How To Rewire Your Brain for Positivity and Happiness

The following post is a guestpost by Walter Chen, founder of a unique new project management tool IDoneThis. More about Walter at the bottom of the post. 

Ever go through a phase where you feel like every day is a Monday? You wake up, you hit snooze. Then you hit snooze again and you just don’t feel it?

Yes, I know that negative emotions can eat away at my productivity, creativity, decision-making skills. And yet, I have to admit that sometimes it’s really difficult to reverse the course of a slump.

The unfortunate superpower of the negative is that it has a stronger impact than the positive.

In fact negative impact of setbacks in your work is three times as powerful in affecting motivation than positive progress. It’s just easier to remember the bad stuff that has happened to you during the day than the good.

So why is it, that our brains have a such a negativity bias? The reason is quite simple: They’re actually wired to pay more attention to negative experiences. It’s a self-protective characteristic. We are  scanning for threats from when we used to be hunter and gatherers. But such vigilance for negative information can cause a narrowing, downward spiral and a negative feedback loop that doesn’t reflect reality.

Fortunately, we aren’t doomed by our natural disposition towards negativity.  What’s amazing is that we have the ability to break out of that negative feedback loop and we can actually rewire our brains to think positively. Understanding how the brain can refashion its own connections is the key to unlocking the durable power of positive thinking.

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The Science Behind What Motivates Us to Get Up for Work Every Day

The following post is a guestpost by Walter Chen, founder of a unique new project management tool IDoneThis. More about Walter at the bottom of the post. 

So, here is the thing right at the start: I’ve always been uncomfortable with the traditional ideal of the professional — cool, collected, and capable, checking off tasks left and right, all numbers and results and making it happen, please, with not a hair out of place. An effective employee, no fuss, no muss, a manager’s dream. You might as well be describing an ideal vacuum cleaner.

I admit that I’ve never been able to work that way.  There is one thing that always came first and most importantly for me: How am I feeling today? I found that it can easily happen to think of emotions as something that gets in the way of work. When I grew, I often heard that they obstruct reasoning and rationality, but I feel that we as humans can’t shut off our humanness when we come to work.

Feelings provide important feedback during our workday. It doesn’t make sense to pretend that it’s best or even possible to keep our emotions and work separate, treating our capacity for emotion and thought as weakness. I wanted to look into whether there was anything besides a gut feeling to my suspicions behind keeping the head and the heart separate in business.

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