How your brain works to keep you negative

Posted by Karen Degen on 29th August 2014

Tags: EFT, Rick Hanson, being negative, being positive, brain, negativity bias, tiger

The brain has a “negativity bias.” The “negativity bias” began as protective mechanism, a mental “habit” that helped us survive. Because this bias started so long ago, it’s become deeply ingrained in the human brain. In his book, “Hardwiring Happiness”, neuropsychologist Rick Hanson Ph.D. describes it this way:

“Our ancestors could make two kinds of mistakes: (1) thinking there was a tiger in the bushes when there wasn’t one, and (2) thinking there was no tiger in the bushes when there actually was one. The cost of the first mistake was needless anxiety, while the cost of the second one was death. Consequently, we evolved to make the first mistake a thousand times to avoid making the second mistake even once… the default setting of the brain is to overestimate threats, underestimate opportunities, and underestimate resources both for coping with threats and for fulfilling opportunities. Then we update these beliefs with information that confirms them, while ignoring or rejecting information that doesn’t. There are even regions in the amygdala specifically designed to prevent the unlearning of fear, especially from childhood experiences. As a result, we end up preoccupied by threats that are actually smaller or more manageable than we’d feared, while overlooking opportunities that are actually greater than we’d hoped for. In effect, we’ve got a brain that’s prone to ‘paper tiger paranoia’.”

That’s why you have such a hard time being positive. Over millions of years, the human brain has been wired to emphasize the negative. To overcome it use EFT on the negative thoughts, beliefs, expectations and feelings.

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