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7 Reasons Why We Go Negative
Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD
Inner Mammal Institute
And How To Go Positive Instead
Our brain sees the world
through a negative lens
it zooms
in on bad
and
skims
past good
Negativity is natural,
but you can build a corrective lens that
lets in the positive
The Science of Positivity
Stop Negative Thought Patterns
By Changing Your Brain Chemistry
InnerMammalInstitute.org
The dog poop paradox
an oops makes people mad but the enormous
progress never made people happy
Why does your brain
go there?
1. Your brain is designed to learn from pain
Pain is a surge of
cortisol,
the “stress
chemical.”
Cortisol connects all the
neurons active at that moment
That wires you to
turn it on faster
in the future.
Your ancestors
...
2. Mammals evolved social pain
The mammal brain
rewards you with
oxytocin when you
find safety in social
support.
It alarms...
The mammal brain constantly
weighs the anticipated pain of
social isolation against the
anticipated pain of lost opportuni...
3. Cortisol feels awful because that works
The bad feeling commands your attention
until you do what it takes to make it s...
If you relieved cortisol by climbing
a tree, the good feeling of relief
wires you to scan for trees
If you make it stop by...
4. Your brain is constantly filtering information 

because the world floods our senses

with more detail than we could proc...
The electricity in your brain
flows like water in a storm,
finding the paths of least resistance
5. Disappointment triggers cortisol
The mammal brain
rewards you with the
good feeling of dopamine
when you expect a
reward, but it alerts you
with cortisol w...
6. Social comparison
The mammal brain rewards you with
the good feeling of serotonin when you
see yourself in the position of strength
It alert...
7. Your brain builds its
superhighways in youth
- We humans are more
helpless & vulnerable at
birth than other creatures
- Crying is a big cortisol
surge; it’s one of our...
A young brain is full of myelin, which
coats neurons so they conduct
electricity at super speeds
Each brain sees the world through
the lens of its myelinated neurons
our myelin years
are
before
age 8 and
during puberty
Our brain is not designed for happiness.
It evolved to motivate survival
behaviors.
Negative experience builds big
pathways, which is why your
electricity tends to go there.
You can build a positive pathway
to give your electricity
a new place to flow
Spend 1 minute searching for good
3 times a day
for 45 days
You will build a new lens
that lets in the positive
You may think
“if all that
good
were there,
I would have
done this
already”
That’s your natural negativity
Fortunately, you don’t have to
rescue orphans from burning buildings and
perform in Carnegie Hall to create positivity
You can build a new pathway in your
brain just by noticing the absence of
dog poop on the path in front of you
New pathways build from
repetition, emotion & youth
Youth is fleeting.
Emotion leads to pizza.
Repetition
is your
friend
Carving a new trail through your jungle
of neurons takes tremendous effort
And after all that effort,
your new trail soon disappears into the undergrowth.
This is why old paths are so tempting.
But if you slash through the new trail
every day,
a new pathway will build
It’s hard to go positive when
everyone around you is going
negative
Going negative brings
social rewards
You may
think you’ll
be weak or
isolated if
you go
positive
But once
you build
your new
positive lens,
you’ll be
glad you did!
You can PARE
your negativity
with
Personal
Agency &
Realistic
Expectations
Personal Agency



is taking pleasure in
choosing your next step
Results are unpredictable,

but you always get to choose your next step
Realistic
Expectations
awareness that
a cortisol surge
is not a real
survival threat
You will end up with cortisol because our
efforts often fall short of our expectations
You can find the good without depend...
People like to find external positives
because it’s easier that finding
internal ones
So here are some external positives
on my website
https://innermammalinstitute.org/positivity
Each of us

sees the world
through the lens
we built without
effort or intent
from our unique
individual past
experience
You can build a new filter to let in
the good that your old filter ignores
Free resources from the Inner Mammal Institute
Learn more about
your happy chemicals
podcasts
videos
infographics
training...
Books by L. Breuning, PhD
The Science of Positivity

Stop Negative Thought Patterns
By Changing Your Brain Chemistry
Habit...
Loretta@InnerMammalInstitute.org
contact me
one more thing
Don’t compare
yourself to others
Don’t compare
yourself to others
Don’t compare
yourself to others
Don’t compare
yourself to others
Don’t compare
yourself to others
Don’t compare
yourself to others
Don’t compare
yourself to others
7 Reasons Why We Go Negative, and How To Go Positive Instead
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7 Reasons Why We Go Negative, and How To Go Positive Instead

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Negativity is natural because our brain zooms in on problems. We feel good when we solve them, but our brain immediately shifts to the next problem. You miss out on positivity when you see the world through this lens. Fortunately, you can build a corrective lens that lets in the good that your negative lens has screened out. You can reduce the stress / anxiety of cortisol and stimulate your dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin in new ways.

