Have you ever wondered why many relationships end with time? Is there any reason why most people focus on other people’s imperfections all the time? Why do we stop looking at the good in our loved ones and start focusing on the negative aspects?
Well, the fact is that our brain swings between default and intentional mode of operation. As part of survival, the brain is programmed to core impulses of defensive, appetitive and reproductive pressures. These traits support the hedonistic adaptation, negative bias and mind wandering aspects that control our thinking process. Here is more information about it:
Negativity bias: This bias leads you to focus on the negative aspects including imperfections and perceived threats and then the input is magnified. The brain is programmed to put survival over happiness and research has shown that we tend to focus on the bad aspects as they are more potent. It has been seen that we focus more on bad than good when it comes to catching your attention. Introspect and see if you focus more on the good or the bad in your daily life? Do you notice when people do well or when they make a mistake?
Hedonic adaptation: Your ability to negate or discount the positive aspects makes your feel dissatisfied. It means that you lose the happiness or things that brought you happiness quickly yet retain the mistrust, frustration and feelings of anger or resentment longer. This is because our brain has been programmed to be dissatisfied. That is why you are always trying to improve the situation or just move ahead in life, but never get the time to enjoy the fruits of labor, but postpone joy for another day.
Mind wandering: This is a human tendency to wander in psychological time, thinking about the future or reminiscing about the past. Our thoughts are not always anchored to the present. It has been seen that most people have wandering thoughts 50% of the day. This predisposes them to depression, anxiety, and even dementia.
All of these were byproducts of evolution, to fight and survive in the past. However, with this state of a negatively programmed brain, it is a constant struggle to be kind, appreciate the good qualities of your loved ones or being grateful for all that you have. This instinctive state of mind leads to more dissatisfaction, despite the privileges and comfort. All of these three core factors prevents the brain from accessing compassion and gratitude, attention and leads to interpersonal relationship rifts.
The word happiness was only recently added to the Chinese vocabulary. In Taoism, happiness is to be liberated from personal desire. When there is no personal desire then there is no suffering. By changing our point of view we can literally change our minds.
How to re-program your brain.
You will need to develop self-awareness and focus on re-programming your brain to appreciate good things, think good thoughts and focus on positive. When you recognize the signs that the brain is focusing on dissatisfaction and negativity, intentionally start thinking of positive things. When you do it on cue, the brain starts cultivating sustained and deeper attention and focus as directed by your free will. You can train your brain to only start focusing on the better aspects of people, thinking positive thoughts and all of this can be reinforced by T’ai Chi or Yoga.