“Negativity bias” is real–& powerful! This looking (& expecting) danger in our environment is a leftover mindset from cave-person days when we were stalked by predators around every corner. Some researchers claim we need as many as 10 positive thoughts to effectively reverse the negative ones when that bias starts to take over.
The following is a fun way of conquering negativity bias using powerful symbolism. It’s also a great way of practicing mindfulness & encouraging gratitude:
“Add a Balloon”
Imagine a negative thought as a rock that weighs heavily on your heart & drags down your spirit. Envision a positive thought, especially one of genuine gratitude, as a balloon you can tie to the rock to lift it up, allowing your heart & spirit to be uplifted as well.
Sometimes a negative thought can feel small–more like a pebble–& not very powerful. It might sound something like: “______, another day without sunshine!” or “He forgot to rinse the sink, again!” or “I don’t feel like cooking tonight—why can’t I have a private chef?” For negative thoughts that don’t feel so heavy, a single positive thought can provide all the lift you need, especially if it’s one fortified with gratitude: “I’m grateful I don’t need as much sunscreen today!” or “I’m thankful this rain keeps things green & healthy” … “I’m grateful he remembered to take out the trash” … “I’m thankful I always have healthy food to cook!”
If your negative thought feels heavier or starts to multiply, more positive thoughts will be necessary to lift that load off your heart & spirit. But remember, all you have to do is keep adding balloons until your negativity floats away!
Keeping a gratitude journal is a great way of both recording & recalling previous people, places, things & ideas that ignited a spirit of thanksgiving within you. Another turbo-charged practice is what I call “The Gratitude Alphabet.” If you’d like to learn more about that or get support with cultivating an enduring gratitude practice, please let me hear from you: [email protected]. An experienced “AB” (Accountability Buddy) can make all the difference. 😉
Remember, negativity bias still has a strong influence over your brain; so you need to be just as stubborn about challenging it with positivity! With regular practice, you can definitely weaken your negativity while strengthening both your mindfulness and gratitude—the best allies to have as you’re navigating this modern jungle called life!