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Teflon vs. Velcro

We’re Wired to Hold On to Negative Stuff


Rick Hanson is a leading neuroscientist and mindfulness teacher who wrote a couple great books: Buddha’s Brain and Hardwired for Happiness.

In Buddha’s Brain he tells us that our brains evolved to focus on the negative. He says that our brains are basically like Velcro for the negative and like Teflon for the positive.

Why? Well, the good stuff is nice (and science shows how important it is) but, back in the day the “bad” stuff could literally kill us.

That place where the sabertooth tiger nearly got us? Yah. Better remember that.

Now, evolutionarily speaking, it made sense to be wired to hold on to the negative. It’s our ancestors who paid attention to the stuff that could kill them that lived long enough to pass on their genes.

But these days it’s easy to get locked into a negative mode all day every day if we bombard ourselves with news and lame YouTube comments.


Today’s +1. Three parts.

Step 1. Notice how quickly you can get wrapped up in the negative. And how sticky it can be in your mind once you’re in it. (See it?)

Step 2. Eliminate one unnecessary source of negativity from your life. (What’s on the way out?)

Step 3. Incline your mind to joy (as Rick would say) by thinking of one awesome thing in your life. (What’s awesome?)

Let’s make today a wonderful, sabertooth tiger-free day! 😃