Psychologist Rick Hanson, senior fellow of The Greater Good Science Center of UC, Berkeley has studied something called negativity bias for years. He found that our brains are all hardwired for negativity. Negativity Bias is the habit of focusing on worst case scenarios when we are confronted with problems. Our brains, he found, react more strongly to negative experiences than positive ones.
I have four businesses I am running right now. Two of those businesses are on the uptick, growing every month. One is just in the beginning phases of development and will take some time to become a viable business. But the forth business is the one that creates the most problems for me.
Yesterday, I was forced to confront a pressing problem with that fourth business. My initial reaction was completely negative. My brain fed me with all sorts of negative outcomes and zero positive outcomes. That’s the amygdala at work. The amygdala is the emotional center of the brain. It is where negativity, fear and doubt reside. And it was hard at work.
Thanks to my vast research on the brain and habits, I understood what was happening. So, I said to myself over and over again, it’s just a problem that I need to solve. After a few hours, my amygdala calmed down and the thinking part of my brain, the prefrontal cortex, took over.
Eventually, I was able to come up with some potential solutions to my problem. These solutions all provide outcomes for me that would help set me up for success down the road.
If you are alive you will confront problems. That’s just life. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, there will always be problems. To turn off the negativity bias inside your brain, say to yourself over and over again, “it’s just a problem I need to solve”. That will turn off your amygdala and turn on your prefrontal cortex, allowing you to come up with creative solutions to your problem.
Remember, it’s just a problem, not the end of the world. Solving problems is what successful people do every day. Every problem has a solution. When you confront problems this way, you are able to shut down the negativity inside your brain and when you do, positive solutions will manifest out of thin air.