The brain isn’t designed to create happiness. It evolved to promote survival and this is why bio-chemicals that bring happiness like dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin are reserved to meet survival needs. Even when it is released, bio-chemicals are secreted in small doses that get metabolised very quickly. This is the reason we are constantly motivated to take steps to stimulate these happy chemicals.
However, this quest can lead to the release of depressants, especially close to the end of a stressful day. Science has uncovered numerous reasons why the brain instinctively moves towards the negative.The negative effect of cortisol is due to its association with the survival purpose of avoiding obstacles on the path to meeting your needs so you can navigate your way to good feelings. But once you do that, your brain finds the next obstacle. You will often feel bad if you follow your survival brain. Fortunately, there’s a simple way to revamp this natural negativity.
Our brain evolved to always be on the look-out for problems (or danger) and it is skilled at finding issues when it looks. For example, reporters predicted the downfall of civilized society when the bicycle was invented. They warned that people would flit from here to there instead of having long conversations and that we’d retire early from exhaustion instead of conversing in the evening. We have inherited the brain that helped our ancestors notice threats in time to act. We are skilled at finding threats, even as we seek rewards.Source
Negativity has a tendency to engulf you unless you build yourself a positivity circuit. To do that, spend one minute looking for positives, three times a day for forty five days. This trains your brain to look for positives the way it is already trained to look for negatives.
You may think there aren’t enough positives in the awful world around you. But you don’t have to perform at the Opera House and rescue people from burning buildings to create positivity. Any positives, no matter how small, will build the pathway that seeks and expects positives. It may seem false to seek out positives when negatives are so apparent.Source
It’s also hard to go positive when everyone around you is negative. Your mammal brain wants to run when the rest of the herd runs. In the state of nature, you’d end up in the jaws of a predator if you ignored your group-mates’ threat signals and waited to see the threat for yourself. Mammals bond around shared threats, and fighting the common enemy raises a mammal’s status within its group. If you ignore the perceived threats that animate your group mates, you will probably pay the price in social rewards. Positivity has a cost, but the benefit is greater.
You will stimulate your own happy chemicals instead of just hoping the world stimulates them for you.
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