Why We’re Not Wired to Pay Attention to the Good Things in Life

We're wired to pay attention to what's negative—great for survival, not so great for everyday life. Elisha Goldstein explores how mindfulness undercuts our negativity bias. 

Photo: JD Hancock/Flickr.com

Let’s keep this simple.

You may or may not have heard by now that our brain is wired to pay attention more frequently, and with greater veracity, to what’s negative. This doesn’t mean that the good moments in life aren’t happening. We’re just not wired to pay attention to them.


Because as a human race, we’re wired to survive, not be happy.


I have a theory that in this moment in time we’re going through an evolution as a species. Because of the overabundance of things pulling our attention, we’re forced to expand our awareness—the kind of awareness that breeds balance, well-being, and a greater sense of what matters.

So people are being turned onto mindfulness more. More spaces are offering it, more institutions are studying it, and there’s greater media to get the word out about it.

Mindfulness provides us with awareness and the opportunity to take wise actions to further balance this negativity bias.

This is an evolution of an enduring happiness. Are you on board?

One of the simple things we can do when we become aware of our current conditioning is be on the lookout for the happy moments. By “happy moments,” I don’t…