Did you know that your brain is actually wired to think negatively? Yes, this really is the case! And remarkably it does so for your own self-preservation!
The upshot of this is that we have become extremely adept at threat detection. Constantly seeking affirmation from our family and peers, we scan our environment to make sure that we are safe and we are loved.
When it’s not possible to receive vocal feedback we observe other people’s body language, seeking validation. That is one of the reasons people find presentations so daunting as the audience tends to sit there, quiet and expressionless while we are trying to figure out if they approve of what we are saying. The more we try, the more our stomach churns and we feel anxious.
Why is this the case?
You must have heard people say: “I am in two minds”. Yes, we have two minds. One is conscious, logical and generally very positive. It knows what is best for us. The other – our subconscious mind, stores everything we have learnt from the very beginning of our existence. No information is lost. So, if there is anything in our environment that is perceived as a possible danger, it will instantly warn us.
As much as this is important to prompt us to run as fast as we can if we encounter a wild cat in the jungle, it can be detrimental as it may trigger anxiety when it is the least needed (i.e. at our workplace).
The latter is most likely to happen when we are stressed, when we don’t sleep well or we tend to think negatively most of the time. Negative thinking can create so much anxiety that we may be blinded to the fact that we are actually doing very well. To help to achieve a balance it is useful to focus on the ‘3 Ps’
Positive Thinking – to keep away the anxieties
Positive Action – to increase the level of happy hormones
Positive Interaction – to connect us with other people
The subconscious mind is like an old friend, reminding us sometimes over and over again of all that we have been through. But what has happened – has happened, we cannot change the past. We can change our todays and our tomorrows.