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Two Common Errors in Thinking

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Hi, and welcome to your Daily Mindfulness. Today, we're going to be talking about two common areas in thinking and how we can overcome them. Okay. So the two fundamental areas of thought that actually really warp the way we humans tend to see and experience the world are these. The first is that we tend to overestimate the bad in life.

And two, we tend to underestimate the good in life. So why do we have these two common errors in thinking? It's because of the brain's built in negativity bias. This is also known as positive-negative asymmetry. So this bias that the mind has towards the negative is totally normal, for all of us, because as human beings evolved, it was vitally important to pay attention to and react to negative experiences really quickly so that we could outwit predators and avoid danger. So, you come out of your cave when you're a caveman in the morning and see a rainbow on one side, a dark shadow of a predator on the other side, and your attention needs to go to that shadow really fast and ignore the rainbow.

Otherwise you might never see a rainbow again. Right? So our brains evolved to highlight those negative experiences, store them in memory so that we could remember how to avoid future potential threats. Now, the thing is that we don't live in a world anymore where there was a constant sense of threat and danger, like for our caveman ancestors in years gone by. But our brains still operate in the same way. And because of the negativity bias, a few things tend to happen.

We stew on our problems and what's wrong more than dwelling on what's right in our lives. We recall insults more than complements. Remember painful and negative experiences much more effectively than we do positive ones. And we tend to think about negative things much more frequently than positive things. And we also actually tend to react to and be impacted by negative events much more than positive ones.

So over the long-term, this bias towards the negative can develop in us a growing tendency to be pessimistic, stressed, and negative. So how do we correct this kind of error in perception? I'm going to share with you today three tips. The first one is to deliberately take time each day to focus on gratitude. Gratitude is a powerful antidote to the negativity bias. You might start by writing down three things that you're grateful for every day.

Do that before bed, or when you wake up in the morning. The second thing that's really easy to do is when you find your mind dwelling on the negative over and over, just try questioning the thoughts and challenging them and offering yourself a more balanced perspective. So this doesn't mean denying that there are unpleasant things. There are unpleasant things might be happening such as a criticism at work, but also offering yourself a reminder that their were compliments too. Right? So don't allow yourself to only focus on the negative.

The third thing to do is to just take in the good. So as you're going about your daily life, deliberately notice the simple pleasures around you. A lovely piece of music, a bird song in the garden, a cozy, comfortable chair, the feeling of sunlight on your skin. Allow yourself, when those good things arise, to pause and really soak them in, take in the good all around you. So these are three practices that will bring balance to your mind, give you greater clarity and more enjoyment and contentment in your life.

We're going to focus on this a little more in today's meditation. So let's settle in now for that. And as always, thank you for your practice.

Melli O'Brien

4.8

Two Common Errors in Thinking

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Duration

Your default time is based on your progress and is changed automatically as you practice.

Hi, and welcome to your Daily Mindfulness. Today, we're going to be talking about two common areas in thinking and how we can overcome them. Okay. So the two fundamental areas of thought that actually really warp the way we humans tend to see and experience the world are these. The first is that we tend to overestimate the bad in life.

And two, we tend to underestimate the good in life. So why do we have these two common errors in thinking? It's because of the brain's built in negativity bias. This is also known as positive-negative asymmetry. So this bias that the mind has towards the negative is totally normal, for all of us, because as human beings evolved, it was vitally important to pay attention to and react to negative experiences really quickly so that we could outwit predators and avoid danger. So, you come out of your cave when you're a caveman in the morning and see a rainbow on one side, a dark shadow of a predator on the other side, and your attention needs to go to that shadow really fast and ignore the rainbow.

Otherwise you might never see a rainbow again. Right? So our brains evolved to highlight those negative experiences, store them in memory so that we could remember how to avoid future potential threats. Now, the thing is that we don't live in a world anymore where there was a constant sense of threat and danger, like for our caveman ancestors in years gone by. But our brains still operate in the same way. And because of the negativity bias, a few things tend to happen.

We stew on our problems and what's wrong more than dwelling on what's right in our lives. We recall insults more than complements. Remember painful and negative experiences much more effectively than we do positive ones. And we tend to think about negative things much more frequently than positive things. And we also actually tend to react to and be impacted by negative events much more than positive ones.

So over the long-term, this bias towards the negative can develop in us a growing tendency to be pessimistic, stressed, and negative. So how do we correct this kind of error in perception? I'm going to share with you today three tips. The first one is to deliberately take time each day to focus on gratitude. Gratitude is a powerful antidote to the negativity bias. You might start by writing down three things that you're grateful for every day.

Do that before bed, or when you wake up in the morning. The second thing that's really easy to do is when you find your mind dwelling on the negative over and over, just try questioning the thoughts and challenging them and offering yourself a more balanced perspective. So this doesn't mean denying that there are unpleasant things. There are unpleasant things might be happening such as a criticism at work, but also offering yourself a reminder that their were compliments too. Right? So don't allow yourself to only focus on the negative.

The third thing to do is to just take in the good. So as you're going about your daily life, deliberately notice the simple pleasures around you. A lovely piece of music, a bird song in the garden, a cozy, comfortable chair, the feeling of sunlight on your skin. Allow yourself, when those good things arise, to pause and really soak them in, take in the good all around you. So these are three practices that will bring balance to your mind, give you greater clarity and more enjoyment and contentment in your life.

We're going to focus on this a little more in today's meditation. So let's settle in now for that. And as always, thank you for your practice.

Melli O'Brien

4.8

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