Psychologist explains how to shift your thoughts from ‘bad’ to ‘good’.
A leading psychologist has delved into the way our brains are hardwired to lean towards ‘negative’ thoughts. (watch below)
Alison Ledgerwood has conducted her own experiments on positive versus negative thinking. Perhaps unsurprisingly, she discovered that humans are more likely to focus on the negative – so how can we change this?
Ledgerwood conducted an experiment in which she explained a medical procedure to two different groups. One group focused on the gains of the experiment (70% success rate) while the other group were told about the possible complications (30% failure rate).
Even after being told that the likely outcome of the operation was success, the failure group were still against the operation. This, Legerwood found is because humans are far more likely to focus on the negative of a situation.
This can be explained by the fact that as humans, we are constantly trying to predict the outcome of our decisions. And to protect ourselves we are likely to hone in on possible problems.
However this way of thinking can be seriously damaging to our mental health. If we constantly focus on the negatives we end up not being able to appreciate the positives in life, which can lead to stress and depression.
Because of the results of her experiment, Ledgerwood concluded that it is much harder for a person to be able to shift their perspective from bad to good. But it is not impossible.
“We literally have to work harder to see the upside of things. It takes effort but you can train your mind to do this better.”
In her TED talk Alison goes through the different ways in which simple changes can lead to a total shift in the way we perceive situations. You can change from a ‘glass half empty’ to a ‘glass half full’ person with a little perseverance.
One of the ways we can change the way we think is to write down a small list each day of things we feel grateful for. It can be really easy to forget just how lucky we are, but writing it down and reading it back can bring it to the forefront of your mind.
Another suggestion is to revel in any good news you hear during the day, and share is with everyone you come into contact with.