Glass half-empty to glass half-full

How to turn any pessimist into more of an optomist.

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The human brain is wired to look for what’s wrong in our environment.

This is an evolutionary throwback designed to help us avoid disaster by being ‘too optimistic’ and ‘trusting’ in any given situation.

The reality is that modern life is no longer full of daily life threatening occurrences like sabre tooth tigers jumping out from behind rocks. As a result, the pessimistic part of our brain continues to fire and often in inappropriate circumstances.

We find ourselves worry about the little things that waste our energy and affect our mood.

Sound familiar?

The good news is it’s completely possible to train our brains to focus more on the positive.

Dr. Elaine Fox is a is a psychologist and neuroscientist at the University of Oxford and author of the bestselling book Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain. The BBC presenter and documentarian Michael Mosley became a patient of hers in a fantastic BBC Horizon programme based on exercises in her book, showing how it’s possible to ‘rewire’ your brain from its natural pessimistic state to a more optimistic one.

When the chips are down and you’re facing one of life’s challenges, it’s easy to resort to negativity, blame and conflict. In fact, there are going to be many times when you think negatively — it’s part of being human.

The important thing is not to stay there.

Something you can do to train your brain to think more positively is ask yourself these four questions that help to defeat negative thoughts from a book called Loving What Is by Byron Katie, who also explains it in a video.

If you’re having trouble focusing on the good rather than freaking out about the possible threats, take comfort in the fact that you can take steps to rewire your brain.

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