The Brain’s Negative Bias

Guest Author

January 25, 2021

Do you struggle with fear of unwanted outcomes on your fertility journey, yet you can’t stop the fearful thoughts?


Are you caught between not wanting to be negative or pessimistic & being too hopeful, because you want to protect yourself from disappointment? 


Consider changing your relationship to the negative thoughts rather than trying to stop them. 


The brain has a negative bias, it actually preferentially scans for & hangs onto unpleasant experiences. Evolutionarily, it has been more critical for survival to become aware of danger to protect against it. So our neural pathways for the undesirable tend to be stronger.


Negative memories grow faster than positive ones & according to neurologists, our brains are like Velcro for negative experiences & Teflon for positive ones. 


It’s easier to become fearful & pessimistic, especially when constantly faced with intense disappointment – like unsuccessful natural or medicated cycles, or pregnancy loss. 


So be kind to yourself, your mind is designed to want to protect from disappointment. It takes conscious effort to integrate positive experiences & to heal negative ones. 

The remedy is not to suppress unwanted events & associated thoughts, as we simply can’t control everything life hands to us.


It’s about cultivating space to be with the unpleasant & notice the pleasant at the same time. 


Know that it’s important to stop & savour positive experiences, which stimulates more neurons to fire & wire together, creating stronger neural pathways for positive implicit memories that can define our habits & behaviours.


Here’s how:

Consciously notice a pleasant event. It doesn’t have to be special, it can be ordinary like a sip of your favourite drink, curling up into bed, or snuggling with a loved one.


Stop & stay with the experience for at least 5-20 seconds.


Notice what sensations (smells, sights, tastes, touch), thoughts & emotions are present. 


This creates stronger healthy somatic experiences, memories & neural pathways.


For upcoming Mindfulness for Fertility programs go to


Guestpost by Dr. Alda Ngo @mindfulnessforfertility 


Photo Darius Krause

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