Our Default Negativity

“Our brains are wired to pick up negative things in the environment. It’s thought to be very adaptive from an evolutionary standpoint.” Source

If true, no wonder we are so easily prone to default to a negative interpretation about so many things, and why (as the article also suggests) we can hear 10 nice things and then Number 11 comes along and is negative and that’s the one we fixate on.


Social media tends to bring out excessive negativity. You can post one thought about one topic, and it seems there’s always somebody who says, “But you didn’t ALSO talk about <Other Distantly Related Thing> at the same time! That must mean You Don’t Care About It.”

Or the other classic, “You must not know about Y since you only talked about X.”

Wouldn’t it be better to give someone, especially your friends, the benefit of the doubt? Never mind the fact that you were trying not to completely muddle the conversation you were trying to have, or trying to keep from derailing your point.

Like empathy, it takes an extra step or two of deliberate thinking to switch over to a different mindset than our norm.

Next time you see something you knee-jerk disagree with, see what happens when you try to look at it more positively. (And so will I.)


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