Negativity Bias Revisted

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A while ago I posted about how our brain has a negativity bias, which basically means that we are predisposed to focus on the bad as opposed to the good, and that because of that, negative  interactions and emotions are weighted far heavier than positive ones.

Ever since then I have been working rather diligently to fight against this negativity bias, so when I came across this article by Dr. Elisha Goldstein, titled “5 Steps to Balance the Brain’s Negativity Bias” I thought it was worth sharing.

We need to prime our mind to good, and to do that, the author suggests we do the following:

  1. Think of a moment of receiving in the last day or week. You may have received something physical, or maybe a meal, the beauty of the sun, a smile, support from a coworker or the help from a stranger. It could be something that you may normally consider mundane.
  2. Revisit the memory like a movie in your mind, picturing where you are, who you are with and pausing the reel in the moment of receiving.
  3. As you’re recalling the memory, have awareness that you are receiving this, feeling into a sense of gratitude. Noticing how it feels in your body and allow it to get as big as it can get. As one client of mine said, “allow the glow to grow.”
  4. In your mind, picture who or what is giving you this gift and intentionally express thanks.
  5. Be on the lookout for moments of gratitude throughout today.


According Dr. Goldstein, if we make a habit of priming our minds to think about something good, something we are grateful for, we can really start to change the architecture of our mind and help balance out the negativity bias.

There has been much research espousing the practice of gratitude and the many benefits that can result from it, and this is something I’ve tried to incorporate into my daily thoughts and actions. The whole gratitude journal fad has been around for ages, and we all know how Oprah feels about it!

And hey, when Queen Oprah endorses something and says that keeping a gratitude journal will help us attract positive things into our lives, and become a “deliberate attractor of positive vibrations,” we know it’s gotta be good! It’s Oprah, after all. Her words are like Gospel to some.

I’m going to be honest… I always thought the concept of a gratitude journal sounded trite, but I think I’m changing my tune. How could taking a moment of your day to quickly think about and jot down something you are grateful be anything than positive?

I’m adding this to my list of passion pursuit resolutions.

My moment of gratitude for today?  Recalling last night’s four course foie gras meal. Oh. My. God. If I could choose my last meal on earth, it might be that.

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