7 Reasons Why We Go Negative, and How To Go Positive Instead

  1. 1. 7 Reasons Why We Go Negative Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD Inner Mammal Institute And How To Go Positive Instead
  2. 2. Our brain sees the world through a negative lens it zooms in on bad and skims past good
  3. 3. Negativity is natural, but you can build a corrective lens that lets in the positive
  4. 4. The Science of Positivity Stop Negative Thought Patterns By Changing Your Brain Chemistry InnerMammalInstitute.org
  5. 5. The dog poop paradox an oops makes people mad but the enormous progress never made people happy
  6. 6. Why does your brain go there?
  7. 7. 1. Your brain is designed to learn from pain Pain is a surge of cortisol, the “stress chemical.”
  8. 8. Cortisol connects all the neurons active at that moment That wires you to turn it on faster in the future. Your ancestors survived because they anticipated pain and acted to avoid it.
  9. 9. 2. Mammals evolved social pain The mammal brain rewards you with oxytocin when you find safety in social support. It alarms you with cortisol when you wander away from that social support.
  10. 10. The mammal brain constantly weighs the anticipated pain of social isolation against the anticipated pain of lost opportunity
  11. 11. 3. Cortisol feels awful because that works The bad feeling commands your attention until you do what it takes to make it stop
  12. 12. If you relieved cortisol by climbing a tree, the good feeling of relief wires you to scan for trees If you make it stop by eating pizza, that wires
 you to scan for pizza. Distraction doesn’t protect you from predators but it relieves the anticipation of pain temporarily. Then you seek another distraction.
  13. 13. 4. Your brain is constantly filtering information 
 because the world floods our senses
 with more detail than we could process Your filter is not conscious: it’s the neural pathways built from past rewards and pain
  14. 14. The electricity in your brain flows like water in a storm, finding the paths of least resistance
  15. 15. 5. Disappointment triggers cortisol
  16. 16. The mammal brain rewards you with the good feeling of dopamine when you expect a reward, but it alerts you with cortisol when the reward doesn’t come
  17. 17. 6. Social comparison
  18. 18. The mammal brain rewards you with the good feeling of serotonin when you see yourself in the position of strength It alerts you with cortisol when it sees you in the weaker position
  19. 19. 7. Your brain builds its superhighways in youth
  20. 20. - We humans are more helpless & vulnerable at birth than other creatures - Crying is a big cortisol surge; it’s one of our only pre-wired behaviors - So the foundational circuit in your brain is a sense of urgent needs you are powerless to meet
  21. 21. A young brain is full of myelin, which coats neurons so they conduct electricity at super speeds
  22. 22. Each brain sees the world through the lens of its myelinated neurons our myelin years are before age 8 and during puberty
  23. 23. Our brain is not designed for happiness. It evolved to motivate survival behaviors.
  24. 24. Negative experience builds big pathways, which is why your electricity tends to go there.
  25. 25. You can build a positive pathway to give your electricity a new place to flow
  26. 26. Spend 1 minute searching for good 3 times a day for 45 days
  27. 27. You will build a new lens that lets in the positive
  28. 28. You may think “if all that good were there, I would have done this already”
  29. 29. That’s your natural negativity
  30. 30. Fortunately, you don’t have to rescue orphans from burning buildings and perform in Carnegie Hall to create positivity
  31. 31. You can build a new pathway in your brain just by noticing the absence of dog poop on the path in front of you
  32. 32. New pathways build from repetition, emotion & youth
  33. 33. Youth is fleeting. Emotion leads to pizza. Repetition is your friend
  34. 34. Carving a new trail through your jungle of neurons takes tremendous effort
  35. 35. And after all that effort, your new trail soon disappears into the undergrowth. This is why old paths are so tempting.
  36. 36. But if you slash through the new trail every day, a new pathway will build
  37. 37. It’s hard to go positive when everyone around you is going negative
  38. 38. Going negative brings social rewards
  39. 39. You may think you’ll be weak or isolated if you go positive
  40. 40. But once you build your new positive lens, you’ll be glad you did!
  41. 41. You can PARE your negativity with Personal Agency & Realistic Expectations
  42. 42. Personal Agency
 
 is taking pleasure in choosing your next step
  43. 43. Results are unpredictable,
 but you always get to choose your next step
  44. 44. Realistic Expectations awareness that a cortisol surge is not a real survival threat
  45. 45. You will end up with cortisol because our efforts often fall short of our expectations You can find the good without depending on immediate visible rewards. Most of human progress came from efforts that did not bring immediate visible rewards.
  46. 46. People like to find external positives because it’s easier that finding internal ones
  47. 47. So here are some external positives
  48. 48. on my website https://innermammalinstitute.org/positivity
  49. 49. Each of us
 sees the world through the lens we built without effort or intent from our unique individual past experience
  50. 50. You can build a new filter to let in the good that your old filter ignores
  51. 51. Free resources from the Inner Mammal Institute Learn more about your happy chemicals podcasts videos infographics training certification slide shows (incl this) 5-day Happy-Chemical Jumpstart www.InnerMammalInstitute.org
  52. 52. Books by L. Breuning, PhD The Science of Positivity
 Stop Negative Thought Patterns By Changing Your Brain Chemistry Habits of a Happy Brain Retrain your brain to boost your serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin and endorphin I, Mammal
 How to Make Peace With The Animal Urge for Social Power
  53. 53. Loretta@InnerMammalInstitute.org contact me
  54. 54. one more thing
  55. 55. Don’t compare yourself to others
  56. 56. Don’t compare yourself to others
  57. 57. Don’t compare yourself to others
  58. 58. Don’t compare yourself to others
  59. 59. Don’t compare yourself to others
  60. 60. Don’t compare yourself to others
  61. 61. Don’t compare yourself to others
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Negativity is natural because our brain zooms in on problems. We feel good when we solve them, but our brain immediately shifts to the next problem. You miss out on positivity when you see the world through this lens. Fortunately, you can build a corrective lens that lets in the good that your negative lens has screened out. You can reduce the stress / anxiety of cortisol and stimulate your dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin in new ways.

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