If you’re having trouble focusing on positive things, it has as much to do with whether the thing is actually negative or positive as it does with the bias your brain has towards the negative.
In the following video, University of California Davis behavioral scientist Alison Ledgerwood, an expert in how we frame life experience and interactions, explains why our brain is the way it is and what to do:
While the short little 4-minute video is a great overview, if you’re in a hurry here’s the 10-second summary: our brains are so good at remembering bad things because it’s so much worse, from an evolutionary standpoint, to forget something dangerous than to forget something good. If you forget which cave the bears live in you might die, but if you forget where the berry bush is, well, you can always wander around until you find another one.
What’s the solution to help you smile more about berry bushes and worry less about bear dens?
Thankfully, it’s pretty straight forward: spend more time thinking about the berries. Just like we highlighted in a recent post about gratitude journaling, focusing on the positive things in your life trains your brain to pay more attention to them and makes you happier in the process.