Life can throw at us trying times and the narrow mindset of negativity can drain even the most resilient. With the brain having evolved a negativity bias to protect us from threats and keep us safe, our negativity circuits are on overdrive detecting anything that could look like a threat.
As a result, negativity pervades our self-talk and judgements. I have wasted much time ‘replaying’ events like being cut off in traffic, ruminating over the injustice of queue jumpers or getting overwhelmed and stuck when feeling disappointed!
With the brain’s threat detector (the amygdala) on high alert, we get stressed, making it harder to reach for positive experiences so we tend to focus and express what we don’t want, rather than what we want to see happen.
Imagination is more important than knowledge – Albert Einstein
To counteract the strong negativity bias, we need to be consistently, consciously creating the images that we want to see. Lydia Ievleva Ph.D. author of ‘Imagine’ – Using mental imagery to reach your full potential suggests that practicing mental imagery is a powerful method of tapping into our best inner self and be more conscious of the images in our head, and making them work better for us rather than against us. The key is to be more mindful of the images and create more of what we prefer so as to more consistently manifest our preferred reality.
Therefore, in taking control of your images, consciously imagine what you want to see happen and how you want to feel. Practice seeing yourself behaving the way you are when at your best and things are going well for you. Consistent, conscious practice over time works to change the brain and counteract its negativity default setting.
Consciously cultivating a relaxed mental space and practicing mental imagery trigger moments of creative insight and generate a more positive state of mind. In this mindset, we are more able to create, innovate and change.
Being human means being challenged with old habits that are hard to break. The brain has evolved to stick like glue for the negative stuff and with this mindset at best we are playing not to lose. The good news is that negativity need not loom large and you can dial your capacity to engage your positivity by consistently practicing mental imagery which enables you to be more in control and clear over the images you prefer. With this mindset you can take more intentional actions towards what you want.
If you are curious to learn more about cultivating and capitalising your inner resources and build resilience in challenging times then get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org