Most of us have heard this ‘lame’ line in break-ups but what if I told you that it may not actually be lame? That it may actually be the full blown truth but it’s too difficult for us to accept the flaws we have, so it’s just easier to say this rather than have a full-blown moment of self-reflection in a break-up.

What if I also told you that more often than not, you’re the one putting ‘out there’ what you feel? This is going to be a hard pill to swallow but I’ve included some science here to prove what I’m saying, so bear with me. 

Our brains love a negative thought. It actually thrives on it and can process it much more easily than a positive one. Our lives are filled with fear from needing good education so you can work and pay bills, to paying those bills and trying to live within our means. We have insurance, we save for a rainy day, we have huge mortgage debt (just to live in a house), we have student loans, we need to eat, we need to be at work on time, we need to be socially acceptable, we need to look a certain way. All this is then backed up by adverts we see everywhere we go, on the TV, on radio, on podcasts, on social media – we can’t get a break from fear – so our minds are now intrinsically trained to process and enjoy negative thoughts more than positive ones. And this isn’t as simple as negative and positive. In my last post, The Number 1 Tool to Ensure Success in Life,  I showed how words that seem positive, actually have negative connotations. 

Here’s the science: “The brain has a negativity bias.Your brain is simply built with a greater sensitivity to unpleasant news. The bias is so automatic that it can be detected at the earliest stage of the brain’s information processing.

Take, for example, the studies done by John Cacioppo, Ph.D., then at Ohio State University, now at the University of Chicago. He showed people pictures known to arouse positive feelings (say, a Ferrari, or a pizza), those certain to stir up negative feelings (a mutilated face or dead cat) and those known to produce neutral feelings (a plate, a hair dryer). Meanwhile, he recorded electrical activity in the brain’s cerebral cortex that reflects the magnitude of information processing taking place.

The brain, Cacioppo demonstrated, reacts more strongly to stimuli it deems negative. There is a greater surge in electrical activity. Thus, our attitudes are more heavily influenced by downbeat news than good news.

Our capacity to weigh negative input so heavily most likely evolved for a good reason—to keep us out of harm’s way. From the dawn of human history, our very survival depended on our skill at dodging danger. The brain developed systems that would make it unavoidable for us not to notice danger and thus, hopefully, respond to it.” – Psychology Today

Further to this, you can read about how negative thinking affects depression in more detail with regards to the actual happenings in the brain here.

If science can back up what is being said, why don’t we all then believe it and become incredible beings living our best lives? The core reason is because fear is such a strong and stubborn emotion that has been intertwined with us for so long that our current state leans more towards fear than it does optimism and joy of life. Therefore, if you want to make any changes to situations in your life, it will require the managing and recognising of this fear by raising your self awareness. By learning what triggers your fear and how you can manage it better. If for example you’re living pay check to check, the way to manage this is to spend less. That sounds easy enough but how many of you actually sit down and see where you could save yourself some money? If you’re having difficulty communicating with others, how often do you look at yourself without criticism and find ways to improve your communication skills? 

This isn’t an exercise in criticising yourself for the way you are. You are most likely a product of the life experiences you have had. Like I say, you have to choose to change and then make a conscious effort to make those changes stick every single day in order for the change to occur. To choose not to be fearful of everything is how you can excel in life (if that’s what you want) and more importantly, actually do what it is you’re trying to do.

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