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Is the sky really falling? Breaking negative thinking patterns

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Is the sky really falling? Breaking negative thinking patterns

There is an underlying feeling that things will get worse. However, humans have always felt that way, even though things are improving. Why do people believe the sky is falling? And how can we break negative thought patterns?

In a world that is constantly changing, it can be easy to feel negative and to see the situation as only getting worse. The problem is that feeling negative itself has some unfortunate effects. Psychotherapist and counsellor for Talking Matters, Marie Rowland, observes, “A negative psychological
Setting can cause a persistent sense of fear and insecurity. The chronic pessimist’s negativity invariably becomes a self-fulfilling
Prophecy when they lose opportunities and connections, alienating others .”

Dr Jodie Lowinger is a psychologist who wrote the best-selling book The Mind Strength Method. She says that “If you continue to get involved in your worry stories and chase them with more thoughts about what might go wrong, then this reinforces negative neural pathways, which causes your amygdala and anxiety to become even more sensitive over time. .”

Rowland says, “A negative mentality can cause withdrawals or unprovoked anger. Negative mentality is reflected in how someone treats themselves .”

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While negativity can be unproductive or even harmful at best, there are plenty of reasons to embrace it.

Pessimistic people

In February 2022 The Guardian Australia released the survey results. It revealed that a large percentage of the – to -year-olds surveyed said they were pessimistic about future prospects. A massive 65 per cent of the 18- to 24-year-olds surveyed said they were pessimistic about
Their chances of owning a home are slim. Only 9 percent were positive about the possibility of having children. In November 2020 The Conversation reported a survey of 1000 Australians aged 18 to 39 which found that 69 per cent of those surveyed felt they would be delaying major life goals as
a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Women were especially pessimistic, with 71 per cent saying it was unlikely they would retire before age 65, and only 47 per cent of both men and women felt that they would ever find a job that was about more than paying the bills. Although it is easy to feel negative about the future and present after a global pandemic, this persistent pessimism goes back before COVID.

In 2017 Deloitte reported on a survey of a more than 8000 millennials (people born after 1982) taken across 30 countries. The Australian results showed that even in 2016-17 just 8 per cent of millennials believed that they will be better off than their parents and a depressingly low 4 per cent believed they will be happier.

You can provide any financial or personal stats you wish to support why people feel this way. However, you might also offer statistics that suggest things will improve. The problem is that the human mind tends to believe things are worse than before. This can be seen in this useful case study.

Murder: a case study

According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report released on September 20, 2021 homicides and manslaughter jumped 29.4 per cent from 2019 to 2020, which represents the largest year-to-year increase since the US federal government began tracking violent crime statistics back in the 1960s. Amid everything else that is emerging from the pandemic, this fact grabbed headlines around the world. We tend to take statistical
As indicators that the world is deteriorating year after year and decade after decade, morsels such as the FBI’s regarding murder are provided by the FBI. Are they? We’ll take a look at the statistics on murder to see if we can find a better example.

Is it true, that urban poverty is causing more violence today than in past pastoral paradises? The statistics reported by the FBI boiled down to a murder rate of 6.5 per 100,000 people. Although the murder rate in Australia is higher than what we want, it’s still within our means. In 2018 the homicide rate for Australia was 0.9 cases per 100,000 of population. The London rate was also 1. 54 and New York had a rate of 3.4. New York had a rate of 3.4.

In the more immediate past New York’s figures were much higher than this (25.9 in 1993), but we are looking for a broader historical comparison, one that goes back centuries. In the university town of Oxford (UK) for instance, in the 1340s murder rates were around 110 per 100,000 whereas in 2018 the murder rate for Oxford was 0 (a year in which poor Inspector Morse was left twiddling his thumbs). In Amsterdam during the mid-15th century the murder rate was 47, but by the early 1800s was 1.5.

There are always spikes or dips in murder rates, but the fact is, despite the availability of weapons, overcrowding and an abundance of information about how to make it happen, the chances of getting murdered are lower than ever. In fact, murder rates in medieval England prior to 1500 were around 10 times that of 20th century England. Things got a lot better after 1500, and murder rates have just about halved every century ever since. What is the reason for this change?

Was this the rise in courtly manners? (One who is well-bred does not murder his florist! Or perhaps, the establishment of law and order. It was more likely that it was the improvement in communication which led to a decrease in murder rates. The massive increase in reading and writing that occurred from the 1500s onwards meant that the law enforcement agencies could send messages faster and with more certainty to enable catching of the guilty party. This meant that your average surly footpad would think twice about sticking
You can’t put a knife in your mouth, so literacy improvements led to fewer murders.

In a nutshell: despite the public lamentation about the decline of society, our ability to live and be safe is increasing. The FBI releases stories about an increase in murders. These are often read avidly. We are so open to bad news, and believe that things are worsening even though they don’t.

The answer is a triangular trident. It’s actually three-pronged.

The negativity trident: breaking negative thinking patterns

There are three psychological factors that influence how people view the future, past and present.

The reminiscence bump

The “reminiscence boost” is a tendency to remember more of your teenage years and early adult years. These are times when there was less pressure and fewer responsibilities, and you have a lot of pleasure. It is easy to believe that the past is better than the future.

The positivity effect

The “positivity effects” are tricks that the brain uses to make you feel positive about your life and to remind you of good experiences. It is a protective mechanism against depression, according to Dale Archer, a clinical psychiatrist.
You can add the positive effect to the reminiscence boost and get an overwhelmingly positive view of the past.

Negativity bias

Humans are inclined to focus on the negative in the moment. This has been called “negativity bias”. It is the ability to focus on negative events and react more quickly to them. On a physiological level, there’s more neural processing of negative stimuli in the brain. It makes evolutionary sense, because bad things tend to be more indicative of threat, and so right
Now that is what your brain will focus on. When a barbaric, toothless creature is trying to pierce your buttocks with its fangs, you don’t want it to make you stop and take a moment to appreciate the beauty of nature.

There is an underlying psychological bias that supports the prongs and ends of the psychological negativity trinket. It is known as “confirmation bias”.

Confirmation bias

Confirmation bias is a human tendency to form a view of the world and seek out evidence to back it. This is the tendency to dismiss any challenge to what you already believe. Social media’s cynical algorithm is an example of confirmation bias.

Wrap the positive effect, reminiscence, and negative bias in the human mind, then support it with confirmation bias. We all end up looking like Chicken Littles, proclaiming the danger is imminent, the world is more dangerous than ever, and everything is a mess. But, you know what? As our murder case study showed, this is not always the truth.

The shield

Protecting yourself from the negative trident can be difficult, but it is possible if you’re willing to put in the work. According to Dr Lowinger, the human brain is capable of rewiring itself. Your ability to recognize your emotions, thoughts and behaviors that drive you to fight or flight is the first step to overcoming a negative mentality and rewiring your brain to improve your resilience and mental well-being

Rowland also makes an important distinction, observing that a negative mentality is distinct from a stoical one. This mindset operates under the assumption of anticipating the worst and hoping for the best .”

Put these two thoughts together and you can build a shield from awareness and acceptance that even the negativity trident will not be able to pierce.

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