Half full or half empty?

Mental Health and Wellness
Half full or half empty?

Are humans predisposed to favor negative emotions? Some research indicates that we may be.

There are two neuron clusters called amygdala, located deep within the brain and involved with the processing of memory, decision making and emotional reactions. Some research indicates that the amygdala seem to favor the processing of negative emotions over positive ones.

This bias makes sense from a survival perspective in that it is important to remember sources of danger to prevent harm to ourselves. In fact, the amygdala activate the sympathetic nervous system, which provides our fight or flight response.  But anxiety, social anxiety, phobias and stress are also triggered by the amygdala.

Fortunately, biology does not have to be destiny. We can teach ourselves to be less emotionally negative. We can teach ourselves to think positively. Positive thinkers tend to be less stressed. Try the following tips to be more positive and less stressed.

  • Living in the present, also known as mindfulness, can help us to appreciate our experiences rather than fear future events.

  • Helping others, whether friends or strangers, can help us feel better. Consider volunteering, making donations or even just smiling at others.

  • Practice optimistic thinking to be more effective in actions. Challenge negative thoughts and assumptions. Talk to yourself as you would talk to encourage a friend.

  • Forgiving others allows us to let go of negative memories and feelings rather than carry them long after the event is passed.

Remember that repetition promotes learning. Repeating these actions can teach you to see the world in a more positive way.