December 1, 2021

It’s Not As Bad As You Think

As 2020 comes to an end, you may be disappointed by the things you expected to accomplish this year but didn’t. As every year comes to a close, it’s natural to take stock of your life and look back on what you did and did not accomplish that year. However, chances are, the disappointments take up more mental space than the accomplishments.

As 2020 comes to an end, you may be disappointed by the things you expected to accomplish this year but didn’t. As every year comes to a close, it’s natural to take stock of your life and look back on what you did and did not accomplish that year. However, chances are, the disappointments take up more mental space than the accomplishments.

This is because of a phenomenon known as the Negativity Bias: humans have a hard-wired tendency to have a greater emotional response to negative events than positive ones.

Sounds unfair, right? Maybe, but if you were living in prehistoric times, you might not think so. This tendency of our brains to give outsize importance to negative experiences likely has its origins in early human existence, a time when paying attention to dangers actually increased the odds of survival. Those who spent less time dwelling on the negative didn’t make it, and through the process of natural selection, the negativity bias flourished in the human brain. And here you are today, dwelling on the promotion you didn’t get this year, the fight you had with your BFF, or that time you slipped and fell in front of that cute guy or girl.

All this negativity can really take a toll on our mood and well-being. Negative thoughts have been shown to contribute to depression and anxiety. But since we are no longer living in prehistoric times, we can retrain our brains to be less negative. Once you realize that your brain is drawn to the negative experiences, force yourself to remember everything good that happened! I know — it’s 2020 — it was a complicated year, but search for all those silver linings.

Learn to recognize when you are over-emphasizing the negative, and actively force yourself to reframe the thought less negatively. If that’s difficult, do something to shift your focus, whether it’s exercising, watching a funny show chatting with a dear friend, or even cleaning the kitchen. When you notice you are feeling positive, stay with it. Be present. Appreciate where you are right now and what you are feeling. If you are unable to shift to a more positive mindset, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can teach you more specific techniques and strategies to help you.

This is an extraordinarily difficult time, and you are not alone. We are here to support you, guide you and help you heal. Please CONTACT US to let us know how we can best serve you.

We will all get through this, and we will get through it together.