Our brains are hardwired to overly focus on the negative and diminish the positive as a result. This comes from a primitive time where there was more everyday danger that needed our attention, but it doesn’t serve us well nowadays, it causes stress and worry. You can flip this script: Focus on the positive each day, zoom out of the negative.
Your brain can work like a camera lens. What you tell it to focus on, it will pay more attention to, and trigger more chemicals relating to this thought, causing feelings to happen. If you want to feel happier, you have to consistently train your brain to put more attention on what’s going right rather than on what’s going wrong.
Martin Seligman, founder of Positive Psychology, calls this “learned optimism”. It takes time to rebuild your thinking habits and as well as mental discipline and consistency. It isn’t an instant fix, it’s a daily process just like exercising a muscle.
When I work with clients towards increasing positivity, we check in week to week and focus on what’s working out, what strengths they have used well, and we highlight any little successes that happen daily. You can rewire your brain to flag the good things as important to you, too, and see how this changes your feelings over time.
Therapist & Coach. Writer & Professor. Brain Trainer.