Have you ever had one of the those days where everything you did didn't line up and you just wanted to give a thumbs down to every thought, person, or experience you encountered?
Well before you go and beat yourself up for being down and out on the world take a moment to learn more about the way the human brain is programmed in what is commonly known as the 'negative bias'.
In the brain we have an almond shaped bundle of neurons called the amygdala, which is responsible for processing certain emotions. Two thirds of the neurons that comprise this structure are dedicated to scanning our environment for threats.
Whether it be unfamiliar sounds, a face of someone you don't know well, or new outer stimulus that hasn't been classified as safe, this center of the brain is apt to hit the fire alarm for the sake of our survival.
When we think about it in evolutionary terms it was important to recognize who was someone from your own tribe vs. a warring tribe, what threatening sound might represent a predatory animal, or what environmental stimuli could pose an unknown threat. Back in those days danger was around every corner.
Today, although we are not faced with immediate life threats on a daily basis stress and anxiety seem to have become top stimulators of the amygdala. In this way keeping a positive outlook on life can become more challenging.
But guess what? Clear research is now showing that any practice whether it be yoga, meditation, or a walk in nature infused with awareness reduces activity in this part of the brain and creates an experience of added calm and reduced stress*.
So when you see your thumb turning down at the events of you day take a deep breath, remember the brain's natural negative bias, and step into one little ritual to remind your body, brain, and heart that the days of the cavemen (and women) are OVER!