Our Negativity Bias
Stop, Breathe & Think | 7:06
Our brains have been optimized by evolution for survival and reproduction, not for happiness or wellbeing. Millions of years in daily mortal danger have programmed us to be anxious, apprehensive, fearful and suspicious. The result is a deep and automatic negative bias.
Research shows that 60,000 to 80,000 thoughts a day rise into consciousness. Unless purposely directed, our attention is drawn to the most self-referential, ruminative, or worrisome. It’s reported that 80% or more of our undirected thoughts are negative - and that we tend to attach to the same negative thoughts, repetitively, day after day.
Knowing this is key to understanding how to overcome it. First, we simply “notice” when our primitive brain is running the show - then, we bring our attention out of our auto-pilot rumination in the past and worry about the future - and into the present moment. Once there, we can most simply calm the brain and body by regulating the breath.