For whatever reason, it seems we are more hard-wired toward the negative. We remember negative events far longer than positive ones. In fact, it takes at least 12 seconds of holding on to a positive event for it to transition from short-term to long-term memory.
While 12 seconds doesn't seem like very long, think about positive moments. They're just that, moments. In a blink of an eye, we are on to something else.
Now think about the negative ones. They weigh on us. They cause us to analyze and fret. We overthink instead of simply letting them go like a wispy cloud gently floating by. They are more like the gray cloud that broods over our heads with cracks of thunder and lightning followed by a torrential downpour.
But it's no wonder we're like this.
Author Ray Williams wrote in his article Are We Hardwired to Be Positive or Negative? that there are more negative emotional words (62 percent) than positive words (32 percent) in the English dictionary.
However, we can make the switch to a more positive outlook by doing one simple thing: connecting with others. Dr. Greg Popcak wrote about this in his article Why So Down? Studies Show Humans are Wired to Emphasize the Negative, Unless... . Popcak expresses we were meant to commune with others, but he also warns that it's not just important to be around people but to be around people who will fulfill and care about us.
And I would agree. It's imperative to be around others who generally have a positive outlook, care about us, and listen. Those are the ones who help us through those negative experiences more quickly, and they are also going to let us know when we're focusing too much on what is out of our control.
My husband is generally a positive person, but traffic is something that definitely gets him into a negative spiral. He knows what other people do while they are driving is out of his control, but he can't help himself. While he grumbles, I listen patiently (most of the time). I gently let him know recently that he's been a lot more negative when it comes to traffic and he agreed.
And it's a two-way street. He lets me know when I'm being a negative nelly. When it comes from someone who has our best interest at heart and knows this behavior is not the norm, it's a lot easier to flip the switch.
Look at those people in your life who are generally more positive and lean on them during those cloudy days. Just their very presence will add a ray of sunshine and will more than likely chase those thunder clouds away from our lives.
I'm a lover of life, an eternal optimist, and I have an intense desire to add value through simple living and positive vibes.