Ep 25 Negativity bias

Uncategorized Sep 15, 2017

Do you know why you are so negative?

The answer is evolution.

Evolution has given us a brain that has a “negativity bias”. This bias developed simply because early humans needed to be constantly aware of threats. If they didn’t stay alert to all the threats, they wouldn't have lived to see the next day. Because our ancestors were very good worriers, they survived all the dangers to pass on their fearful, nervous genes to us-  their great, great-great-grandchildren.

As Rick Hanson explains it “Basically, in evolution, there are two kinds of mistakes: (1) You think there is a tiger in the bushes but there isn’t one, and (2) You think the coast is clear, no tiger in the bushes, but there really is one about to kill you.

These mistakes have very different consequences. The first one will make you anxious, but the second one will kill you. That’s why Mother Nature wants you to make the first mistake a thousand times over in order- to be aware of the negative- to avoid making the second mistake even once.

So we evolved to be fearful and are very vulnerable to being frightened and intimidated by threats, both real ones and “paper tigers.”

So what do we do when we have an old world brain and live in a new world?

We learn ways to counter the negativity by practicing interventions like gratitude, savoring and showing kindness to others.  And working on changing our preconditioned negative mind chatter is effective as well. You can find tips on all of those in previous videos. 

Now you know, now what will you do?

See you in a minute,

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