Why is it that we remember certain things more clearly than others? Some happy moments are recalled clearly yet it seems unhappy events stay with us no matter how hard we try to stop. We dwell on the negative emotions and lose sight of the present moment. This can create health problems, destroy relationships, and interfere with our careers. Why We Dwell On Negative Emotions because our brain is hardwired. Isn’t it time to learn how to update your mental circuitry?
In his book, “Bad Is Stronger” Roy f. Baumeister, a social psychology professor at Florida State University, frames the concept entirely. “Bad emotions, bad parents, and bad feedback have more impact than good ones. Bad impressions and bad stereotypes are quicker to form and more resistant to disconfirmation than good ones.” He goes on to include that animals also suffer from both spectrums of emotions as do humans.
We Dwell On Negative Emotions More Strongly
Our emotions are how we interact with life and research suggests that our emotions infuse our memories. Negative emotions tend to be felt more intensely than more happy thoughts.
These unpleasant thoughts are housed in our brains with vivid detail. We try to define them and have a clearer sense of events. In doing this, we form a story of the experience and this again makes us dwell on the negative.
The process infuses into each cell of our body becoming more than a mental circumstance it is now a physical one that can harm our health. Our mind becomes a thought machine or a hardwired brain focused on poor emotions.
Harvard’s School of Business, Teresa M. Amabile is the director of research at the school, research scrutinizes the influence a company’s environment can affect people and their performance. Dr. Amabile’s exploration started with creativity then expanded taking a harder view at emotions around the workplace.
She found that a single negative obstacle affected the worker twice as much as something good. Changing brain thinking, my term for rewiring your thoughts can change your life and happiness.
When you get criticized, judged, and receive negative input at work, it upsets your hours after leaving work. In a stressful career and home life, this can create a cycle and this is why we dwell on the negative input daily. It’s time to stop dwelling on negative emotions.
The Hardwired Brain – Changing Brain Thinking
We carry work with us and dwell on negative thoughts. Learning how to stop is important as studies show our brain is hardwired to retain these negative experiences more than positive ones. Changing brain thinking can rewire circuits inside the mind and body.
Each unpleasant thought has a replacement though that brings pleasure is a starting point. Looking at changing brain thinking, we first look at the physical signals that alert us to how our judgments mark our health.
- Worry leads to sleeplessness
- Anger causes ingestion
- Depression slows the bowels
- Sadness weakens the immune system
All emotions play a role in our lives. If someone dies, it’s healthy for the family to move through the stages of grief. On the other hand worrying about your college students getting to class on time is not healthy for you and promotes an unhealthy relationship.
Worrying temporarily can alert us to events we should pay closer attention to such as, “did I lock the door as I left?” Can be a reminder to slow down and give ourselves more time in the morning to complete home tasks before work.
Of course, all emotions can have an effect our sleep. New love can feel us with such wonder that sleeping seems irrelevant – until sleep demands it’s time. Anger also can keep us awake.
Resentment and irritation increase tension in the body and slows our ability to digest foods. This is why you should not take food or drink when upset.
Depression not actually an emotion is a state of being yet we say, “I feel depressed” or “I feel sad” when we express this behavior. Both men and women can have depression or sadness. They both tend to make us feel tired or exhausted. These feelings drain our energy and this affects your fluid movement in our bodies by slowing the lower digestive track down. Patients tend to sleep more and complain about weight gain.
How To Stop Dwelling On Negative Things – The Hardwired Brain
Since our brains are hardwired to focus on negative things, the tools to change where you put your attention are important. Developing different habits help. Taking more time in our day for ourselves is powerful.
This article offers a worksheet to guide you along your way to remapping your mind and how you think. The idea is to change your hardwired brain to positive thinking.
You can use this worksheet alone or add it to your journal. It will help you understand why you dwell on negative thoughts and assist you in how to stop.