Are We Hardwired To Think Negative?
11 missed calls from home. Are you even a normal human being if you won’t imagine the most horrible situation there can be?
You’re at a party and everyone tells you how good you look but this one random stranger insults you and voila! You’ve had another worst day ever.
When you go to bed, your brain won’t replay the one time you gave that really good presentation and everyone appreciated, instead it will keep on playing how you stuttered and everyone laughed. Again and Again.
You’re buying a product online with a five-star rating, however even one bad review will make you have second thoughts.
No, you’re not a pessimistic person for having to believe the worst scenario for every situation and be affected by negative feedback more than a positive one of the same impact. According to psychologists, your brains are hardwired to believe so. Your brain is calculating all probabilities of any dangers that could happen to you. Negative Bias is a psychological term for your brain’s tendency to be affected by negative events more than the positive ones of the same magnitude. The phenomenon was first identified by psychologists Roy F. Baumeister and Ellen Bratslavsky in their paper “Bad is Stronger than Good” only recently in 2001.
We can blame our ancestors for our overly protective inner chatter. We human beings have evolved to protect ourselves for the sake of our survival and continuation of our species. This can be thought of as a weapon that has helped our species stay alive. Back in the prehistoric era, this tool was handier when the cavemen needed to protect themselves from man-eating beasts roaming freely around the neighborhood. This trait was passed on from adults to the young children and from generation, to generation it morphed according to the dangers posed by a certain era.
However, while it was necessary to back then, we might not need this tool for survival as often. Negative Bias has helped us survive, however; this can lead to problems like anxiety and stress or even depression in the longer run. But this won’t be a problem if you and find your happiness and calm in the simplest things. Appreciate the world around you and rewire your brain to think more positive over the years.