Three Steps to Counter Negativity Bias


“The latest scientific evidence tells us that positivity doesn’t simply reflect success and health, it can also produce success and health.”
~Barbara Fredrickson~

I’d like to introduce you to, or remind you of, the scientific phenomenon called Negativity Bias. We are all victims of ancient circuitry. As a primal protection mechanism, our nervous system is wired to be hyper-vigilant to perceived threats and danger. In other words, our brain is like Velcro to negative events and Teflon to positive ones.

According to acclaimed researcher Barbara Fredrickson, Ph.D., the author of “Positivity: Top-Notch Research Reveals the 3 to 1 Ratio That Will Change Your Life,” most people need at least three positive experiences to balance out a negative one. 

It’s why we tend to remember criticisms over compliments,
stormy days over sunny ones, and mistakes over triumphs. Since positive emotions are linked to better health and resiliency, greater creativity and productivity, and a deeper satisfaction with life, what can we do to counter this bias?


Here are three steps.

  1. Consider what Fredrickson identified as the ten forms of positivity: joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe and love.
  2. Explore how to nurture each of these forms. For example, when it comes to gratitude, write in a gratitude journal a few nights a week to remind you of what is going right and make a conscious effort to express sincere appreciation to others.
  3. Practice mindfulness to put circumstances in perspective. Acknowledge and celebrate small victories every day, like learning new technology, completing an assignment or enjoying fun family time. “The power of mindfulness,” Fredrickson advises, “is that it can literally sever the link between negative thoughts and negative emotions.”

.How can you nurture positivity?



1 thought on “Three Steps to Counter Negativity Bias

  1. sarah Reply

    I choose to be around positive people and choose to stay AWAY from negative people.

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