Day 12 - Our Reactive Bias

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We can’t stop unpleasant things from happening, or negative thoughts and emotions from rising into consciousness - but we can change our relationship to them - and so, how we respond to them. Along with a bias to negative thinking, we’ve evolved with the (critical and extremely useful) capability to automate our thoughts and behaviors

 

We’re programmed to codify models of our thoughts and behaviors - and to apply those models instantly and without mediation when triggered by circumstances or events. We automatically compress information into symbolic systems like language and mathematics. We entirely automate repetitive tasks like washing the dishes or driving a car. 

 

And we “read” signals (in particular, negative ones) and react without thinking - and because of our negativity bias,  that reaction often creates unpleasant stress, anxiety or conflict. Slowing down this reaction - being able to pause and use that space to respond in a more positive, strategic way - is an important outcome of mindfulness. Today’s exercise is the one that Navy Seals are taught, to help them slow down, center and ground themselves amid chaos. 

Copyright  2020 Institute for Organizational Mindfulness (IOM)

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