Because two out of the three parts of our brain (limbic and brain stem, or subconscious) are hard wired to be on the lookout for anything negative, we are in a sense hardwired for negativity. Everyone, rich or poor, experiences negative events in their lives which drag us all down and cause us to become negative. This is where the third part of our brain, the neocortex (our executive brain, or conscious), can intervene and rescue us from this negative abyss. It is important to spend some time on negative events in order to prepare a plan of action to deal with or prevent similar negative events from occurring in the future. The problem is that most of us harp on negative events too long. We keep replaying the event in our mind, dragging up the associated negative emotions along with it. In order to stop this bad habit, we must actively engage our executive brain to help us move on. How? We must make a daily habit of focusing on the good in life:
- Practicing gratitude every day is crucial in reducing stress and fostering a positive mental state, especially during negative periods in our lives.
- Maintaining and reviewing a Victory Log (a log of all of your successes, no matter how small) also shifts you back into a positive state.
- Maintaining and reviewing a Happiness Log (a log of all of your happiness events) will have the same effect of helping you see the big picture and pulling you out of your negative state.
- Focusing on a big, major goal will stop you from focusing on the negative event.
- Meditating will relax your mind, reduce your stress and give your brain a rest from the negative thoughts.
- Viewing, listening to or reading anything humorous will stop the negativity.
- Listening to uplifting music will silence the negative thoughts.
- Reading stories of individuals who triumphed in the face of seemingly insurmountable events will renew your optimism.