Have you ever wondered why we suddenly start thinking of negative thoughts, setbacks, or unpleasant circumstances?
This constant inclination toward negative thoughts and feelings is known as negative bias. You can sometimes find yourself in situations where you jump directly to negative conclusions faster before thinking of anything positive. If this pattern is frequent and affects your daily life decisions, it is known as having a negative bias.
Constant negative bias can be the reason for your stress and anxiety. Analyzing the situation beforehand and preparing yourself before anything negative happens is not harmful, but dwelling entirely on the negative will start hampering your life.
Worry not; you are at the right place. We will help you understand what is negative bias and suggest you some effective and simple ways of overcoming negativity bias.
What is negative bias?
The negativity effect, often referred to as the negativity bias, is the idea that even when of comparable intensity, things that are more negatively oriented have a higher impact on one’s psychological state and processes than neutral or positively oriented things. Anything enjoyable will often affect a person’s behavior and cognition less than something similarly emotive but negative.
The term “negative bias” describes our tendency to pay “much more attention to, learn from, and apply negative information than positive information.
Even when a day is filled with many positive experiences, negativity bias can make us concentrate on the one negative event that took place. It can cause us to dwell on little details, fret that we created a poor impression, and dwell on unfavorable remarks.
Why your brain has a negative bias?
The negativity bias was essential to our survival from an evolutionary perspective. Our ancestors used it to stay wary of all risks nearby. What allowed our ascendants to live was their constant state of alertness to dangers and worst-case scenarios. Because the bias has evolved, it may be recognized at the beginning of the brain’s information processing.
The amygdala part of the brain controls our emotions and drives us.
About two-thirds of the neurons in the amygdala are used to detect negativity, which is subsequently promptly stored in long-term memory.
A persistent negativity bias is no longer necessary for our survival in the world of today. Additionally, regular use can lower our happiness and overall quality of life while raising our stress levels. Additionally, being kind and patient with others makes it more challenging.
What are some negative bias examples?
As the negativity bias definition states, negative thoughts, feelings, and events have a greater impact on a person’s life if they have a negative bias. Some of the negative bias examples are:
1. Remembering the negative memories
Some people tend to remember negative memories like being insulted somewhere and scolded rather than recognizing positive comments. They remember this for a very long time, affecting their mental and physical health.
2. Picking on the negative
Some people habitually pick negative bits from any situation or thing rather than focusing on the positive aspects. They generally do this for something they are scared of or don’t want to do in the first place.
3. Overestimating the risks
Everything we do has certain kinds of risks. But still, we gain the confidence to take their risk and go for it. A person with negative bias may overestimate any risk and avoid its positive result. This may demotivate them also and the people around them.
4. The negative media
Nowadays, the media plays a critical role in our society. Media is the only way perspective is shaped toward any particular societal issue. Maximum people around the globe sit in front of the TV or mobile phones and watch news and media clips that influence the mind. Nowadays, there’s always negativity in the media.
They focus mainly on the negative news than the positive ones. The people who are engaging in such media may also start to develop a negative bias and may always think of worst-case scenarios that might happen.
5. Everything is always worse
Thinking everything is getting worse and has not improved significantly is also a negative bias. Some people may always stick to what the problem was and not consider the efforts made to rectify it. Even if something improves, they will keep their minds and beliefs fixed on the negative.
How to overcome negativity bias?
How can you avoid negative bias? There are many ways that can help your brain focus and appreciate the good things in your life. We have curated a list for you:
1. Recognize the problem
Simply recognizing that a problem exists is a good step toward solving it. Knowing that you have a negativity bias will help you to remember when you’re dwelling on the negative aspects of a situation due to this bias.
You should always try to stop and appreciate the good things that happen to you. Play it back in your head a few times to let the memory of the good experience stick in your long-term memory and soak up the good memories like soft rain on your skin.
3. Maintain a 5:1 Ratio
Another way of overcoming negativity bias is maintaining a 5 to 1 ratio in all of your interactions. Due to the negativity bias, the bad things you say or do to other people will impact them more than the positive ones. If you dispute with your spouse, reprimand your child, or criticize a coworker, you must say or do these five things to keep your relationship healthy.
4. Enjoy Simple delights throughout the day
Give yourself small delights throughout the day. Large, occasional events won’t be able to combat your brain’s tendency to lean negatively, even though most individuals choose to wait for the major occasions. Give yourself a treat, go shopping, watch a movie, or buy flowers.
5. Listing positive things
Have a list of positive things you may think of if you find your mind drifting to a bad recollection, such as pleasant memories, motivational sayings, or lines from poetry. Keeping a record of positive things or life events is a great way of overcoming negativity bias.
6. Keeping a gratitude journal
Keep an appreciation diary. Your brain will remain aware of all the positive events in your life if you set aside time each night to reflect on and list all the nice things that occurred to you during the day. You may progressively rewire your brain for happiness by focusing on the positive.
7. Keeping a kudos file
Maintain a “kudos file.” Print off the email and put it in your kudos file whenever someone thanks you for something you did or your employer commends you for a job well done. Anything that demonstrates your talent and greatness should be kept in your file.
Then, pull out your dependable compliments file whenever you feel low, so you can be reminded of all the excellence you have accomplished.
Negative bias has been there from the time of our ancestors. They used it to protect themselves from the worst cases and survive. The key is to understand what is negative bias and keep control over negative thoughts.
Therefore it is okay to be ready for something bad to happen. It helps us protect ourselves. But the essential thing that we need to remember is we should not develop extreme negativity that might affect our mental health. Because thinking about adverse outcomes and negative situations brings in a lot of stress and anxiety.
Anxiety comes from the fear of the fight and flight reaction that our mind has developed to keep us safe and happy. Anxiety can be a good emotion as it helps us be more productive and gives us a head start on all the upcoming risks.
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