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5 Steps to Balance the Brain’s Negativity Bias

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the importance of balancing the mind toward more of the good in life. This isn’t meant to be a Pollyanna approach, just balancing the negativity bias that our brains inherently have.

Here is a short practice you can come back to again and again at work or at home as a way to prime your mind for good – experiencing more of The Now Effect in daily life.

The Practice:

  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.

Theologian, philosopher and mystic Meister Eckhart said “If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.”

This practice will prime your mind for gratitude, which we know is connected to feeling well in life. The fact is, what we intentionally practice and repeat in life changes the architecture of our brains to make it more automatic.

What would the days, weeks and months ahead look like in your life if you practiced these 5 steps daily? Allow the answer that arises to light your path.

As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.

Woman in the sun photo available from Shutterstock.

5 Steps to Balance the Brain’s Negativity Bias

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is creator of the six month online program A Course in Mindful Living, author of the book Uncovering Happiness: Overcoming Depression with Mindfulness and Self-Compassion, The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Mindfulness Meditations for the Anxious Traveler: Quick Exercises to Calm Your Mind, the premier eCourse Basics of Mindfulness Meditation: A 28 Day Program, the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work™ program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations. Join The Now Effect Community for free Daily Now Moments and a Weekly Newsletter. Dr. Goldstein is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles.


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APA Reference
Goldstein, E. (2012). 5 Steps to Balance the Brain’s Negativity Bias. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 18, 2018, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/mindfulness/2012/06/5-steps-to-balance-the-brains-negativity-bias/

 

Last updated: 15 Jun 2012
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 15 Jun 2012
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.