Why do we think of the bad even though everything is going well

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Who doesn’t know it: Everything is going well, and you should actually be happy, but still, you can’t be satisfied because thoughts of bad overshadow everything positive. So much good could still happen; we held on to the adverse events and let them massively influence our mood. But why is that actually the case? Why are we unable to relate to the present and always feel the need to refute everything?

Scientists claim that because humans were once at the bottom of the food chain, we now focus more on adverse events than positive ones. Accordingly, our brain is programmed to perceive dangers and risks more strongly than the positive. In addition, we get used to things that always happen in the same pattern or in a similar way; we take them for granted. Let’s just think about the ability to walk. As a rule, we no longer even notice it.

That is why negative things catch our eyes directly and disturb us, while positive experiences disappear into the nirvana of sensation. After all, we have primarily arranged our lives in such a way that countless good things happen every day but only a few bad ones. That’s why these are so strikingly anchored in our memory.

Since we no longer have to fight for survival with sabre-toothed tigers and since serious, dangerous situations hardly ever surprise us in everyday life, we sometimes turn this originally advantageous reflex against ourselves. We forgive ourselves for mistakes and discover countless flaws that seemingly overshadow everything. What is needed, then, is a change in thinking. The energy we waste on deliberately and consciously counteracting this could also be spent on being happy and successful. After all, we no longer need a pronounced focus on the negative, as we once did when we struggled to survive.

This deeply rooted characteristic can ultimately only be countered by awareness, mindfulness, and training.

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