Are you a worrier? Do you constantly review your circumstances looking for ways that things can go wrong or end badly?
Are you worried about your finances even though you have a good job and some decent savings?
Do you worry about your kids…your pets…your health? Are you worried when things are falling apart and you’re worried when things are going quite well?
Is it a never ending parade of worse-case scenarios and imagined tragic outcomes?
You could be so much more at peace with your life if these worry thoughts didn’t drag you down so much. But you don’t know how to stop worrying.
If only you knew how to turn off these negative, fear-based thoughts!
According to research, the average person has 60,000 thoughts a day. 60,000!!
And 95% of those thoughts are the same thoughts you had the day before, and the day before that. On top of that, about 80% of those daily thoughts are negative. That’s 48,000 negative thoughts per day!
Those are some disheartening statistics. With all the negative thoughts running through our heads, it can be really hard to get any peace of mind or feel sustained happiness.
Our minds are like old-fashioned record players that are stuck in the same groove, playing the same bad song over and over again.
I’m too old, too tired, too fat, too lazy… My boss hates me, my spouse doesn’t like me, my kids are screwed up…
Our minds become addicted to these bad songs, which isn’t good news for our happiness.
There’s a reason for this, and it’s called…
That constant drone of whining and complaining and pessimism in your head? Psychologists call it the negativity bias.
Simply put, our cavemen ancestors had to remember the negative as a matter of life or death. They had to remember that last week, a predator was stalking an antelope in that grassy area, so they should take a different route today.
In prehistoric times, our very survival depended on our skill at dodging danger, so our brains developed to more easily notice the risky or dangerous, so we could respond to it.
As a result, we’ve been wired to pay attention more to the negative than we do to the positive.
One of my colleagues, Rick Hanson, calls it the Velcro/Teflon Syndrome. He says the brain is like velcro for the negative experiences, but Teflon for the positive ones. In other words, the negative tends to stick…but the positives just slide off.
I know you’ve experienced this: say you hear 10 nice things in a day and one not-so-nice thing, maybe in the form of a sarcastic comment from a friend. What do you tend to remember? The sarcasm. Right?!
Imagine…at the end of the day, you’ve had 60,000 thoughts with 80 percent of them being negative because your mind is programmed to focus on those negative ones. How do you think you’re going to feel? Probably exhausted.
It’s been shown that negative thoughts flush your body with chemicals that weaken you.
It’s not that you were so busy doing things. It’s the energy that’s being drained from your system by your thoughts.
And the bummer is that unless you can take charge of your thought patterns and change them to ones that are more positive and empowering, you may find yourself at the mercy of all that negativity bias the rest of your life.
And that means it’s going to be really difficult for you to feel any sense of lasting happiness, contentment, and inner peace for long.
(That’s why, you may have experienced, moments of joy and happiness don’t last long before you’re right back to worrying!)
I just got through telling you about the negativity bias and that your mind is programmed to focus on worry. So, you may be thinking right now that you’re doomed to stay stuck in this cycle of worry the rest of your life.
Actually, you’re not. I have good news. There’s hope for increasing your happiness because you can change your thoughts due to something called neural plasticity.
What this means is that your brain has the innate ability to adapt and change itself by creating new, desirable neural pathways and overwriting the other (less desirable) pathways throughout your life. Phew!
Unlike an old dog, your brain can really learn new tricks!
That means that you can change your thoughts and be happier at any time. You just have to know how to do it in a way that sticks.
In order to get relief from the stress of worry, you have to work on changing your habitual patterns of thought. While it’s a simple process, it isn’t necessarily intuitive. But it’s absolutely worth learning and doing!
When you change your thinking to support more positive thoughts and let go of the negative ones, the negative neural pathways shrink and the positive neural pathways widen, making it easier and more automatic for you to think more positively.
Worry melts. Happiness and contentment seep in.
This is just a small part of what you’ll learn in my video program, 30 Days to a Happier Life.
On Day 2 of the program, I demonstrate the habits and strategies that will help you reverse the toxicity of all those negative thoughts you’re having.
I explain what you can do to hold on to the more empowering and optimistic thoughts, so you can start to feel freer, lighter, and happier on a daily basis.
You’ll learn a technique called savoring, which literally takes less than 20 seconds to do and will quickly rewire your brain to be more biased toward positive experiences. It’s so fun to do and so effective in raising your level of happiness.
You’ll also learn a quick little game which will affect your reticular activating system and help you focus on being happier and light-hearted.
The exercises and practices I demonstrate in the program are based on neuroscience, as well as on research done in positive psychology. Science has “cracked the code” on happiness and in my video program, I distill the best and most beneficial tips and habits for you, so in 30 days or less you can expect to feel happier, luckier, and more resilient.
You’ll get all of this risk-free in my 30-day video and workbook program here:Start Watching Day 1
Now, if you leave this article and find yourself complaining or focusing on the negative, just remember, we all do it.
The trick is not to beat yourself up over something that was meant to save you (back in caveman days).
The trick is to take advantage of what science has discovered and use it to empower yourself to be happier, every day.
With love and happiness,
P.S. Did you know that people complain about once a minute in a typical conversation? Wow!
In my 30 Days to a Happier Life program, you’ll learn a strategy to make you more mindful of when you complain and can reduce or eliminate complaining and whining in as little as a few days, for you and everyone in your family! Check it out here on day 9 of the program:Reduce Whining, Increase Happiness