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Negativity Bias

Updated: Feb 25


Negativity Bias is an adaptive evolutionary function.


Thousands of years ago our ancestors were always in harms way.


They didn’t have the internet to tell them what foods were poisonous or not and they lived in caves and were hunted by deadly mammals.

If they weren’t more negative than positive, they likely would not have survived.


Therefore, negativity is a trait they passed down, because the more you focused on negativity the more likely you were to survive.


This has been passed down to us generation to generation.


Some ways that negativity bias can show up in your life:

  • Recall and think about insults more than compliments;

  • Dwell on unpleasant or traumatic events more than pleasant ones;

  • Focus our attention more quickly on negative rather than positive information;

For us widows it tends to look a lot like:

  • We search for all the ways we “mistreated” our husbands; or

  • How we didn’t show them enough love; or

  • We focus on the last argument we had with them rather than the last loving moments.


But the reality is we no longer have danger lurking around every corner.


And we can retrain our brains to focus on the more positive things than the negative ones now. We don’t need to think negatively all the time to survive now.


Negativity bias is very much concerned with where we direct our attention.


By directing more attention toward the positive events and feelings we experience, we can begin to address the asymmetry of negativity bias.


The next time you are experiencing positive emotions, really spend some time here for a bit.


Take it all in and enjoy it for as long as you can.


Really engage in the happy thoughts you are thinking and really feel those positive emotions.


Have an internal dialogue with yourself about what you are feeling, and if you are able to journal about it.


Click here to schedule a free mini session and we can do a deep dive to see how your NEGATIVITY BIAS is showing up in your life.



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