Why Do We Remember Negative Events More

Sometimes we wonder why we tend to remember only bad things that have happened in the past and not something good that has happened.

If you reflect, you will realize that often we do have many present memories. Of course, some of them are unpleasant ones too but they are much fewer ones in number. Yet we somehow tend to zero in on the unpleasant memories more than the present ones. Why is it so?

There are two basic reasons for that-

1.            The first one is essentially the fact that we are genetically engineered that way. It is just our survival instinct doing what it is supposed to do. We tend to incorporate all the events that cause us harm or trouble us in any manner to stay in our memory so that we can benefit and keep away from similar events at a later date. Not only that, we also tend to pass down this information from generation to generation by the effect it has on our genetic imprints.

There is an evolutionary basis at work. Those amongst us are more affected by bad things are more likely to survive threats and, would increase the probability of passing the survival instinct along their genes. Remember – “Survival requires immediate attention to the possible negative outcomes but is less so in regard to good ones.”

2.            The second reason, of course, is that in physical terms our brain is made this way. Our brain is tuned to handle positive and negative memories in a different manner.

It is engineered to accept good ad happy or positive events in a fleeting manner whereas the negative ones are analyzed subconsciously for a longer period. Hence they leave n imprint and stay with us simply because it was not accepted smoothly and involved more thinking thus creating a lasting impression that surfaces at the smallest hint of similar insecurity.

Don’t you recall that the first time you were hurt in your childhood or were being beaten up by the class bully or being injured slipping down from a bus or being hoodwinked into parting with money. However measly it might have been!

The first break up, the first argument, the first failure remains in our mind despite so many successes before and after.

This is the logic behind it all. Once we understand this, getting out of negative thoughts becomes as easy as snapping your fingers. Negative thoughts are just – thoughts. Like positive thoughts (which remain in the background)

So how should we overcome negative thoughts when they occur?  We should simply overlook the effect on our emotions and benefit from it by staying away from similar issues in the future. That is about all the purpose negative thoughts serve. Remember – they are thoughts o events that a well over, and nothing more than that.

Many good events overcome the psychological negative effects of a bad one. Instead of getting burdened down with negative thoughts, try to overcome using this knowledge.

One way is by engaging ourselves in more acts of kindness to achieve a balance in our world.

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