Conquer Negativity With Awareness and a Cup of Tea

Split flowers aesthetic

By: Cordelia Bloom

Before jumping right into the article, please enjoy this microfiction insert:

“What am I doing wrong? No matter how hard I try, I just can’t win,” Liv expressed frustratedly, during her therapy session. “The worst always happens! Doc, each time I finally believe I have a leg up, I crash down 20 times harder.” 

She cried, “It’s just—what am I doing wrong? Constantly dealing with back-to-back disappointments, almost feels like I’m being tested on a daily basis. Can I—will I ever catch a break? Or what’s the point?” She exhaled defeatedly, as she hid herself behind her hands. “I’m just so frustrated,” She sobbed.

Doctor Finn took off his glasses, shut his notebook, and leaned towards her. 

“Let me ask you something, Liv. Didn’t you tell me last week you were promoted at work? And the week before that, you talked about how amazing it had been since you spent it with family? You mentioned you got to rest, got some reading and running done. You were happy, excited, and incredibly refreshed.”

“What are you trying to say?” Liv exhaled.

“I’m saying, you’ve had a hard week. Your feelings are valid, but it’s safe to say that not everything is at a loss, nor that you never win. Tell me, haven’t you been feeling on top of the world for the last couple of weeks?”


“Hang on to that. Yes, there will be very hard and rough times, but you need to remind yourself that you have so many good things and people surrounding you. You’re passionate, which is why you feel all the more disappointed when it doesn’t work out. But Liv, you’re a champion. Every hardship has made you the strong, resilient young woman you are today.”

Liv pondered silently, and realized deep within as she felt relief, that he was right. She wiped her tears, sat up straight and smiled, “What would I do without you, Doc?”

Why Do We Focus on the Negatives?

Have you ever stopped to wonder why we remember (being a kid), the very moment someone called you ugly, or boring? Ouch! That one stung, didn’t it? Isn’t it also incredible how we tend to, unfortunately, focus on the negative of things? 

We’re actually drawn to negative bias, which can be described as the human tendency to focus on negative experiences, instead of positive or neutral ones. Doesn’t this sound similar to the therapy session mentioned above with our new friend Liv? Another example—pretend you decide to go to the movies to see a horror film. While you watched it, there was a person nearby who answered back-to-back phone calls. The nerve, right? The next day, you’re asked how the movie was; you’ll mention it was decent or not, but you’ll definitely talk about how upset you were at this other person who kept answering calls in the middle of the movie.

Our brain has a natural disposition to go haywire when an uncomfortable situation occurs. It remembers; it inevitably gives weight to a negative experience or moment, which makes them stand out more. When we combine bad emotions with bad memories or feedback, or even bad impressions, we’re utterly impacted.

Do Negative Thinking Patterns Exist?

Now that we understand we’re wired to focus on the negatives—how about we figure out how to pick-up within our own brains when it’s time to maybe shift a thought or two? 

BenevolentHealth, an organization solely focused on providing expertise in mental health, explains that in order to disrupt intrusive thoughts, we should [try to] identify which characteristic of negative thinking feels familiar. If the thoughts

  • effortlessly pop inside our head => Automatic
  • are just generally wrong => Distorted
  • affect how we feel or behave => Unhelpful 
  • come in as facts (not an option to question them) => Believable
  • are disturbing or violent, impossible to switch off => Intrusive

Our next step would be to catch, or recognize these notions! BenevolentHealth provides a friendly guide of a couple of scenarios that can help us identify what our negative patterns are (or might be).

The All or Nothing Thinking is when there’s only black and white to consider—there’s no gray area. Over-generalization is when a single negative event is taken as a sign that everything’s a negative—this one sounds like our friend, Liv, mentioned above.

Other common patterns that we should consider are self-put downs, self-blame, and mind reading—which focuses on negative assumptions of what others may be thinking. Other usual ones are jumping to conclusions, magnifying or exaggerating (another on the books for our friend, Liv), and fortune telling—which anticipates things will turn out horribly. The list can get pretty extensive, but this gives us a good idea on what to look for when we notice meddling thoughts invading our minds.

Being Aware Gives Us Power Over

Let’s chin up! There are plenty of ways to (try to) stop dwelling on negative thoughts. It just takes a bit of distraction and a healthy dose of willpower. We could, for example:

  • Throw them away physically (write them up & burn them!).
  • Keep positive company and savior those lovely, positive moments (stay present).
  • Comfort ourselves by literally warming up (by taking a hot shower or even a cup of tea).
  • Reframe the situation (shift the perspective; see it from another angle or lens).
  • Establish new patterns and remove “should” thoughts.

It’s important to keep in mind that by simply acknowledging a thought is enough. Ruminating on the negative can take a serious toll, so taking (small) steps against this bias can play a vital role in boosting our mental well-being.

  • Being aware of the negativity bias, means we can adopt a more positive outlook on life. 
  • Being aware of our own tendencies and patterns, allows us to consciously work against negativity and therefore, think (or be) happier and have a better quality of life. 

Were you able to pick up on any negative patterns of your own? Journal with The Love Story, and conquer negativity with awareness through powering through the thoughts and emotions. Slay the negativity bias

Begin Journaling Here

Disclaimer: It’s absolutely OK to ask for a mental health professional if we find ourselves stuck on a negative thought pattern. Forcing positive thoughts isn’t helpful at all, especially when dealing with anxiety, depression, or other mental health conditions.


Cherry, K., Johnson, M., & Swain, E. (2022, November 14). What is the negativity bias? VeryWellMind.

Elmer, J. & Legg, T. L. (2020, July 1). 5 ways to stop spiraling negative thoughts from taking control. Healthline.

MacMillan, A. (n.d.). 5 ways to stop dwelling on negative thoughts. Happify.

Marteka. (2019, July 15). 12 ways to recognise negative thoughts. Benevolent Health.

Smyth, B. R. (2022, December 30). Be more positive … Fight the human tendency to focus on the negative. SkillPath.

Leave a Reply

Write a comment