to start focusing more on the positives in life over the negatives. They have helped me so much the more that I implemented them into my life, and I hope that they will have the same effect on you.
Let’s get you started with overcoming, and pushing away your negativity bias. You will feel so amazing and free. Trust me.
Starting to use mindfulness is an amazing technique for overcoming the negativity bias in our minds.
- Meditation is my favourite way to tap into mindfulness. It allows you to become more aware of your thoughts, and emotions. You will feel grounded, relaxed, and will be able to tap into the more positive version of yourself more easily than ever.
There are so many different types of meditations. Including guided mindfulness meditations for controlling negative thoughts that the negativity bias can bring up for you.
You can imagine what it would be like to be a positive person, and really connect to that part of your brain. It is there for you to tap into. The negative parts are just more favoured by your brain because of the negativity bias.
On days when these thoughts take over, I highly recommend finding a few meditations to try. You can find them on YouTube, if you don’t want to have to pay for any of them.
- Deep breathing is another great way to tap into mindfulness and overcome negativity bias.
All you have to do is breathe in through your nose. Take in as much as physically possible for you. Feel your chest expanding, and hold it for a few seconds.
Before expanding, think of one negative thought that’s taking over in your mind right now. Hold it in your mind along with your breath and exhale. Let this negative thought out of your system with your breath. Let it out with a big sigh if you need too.
You can repeat this as many times as you need, until you feel that sense of happiness, relief and positivity coming through. Then repeat it again for any other negative thoughts that may be coming up for you, and effecting your life and mental health.
Deep breathing is also a big part of meditation, so you will get used to breathing like this through that. It’s actually difficult at first but it will get so much easier the more you practice meditation, and these deep breathing exercises.
Because of the negativity bias, our brains are prone to scarcity thoughts. Scarcity thoughts are thoughts all about you as a person.
For example; if you have a bad mental health day after weeks of feeling great. If this happens, the scarcity mindset will make you think “I’m a failure” or something like that. I know I have personally fallen victim to thoughts like this a lot over the years, and I still do.
This can ultimately make us feel worse, and makes you fall into an even deeper hole, that is even more difficult to get out of. That’s why it’s so important to try and train our brains to jump from the more popular scarcity thought to an abundant thought.
An abundant mindset will mean that you won’t make these events have anything to do with you. You will think “hmm, I wonder why that was.” or “Well that happened, but what can I do to make my day tomorrow even slightly better?”.
It’s so effective to start thinking like this when it comes to wanting to overcome the negativity bias.
The next time you feel yourself slipping into the scarcity mindset, try it out. Try to catch yourself and switch to a more abundant thought about the situation. Remember, it’s got nothing to do with you as a person!
The more you do it, the easier it will get, and eventually you will be doing it automatically without even having to stop and think about it.
Be More Self-Aware
Linking to the above point, you can’t start switching your thoughts, and overcoming the negativity bias without being more self aware.
I’m not an expert on how to become more self aware. This is out of my realm and difficult for me to explain as there is so much to it. As you have probably gathered, it takes time, effort, and consistency to become more aware of our thoughts.
Having to make our brains think about what it’s doing obviously isn’t going to come naturally. These things happen on autopilot, and it’s not usually questioned, unless it’s really making you suffer and you are looking for relief. Which is I guess the reason why you clicked on this blog post? Right?
Since I’m not an expert, I don’t want to go into detail on this topic. However, I can send you to an amazing, in depth course on the subject that I know will help you to understand yourself, and the amazing art of self-awareness more than ever..
The Art Of Being Self-Aware will help you to improve your self confidence, achieve your goals, recognise your thought patterns, and more. It goes into so much detail, and will really guide you on the right path towards the best version of yourself. It’s very affordable, and I can’t recommend it enough if you feel that becoming more self-aware is something you need.
Celebrate ALL The Good Moments
We need to get ourselves used to focusing more on the positives in life over the negatives if we want to overcome the negativity bias. Doing this involves really celebrating, and paying attention to every good moment in our lives. No matter how small it may be. No moment is too small to celebrate in my opinion. Some examples of these small moments include:
- If someone smiles at you.
- You eat something really delicious.
- Your friend sends you a hilarious meme or video that sends you cry laughing.
- Your pet does something really cute (don’t forget to snap a picture).
- It’s a really beautiful day outside.
- Your favourite band releases a new song that you absolutely love.
If something makes you happy, remember that moment, celebrate it and don’t take it for granted. Small moments like this are overlooked. Therefore it probably looks like we have more negativity in our lives due to the negativity bias highlighting these moments more.
That’s why we need to stop this from happening, and continue to overcome the negativity bias by highlighting EVERY positive thing that happens to us on a daily basis. Let me tell you, there is probably way more than you think.
Write them down if you need too. Just get used to noticing them and celebrating them because doing this will really help you, and your mindset in the long run.
I saved the best till last. My favourite way to overcome the negativity bias is by starting a journal.
Journaling and answering journal prompts is an amazing way to really tap into our thoughts, and really get to the bottom of our thought process. There are so may ways that you can use your journal to fight your negative thoughts but the following is one of my favourite techniques.
All you have to do is write down your negative thought on the top of a page of your journal. I know this probably doesn’t sound like it’s going to help but bare with me.
Then cross out the negative thought. Put a line right through it.
After you do this, start free writing underneath about all the reasons why this thought isn’t true. Go on for as long as you can, and for as long as you need.
Really take to heart everything that comes up, and try not to let the negativity bias slip through. Fight it until it’s so easy you don’t even have to try anymore. It’s been so effective for me and I know it will help you too.
If you don’t want to use a random notebook or paper, you can grab your own affordable journal here.
Now that you know the steps that you need to take, you are ready to overcome the negativity bias, thrive in your life, and achieve your dreams. You just need to take that first step.
I’m actually working on a really cool course at the moment. It’s for people like you, who want to start fighting their negative thoughts so they can live the life that they want without quality of mental health, or confidence issues getting in the way. I go into even more detail on all the ways that you can fight the negativity bias, and I’m so excited for you to see it.
If you want results now, don’t forget to grab your FREE Fighting Self-Critical Thoughts Workbook by signing up below.