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The Negativity Bias

Did you know that as humans, we have a natural tendency towards putting more weight on negative experiences than positive or neutral ones?

In fact, I think remaining positive for even 10 minutes at times can be more exhausting than a carefree 12- hour shift. It's easy to remain upbeat and optimistic in the best of times. Yet, the best of times are not what make us capable of the fortitude to withstand setbacks.

It takes a lot of struggling to reach health and fitness goals. We encounter a lot of negative thoughts along the way to any accomplishment. How we handle them determines the ultimate outcome.

For instance, on a weight-loss journey, it could be quite natural to look at the scale and become defeated. (After all, the pounds don't ever shed as quickly as we feel is deserved). Try the positivity bias for a change. Think about what efforts you put in that you didn't the day before. Thank yourself for your efforts, and continue to visualize a positive future. Life is hard enough without this natural tendency to place weight on negative thoughts, experiences or feelings.

One of my running buddies reframed this bias for me. Whether we were running a half marathon or walking a half mile, she kept it positive. "At least we didn't sit on the couch today," she would say. Somehow this took my mind off of the fact that I was out of shape, and kept me going. This has stayed with me in every fitness hardship I've subsequently endured.

Don't let the stumbling blocks in life prevent you from setting and accomplishing any goal! Let's forget the negativity bias, and get back at it.

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