--2 Corinthians 10:5 (KJV)
For example, did you know that we are hardwired to focus on negative things? It's what science calls the "Negativity Bias". Think about it, you are having a great day. Everything is right with the world. You are rocking a fierce outfit, you are having a great hair day, you boss applauded your work, you spent 45 minutes in the gym--things could not be better! Then, you check your phone and see an angry message-- in all capital letters, exclamation points, the whole nine. Suddenly everything that was wonderful and amazing goes up in smoke. Now, you are feeling angry, irritable, frustrated, annoyed, etc. One text message has ruined your perfect day. Why? The Negativity Bias--we simply give more weight to what is negative.
There is a lot of research and neuroscientific evidence on how the brain reacts to negativity and why negative experiences impact us in a greater way than positive ones, but for the purpose of this blog post, let's focus on how we can override this negativity default. Is this even possible? Good news--yes it is! But, it is a spiritual discipline. It is not something that occurs naturally. We must volitional and diligent in practicing this principle.
Here a some suggestions that may help
- Remember that you have the mind of Christ, and therefore the ability to override the negative default (I Corinthians 2:16)
- Pursue God in daily contemplative prayer and by studying his word
- Practice the spiritual discipline of shifting your focus (Philippians 4:8)
- Practice mindfulness and apply God's word to your thought-life
- Practice self-care--take time to laugh and enjoy life (Proverbs 17:22)
Father, in the name of Jesus, I thank you for the truth of your word. You have considered every aspect of my life and have built in mechanisms to ensure my victory and success. Thank you for giving me the ability to overcome negative thinking. Give me grace and strength to practice this spiritual discipline day by day. Amen.