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  • Writer's pictureDr. Elisabeth Paige

Velcro and Teflon-The Negativity Bias

Updated: Dec 10, 2018

Our positive experiences slide off like Teflon

Dr. Rick Hanson introduced an idea to me that has really stuck--the negativity bias. Most of us tend to deal with the positives as if they are Teflon and they slide right off our consciousness and the negative as if they are Velcro and they stick with us.

I experienced this over the past few days. I wasn’t accepted into a mindfulness teaching program I applied for at UCLA. Although I was mixed about the program anyway, it kind of hit me hard. I also haven’t heard back from 30 press releases we sent out about the newest publications of our book in black and white and on Kindle accept for someone who wanted $900 in advertising. In addition, I’ve had a couple of unproductive days of writing, which is the way I usually write, a few days on, a few days off, but I’ve been beating myself up about it. So that’s been the Velcro.

On the other hand, I had a very pleasant and productive meeting with the volunteer coordinator of the Women's National Book Association-San Francisco Chapter. I may actually be invited to sit on the board, a perfect match for me as I look for more volunteer work. I have a meeting scheduled with the president of the San Francisco chapter.

A woman who runs an amazing website that represents people of different race/ethnicities, body types, disabilities and ages enjoyed a blog post I wrote on how yoga has changed my body image and wants to post it on her blog. My partner even called me a professional writer.

My yoga instructor has been very positive about how I’ve been progressing. I’ve been taking really good care of my health by spinning three times a week, attending yoga classes three times a week, taking private yoga lessons and practicing yoga daily with my dog (she does a perfect downward dog and loves yoga). I meditate daily and see a wonderful meditation coach. I've also been mostly eating according to the recommendations of my nutritionist.

Spinning, a big part of my becoming more active

I had a great drum lesson with a teacher I discovered who is patient, kind and knowledgeable.

I thoroughly enjoy the drums

My partner and I have been enjoying the holiday season. We attended a great holiday pops concert. We also saw an incredible art display, The Modern Menagerie with sculptures of animals followed by a piano concert. I'm really lucky in that my partner and I both enjoy the same types of music and therefore frequent lots of live concerts.

I have a wonderful family with a perfect dog and a great team of providers many of whom have been with me for over ten years. I also have an amazing circle of friends and a supportive extended family.

So, why did I spend the other morning feeling down? It’s the Velcro. I was focusing on the negative, not the positives in my life.

Once I realized this was going on (thanks, in part, to my therapist), I wrote a gratitude list, spent some time focusing on the positives, and of course, I got over my writer’s block (which only lasted the usual three days) and wrote this blog post. I also distributed another two dozen press releases and sent a cute picture of my pup doing downward dog to Ellen DeGeneres with a description of the book. I figure someone will pick it up and I just need to keep trying. I'm reading an inspiring book, Big Magic: Creating Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert where she encourages creative pursuits even through rejection after rejection.

My pup in a perfect downward dog

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