Know Your Negative
That was a dumb answer! I’m fat and have to lose 20 pounds.
Why do humans focus on the negative so much? The definition of negative is a person, attitude or situation not desirable or optimistic.
Research at The National Science Foundation recently found that the average person has between 12,000 and 60,000 thoughts per day, 80% of those thoughts are negative. 95% are exactly the same thoughts as the day before.
Here is the cycle, we have a negative thought about something in our world view, then we observe ourselves engaging in negativity, which spurs a negative feeling about who we are as a person. In this moment we operate on a societal level when trying to comprehend the situation. Surprisingly, the brain in and of itself has a lot to do with it. Not to play the blame game, but it’s time to put some of the onus on our gray matter and let our hips off the hook.
John Hopkins University is one of the top institutions researching brain activity. Their research shows that our brain functions through the existence and flow of different chemicals. Two that battle over your positive or negative moments are Dopamine and Cortisol. The one with “Dop” in the name? That’s the good guys. Dopamine looks for positivity. We grab our phone and look for that funny text response from a friend. The excitement we feel making plans for the weekend. Actions that seek a positive result. Cortisol, on the other hand, is related to hormones and stress and can spur negative thoughts. To make things even more difficult for us mere mortals, Cortisol is more available to brain recall than Dopamine. In other words, the negative valve is right there for us to grab and bathe ourselves in, but the positive one likes to hide in our brain, so we have to go searching for it. So, in truth, a portion of the negativity we experience is natural brain function.
Understanding the science can help us devise a plan to balance the prosperous life we desire, with the negative thoughts that inevitably exist. Most of us ignore or explain away our negativity. A healthier angle is to understand it so we don’t feel so powerless. We can be informed by our negative attributes and not follow them into a pattern of frustration. So, you have negative thoughts fine, it doesn’t make you a bad person. I challenge all of my readers to know your negative and find a place for it in your life. You’re not crazy, you’re complex. Negativity is part of us. Our job is to understand it, make peace with it, so we can live a full, healthy life.