With the New Year drawing near, I often reflect on what I would like to achieve or do better in 2017. I think I would like to feel more gratitude and have more courage to follow my heart. I think I often speed through life like the fast forward function on my Netflix without taking the time to savour and fully reflect on what is going well for me. My default pattern is to seek problems or impending catastrophes and avert them. Moving from one problem to the next. This is what positive psychology scientists call the “negativity bias”. We are biologically built to seek negativity. Our brains are built that way. Thanks to our prehistoric ancestors who were always scanning the landscape for danger and that wayward tyrannosaurus – we are built to look for danger even when life today is pretty safe. Knowing this, we must teach ourselves to have a more balanced view of in our life. To do that we need to intentionally look for good things in our life. When we do – we actually do find them. Spending time to reflect and savour these thing fills us with gratitude and raises our positive emotions and our mood. Voila! I’m feeling happier! I’m feeling so blessed.
I also feel this negativity bias fills me with dread to take on risks. Especially when I want to follow a new work opportunity or try something new or reach out to a new relationship. I think of all the things that can go wrong. But if I take a few moments to have a more balanced view of the situation – common sense tells me that anything new will be uncomfortable. So I lean into my discomfort and embrace the unknown. I acknowledge my negativity bias is there to keep me safe but not to rule my life. I think my new Mantrabands are a perfect reminder of what I want more of in the new year – to “Be Brave” and to have more “Gratitude”.