Overcome dwelling on the negative
Do you focus on the negative?
Have you ever found yourself dwelling on the one negative thing that happened, the criticism or mistake, instead of all the nice things you might have done that day?
According to neuroscience, our brains are hardwired to have a bias towards negativity. This bias means that we are naturally drawn to focus on the bad things that happen. Our decisions are often made from here, and we often relate to others from here too. This can cause great problems in our lives, such as isolating ourselves through mistrust, or overworking, through worry. It is also a constant challenge for those of us who respond to negative feelings with food.
How to overcome negative bias
In my work, I help people to overcome this negative bias, through recognising and reducing negative self talk, learning to befriend and understand negative feelings, reframing, and resourcing. I’ll talk about all of these things in my articles.
In this article, I’m going to address resourcing. Here are some ways to start changing your negative mindset through ‘resourcing’ yourself.
Put simply, we need to focus more on the joyful and satisfying experiences. One way to do this is to do things that increase our happiness levels. It’s all too easy for us to slip out of the habit of doing anything good for ourselves, on a daily basis. Here are a list of things that may help you to feel happier if practiced regularly. They are all things meant to be done just for the joy of doing them. So if you find any of them hard work, it may be time to stop! Please feel free to add your own to the list.
Try doing 3 of these each day for a week, and see if it improves your outlook:
- Go outside. Feel the air. Notice animals, flowers, grass, trees, and all the ddifferent ages and types of people. For 5 mins even. Do gardening, lie in the grass or take your favourite drink to the park.
- Move your body. Slowly or quickly. Stretch, run or dance.
- Be creative; write, draw, make patterns in condensation, or mould your food!
- Listen to music.
- Laugh. Consciously choose to smile or laugh more. Watch comedy. Banter with your funny friends.
- Act in your own sense of integrity.
- Be altruistic/ create happiness for others. Throw secret well wishes at people, in your mind.
- Observe, study or do something new.
- See the potential in things. See the good in others.
- Practice gratitude. Express your appreciation to people, or write a list of all you’re thankful for.
- Tell someone how you feel.
- Ask for a hug.
- Play, or spend time, with a pet
Practicing these things, even if you’re not feeling fully involved in them at the time, can literally stop the negativity and change the habits and patterns of your mind. It won’t always work. In which case it may be time to learn to befriend your feelings. Sometimes, however, doing one of these things, will surprise you. Over time, you may even start to change your belief systems.
The safe person
Another way to start shifting your experience, is to focus on someone who makes you feel good.
- Who can you think of who makes you feel better, just by thinking about them?
Often this may be a friend, family member or therapist. This may be someone who you feel it is safe enough to be yourself with. Take a few moments to imagine (or remember) being in the company of that person.
- How do you feel?
- What kinds of things do you talk about or do together?
- What do they say?
- What do you like about this person?
- What do you like about yourself or being you, here?
- What is it that makes you feel good?
- How do you know that? Can you feel the experience in your body?
- Try to feel as much detail of the experience as possible.
- What would it be like to live from this place of security and satisfaction more often?
Taking a few minutes to slow this experience down, and experience it more fully, can focus you on the positive. It can also train your brain and body to experience this more often. You can also practice recalling this good experience, as and when, you need to. Try it next time you feel troubled.
Interested to learn more?
These are just a few ways of experiencing more of your own joy. If you’re sick of diets and want to learn:
- Techniques to reduce emotional eating
- How to feel good about yourself
Register your interest for my ‘Understanding your Eating Introductory Programme’, here:
Enrolment for Autumn will be opening very soon. By registering your interest here, you’ll receive information about the programme, and how I can help you to understand and change your eating. You’ll also be the first to know about the early bird price. Numbers are limited.