Our brains are wired to find obstacles instead of happiness. Source: BBC

Although we want our brain to create happiness more often, that isn’t actually its job. The happy chemicals that are stored in the brain are only released in very small and short spurts, and eventually they are metabolized really quickly. With this kind of reaction, it’s natural that you will try to take steps and engage in any activities that help to stimulate happiness in your brain. However, this may not usually work as most people want. In the process of trying to stimulate the production of these happy chemicals, you may end up becoming unhappier. There’s actually a reason why your brain may entertain negativity.

This feeling of cortisol is actually triggered by the purpose of our survival. It simply tells you that there’s an obstacle that’s preventing you from reaching where you want to go literally. In other words, as part of survival, as a human being, you are supposed to navigate through this obstacle in order to bring yourself to a happy feeling. Sounds easy, right? Well, our brain works in a funny way because once you have managed to maneuver through that obstacle, the brain will find a new one. The cycle will continue over and over again. But you can train your brain so that such negativity won’t a common thing for you.

The human brain scans for problems to solve, not solutions. Source: Oxford Academic

Let me give you an example first. Remember the time when city streets used to be so disgusting due to pet poop all over them? People used to be mad about it. For that reason, many counties and states implemented laws that pet owners must clean up after their pets. City streets are now cleaner than before. Logically you assume that this will make people happy, yet they aren’t. In fact, they get more agitated with the rare small pet poop than they are happy with the cleaner streets. This just tells you one thing. The human brain will not spot solutions. Instead, it will always scan for more problems to solve. That’s just how we are.

Fortunately, you can train your brain to think more positively. Source: ExecuNet

Building Positivity In Your Life

You need to build what I call a positivity circle in order to lock back the negativity that can engulf you. The first thing that you should do is to spend at least a few minutes of your day looking at things you’d consider positive in your life that day. Eventually, your brain starts to learn how to scan for positivity other than negativity. You also need to surround yourself with positive people. It’s really hard to be positive about anything if your fellow humans around you think negatively.

Finally, try and build realistic expectations for yourself. You see, as a human, you cannot control the outcomes of your actions but you can choose which actions and which paths to take. Take the path that will deliver the most realistic end for you. In case you are not able to get where you wanted to go, it will be disappointing. However, instead of sulking and feeling sorry, adjust your expectations and try again.