Rewire your brain to think positively

When you walk into your kitchen, what do you notice first, the beautiful flowers on the counter or dirty dishes in the sink? If it's the dirty dishes, that would be quite common – noticing the negative before the positive. Rick Hanson, a neuropsychologist and best-selling author, reported that we're evolutionarily wired to notice bad over good. This clearly made sense 200,000 years ago for our ancestors who were trying to avoid threats and survive. Neuroplasticity refers to the brain's ability to reorganize itself and change its hardwiring structures over our lifetime. This can be both positive and negative for our mental health. If we're not aware that our brain has a natural bias to notice negativity first, and we don't know that we can train it to see more positively, we risk becoming more prone to focusing on negativity. This can impact our thinking, emotions and general mental health. As negativity becomes more intense, it can result in increased risk for mental illness such as depression.

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Article by Bill Howatt is the chief research and development officer of work force productivity with Morneau Shepell.