Be Aware that Our Mind Gravitates Toward the Negative

Be aware of your thoughts and words.
Be aware of adversity and its purpose. 
Be aware of what is in your control and what is not. 
Be aware of your emotional response.
Be aware that our mind gravitates toward the negative.
Be aware of the practice needed to achieve what you want.

This week, as I continue to delve into six awarenesses needed in our lives, I will examine being aware of adversity and its purpose. A few weeks ago, I shared the following about being aware of what is in your control and what is not:

Be aware that our mind gravitates toward the negative. This process is an evolutionary response. It keeps us safe. We are designed to pay more attention to dangers than we are to positive stimuli. The voice inside your head when negatives occur is usually speaking on imaginary fears. Don’t listen. Be aware of this negative voice and fight the messages it poses with positive self-talk.

Our capacity to so heavily weigh negative input most likely evolved for a good reason—to keep us out of harm’s way. From the dawn of human history, our very survival depended on our skill to dodge danger. The brain developed systems that made it possible for us to notice danger and, hopefully, respond to it. Having this built-in brain response that is super-sensitive to negativity means that the same bad-news bias works in every sphere of our lives, at all times.

Throughout history, bias to the negative has become an automatic process. Automatic processes are fast, easy, and do not require attentional resources. We automatically process information without conscious knowledge that we are doing so. This automatic mental process is why creating the awareness that our mind gravitates towards the negative is essential. Without having awareness, we go on autopilot, and that pathway is going to take us to the negative more often than the positive. 

We have to force ourselves to check on our thoughts throughout the day. Becoming aware of ideas that are running through our minds, both helpful and unhelpful ones, will create a better understanding of what is serving us and what is not. Once we are aware, we can tackle these thoughts head-on. We can challenge the negative narrative and replace those negative thoughts with more useful ones. What were we thinking before experiencing: anger, resentment, or frustration? Was it negativity in action? And how can we replace those thoughts with more positive ones?

This week, when you feel your mind drifting towards the negative, stop yourself, and retell the story; find some perspective. And, if you have just had a bad day, find a way to intentionally bring some joy into your day. Take a walk, call a friend, do something to get you back on track. It starts with awareness, but nothing changes without action.

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