The majority of us have a negativity bias which means that around 80 per cent of our memory is negative. The reason, storing bad memories helps keep us stay safe so that we don't place ourselves in that 'danger' again. The problem, our thoughts slant towards the danger, towards the negative.
Those who follow my posts will know that there are many simple techniques to break the habit of negative thinking and to quickly reduce the negative bias. Unfortunately, these simple techniques - run to the fire (danger), look forward to good things coming up in the future, concentrate on what is directly in front of you, forcefully blink your eyes while saying 'No' or 'Stop' inside your head, or flicking a rubber band on your wrist - won't work long-term.
These techniques are designed to either help us get over a limited period of negative thinking or to change a destructive habit. They won't permanently change the wiring in your brain, they simply break a pattern of thought. So what does work permanently?
It is said that controlling your thoughts continuously to only look for the good in everything is a great way to think positively, and it is. However, it can be very difficult to truly change years of negative thinking and often involves a lot of fighting inside your head - with yourself.
If you want to change your thought patterns from negativity to positivity long-term, and are finding it difficult to continually think positively, try finding the neutral ground first;
- Rather than seeing the glass as half full or half empty, see it as still having some water. And, it's a glass so you can go and fill it with more water.
- Rather than thinking about what might go wrong in a situation "What's the worst that could happen", instead think "How can I limit what could go wrong".
- After something bad has occurred, rather than say "Lucky I didn't die", say "What did I learn from that".
Find the neutral first rather than forcing yourself to always see the positive, the positive thoughts will follow in due course. Working with your brain rather than fighting against it will be much easier to embed the new pattern and will eventually permanently change the wiring in your brain.
Research shows us that those who have a positive outlook will live, on average, an additional seven years. Now that's a positive thought.