Be Nice: How to Negotiate with the Idiot Brain
It’s very easy to get swept up in the frustrating negativity of life. Keeping a positive perspective on what’s in front of us can make a big difference. And the trick to remaining positive is to not give into rejection.
Over the years, dozens of studies have found that negativity has a direct effect on how the brain works and reacts. Research shows when one person enjoys something, the brain responds by boosting levels of pleasure-mimicking chemicals in the brain. However, when one person experiences negative emotions while another experiences positive emotions, the brain doesn’t respond this way. The brain considers it a zero-sum game; the first person is out.
Real Solutions Come From Honest Discourse
It’s easy to feel like our situation doesn’t matter. Why should it matter to anyone else? Just stay on the positive track and it will change. It’s easy to make the mistake of thinking we’re causing the problems. I’ve come across a common refrain in my interactions with teens who are growing up right now; “I don’t want to be compared to anyone else. That makes it so I’m always going to be last,” “I’m going to beat people up in school; that keeps people from teasing me,” and many others.
Until you accept the fact that we all have the potential to be critics and find ways to support each other, you won’t feel inspired enough to become the change you want to see in the world.
Accept, Reframe, and Engage
So what exactly does this mean? You can accept the reality of your situation and look for ways to cheer yourself up. Reframe the situation with some positive self-talk. Reflect on things that make you feel really happy. Write thank-you notes or send flowers to people. Engage others by suggesting you’d like to help where you can. If you’re part of a school group, express to someone that you’d like to perform an oral presentation. Do something you feel excited about that you haven’t done before.
Developing A Change Psyche
It takes a change of attitude to be fully engaged in change. Instead of letting the negativity in, brainstorm things that make you happy and let that be your focus. Break it down into smaller pieces. It may take weeks or months before you feel like yourself again. Eventually, you’ll be able to put the rifts from the past behind you.
Here are some ways to reframe negative experiences to create positive ones:
Find Compassion for Yourself
Do you recognize yourself in situations you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy? Reframe what you’re experiencing so that you’re aware that you’re in this moment not because someone else has chosen to treat you poorly.
Try To Be Positive For No Other Reason But Because It’s The Right Thing To Do
Understand that you have power over your own emotional reactions and behaviors. Seek out ways to be grateful for yourself and those around you. When you’re facing more negativity, remind yourself of all the opportunities you have to be positive.
Practice Self-Compassion & Practice Focused Focus
When we feel defeated, think of others who are hurting more than you are. Practice focusing on the positive. You will find that when you’re self-compassionate, a whole new outlook will come over you. It will transform your days, nights, and weeks.
These might seem like small changes to make, but change can be far more than merely changing one thing in your life. A difference of a few minutes each day will have a dramatic effect on how you feel about yourself and the world.
A reminder: Every day, start by reframing the way you see yourself. Do so, and the world around you will transform for the better.