Why do we feel so drained when we get flashbacks from the past horrible experiences? Why do we emphasize negative memories than positive and good memories? One of the most common answer is negativity bias.
What is Negativity Bias?
During day-to-day encounters, people continuously receive feedback on their behavior, which influences their beliefs about themselves. Classic studies suggest that people have a better learning tendency from good experiences that we call positive bias. In reality, we, the humans, tend to give more weight to horrible experiences than good or neutral ones. It is the negativity bias. But how does this affect us?
Effects of Negative Bias
The negativity bias can happen to everyone. Much of humanity is predisposed to prefer negative sensory inputs and memories over positive ones. It can also be a strong wire for problems like depression and lack of motivation. When we accept that more bad things happen to us than good things, it can be discouraging. We start to believe that the whole world is against us. And no matter how hard we try, the cards will still be stacked out of our favor.
However, when you think about it, the fact is that we undervalue positive experiences and prefer to overvalue negative ones. It can be challenging for us to move forward and let go of stressful events. We find ourselves reeling from adverse events for months or even years. On the contrary, positive events are always forgotten by the end of the day. We no longer find any meaning in them or their memory. But what are the reasons behind it? Why do we overemphasize negative experiences than good ones?
Causes of Negative Bias
Most of this is due to the conditioning of our neural pathways. These are the synapses in our brains that link and help us process information. It also responds appropriately to the feedback that our mind receives. For example, our neural pathways can cause an appropriate response to someone who affects us negatively for a long time. It can be possible only if we can anticipate their behaviors. It may be fine, but our negativity is unwarranted if our subconscious misinterprets signals that don’t have any malicious intent. And yet, we don’t seem to be helping ourselves when it comes to our responses.
It is analogous to what happens when we get traumatized. Anyone who undergoes this form of conditioning is likely to react to certain conditions that other people would not have.
Can We Overcome Negative Bias?
Luckily, the human body is magnificent and can rewire itself to adjust how we perceive sensory input. Suppose we can disrupt our negative thoughts and focus on positive reviews. In that case, this will potentially help us reconstruct our neural pathways. It will help us to adjust our reaction to negativity and stay positive despite the situations we face.
Start interrupting your pessimistic thoughts with active attempts to reassure yourself that you are making great strides towards progress. Every step you take toward improvement is a big deal. Encouraging yourself to feel pride in your successes is a perfect way to fight against your negative bias. You can get ahead of yourself for even more success along the way. Positive self-talk can help to overcome the negative bias as well.
All of us are capable of rewiring our minds, no matter what the situation might be. Use this insight to your favor and start training your brain today!