Escape the Negativity Spiral: How to Rewire Your Brain for a Happier Outlook

Rewiring Your Brain for a Brighter Outlook | Wellspring Counselling

Building Happiness Habits: How to Rewire Your Brain

Does it ever feel like your brain is hardwired for negativity when, for example, a bad day can trigger a downward spiral of worry, self-blame, and a gloomy view of the future? The mind and brain tends to be like velcro for noticing the negative things, and Teflon for the positive.  Let’s delve into the science behind negativity loops, and explore some ways of countering the negativity bias and building a more optimistic mindset so that you can jump start your therapy journey in counselling and psychotherapy at Wellspring. 

If you would like personalized and professional counselling to assist you, we have a team of caring, skilled, and registered therapists at Wellspring who offer general counselling in Metro Vancouver, EMDR therapy in Vancouver and online counselling throughout BC. Without further adieu, let us explore the negativity cycle to better understand the problem. After, you will learn some tools to deal with this. 

The Self-Feeding Beast: How Negativity Breeds More Negativity

  • Confirmation Bias: When already feeling negative, you’re more likely to notice things that confirm that feeling, while ignoring the positive.
  • Mood-Congruent Memory: Your current mood influences which memories you recall most easily. Down mood = recalling past failures, fueling the negativity.
  • The Energy Drain: Negativity is exhausting! This leaves you with less mental energy to challenge the thoughts or take positive action, perpetuating the cycle.

The Vicious Cycle's Impact

This isn’t just about feeling bad; constant negativity significantly harms your well-being:

  • Weakened Problem-Solving: When overwhelmed by negativity, it’s hard to think clearly and find solutions, making problems feel even worse.
  • Damaged Relationships: Negativity can manifest as irritability, withdrawal, or blaming others. This pushes loved ones away when you need them most.
  • Missed Opportunities: If you always expect the worst, you’re less likely to take healthy risks that could lead to positive change.

Breaking Free: Unique Strategies to Disrupt the Spiral

Here are some helpful techniques for how to counter the negativity bias and worry spiral:

  • The “Opposite Action” Experiment: When negativity washes over you, do something that generates the OPPOSITE emotion (if anxious, seek something joyful, if down, something energizing). This disrupts the expected mood feedback loop.
  • Embrace Imperfection: Perfectionism fuels negativity. Pick a task you dread, and do it in a deliberately mediocre way. This builds tolerance for ‘good enough’ work.
  • Schedule Worry Time: Sounds counterintuitive, but tell yourself “I can worry about X from 3-3:30 pm.” The rest of the day, redirect your mind when it strays. This helps contain the negativity.
  • Physical Interventions: Negativity is embodied. Go for a brisk walk, blast upbeat music and dance, or do some intense stretches – shaking up your body can shake up your mood.

Personalized Support: When Self-Help Isn't Enough

If negativity feels overwhelming or is deeply tied to past experiences, the Wellspring Counselling team can help. Therapists in Vancouver or online counselling in BC can help you:

  • Uncover Hidden Triggers: What sets off your negativity spiral? Identifying patterns is key to disrupting them.
  • Develop “Circuit Breaker” Skills: These are personalized go-to techniques to stop negativity in its tracks when it hits.
  • Heal the Root: Often, negativity masks deeper hurt, fear, or unmet needs. Therapy helps address those underlying causes.

Choose Positivity: It's a Skill to Train

Building a positive mindset isn’t about denying challenges, it’s about changing how you respond to them. Consistent practice with these techniques, and compassionate support from Wellspring Counselling for integrative psychotherapy in EMDR therapy in Vancouver or online counselling anywhere in BC and across Metro Vancouver, can help you escape the negativity spiral, and discover greater resilience, joy, and potential for well-being in life.

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Wellspring Counselling

Wellspring Counselling

Wellspring Counselling is a team of certified counsellors and psychotherapists based in Greater Vancouver, BC.

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