Gratitude & the Negativity Bias

The past few weeks in Peace Class we have been digging deeper into gratitude. We have also been learning about the brain’s Negativity Bias – the tendency of our brains to focus on and remember bad things and to let good things slide out. Our brains have evolved to do this in order to keep us safe.  If we touch a cactus and hurt ourselves once our brains will remember that and we won’t do it again. That’s great! Unfortunately our brains can’t tell the difference between something that is truly dangerous and something that is simply unpleasant – like being embarrassed. We can help override this Negativity Bias by making a point of noticing all of the big and little good things in our day-to-day lives.

To practice this, we got out cups and marbles and worked with our Kindness Pals.  We labeled one cup “good” and one cup “bad” and we told our Kindness Pal everything we could remember about the day so far. As one person talked,  the other put marbles in the good side or the bad side.  When we were done most of the kids were completely surprised by all of the good things that happened that they had barely noticed: things like waking up in a warm bed, having breakfast, having someone to bring you to school. getting to play with friends before school, reading a great book in library, having Peace Class, learning a new song in Music Class and so on.  This practice can become a habit that can make us much happier and healthier in the long run.  It’s so important not to let our Negativity Bias be in charge and to really stop and notice all of the little good things that make up our lives.  Try it with your kids and see which one of your marble cups is more full!

-Linda & the Peace of Mind team