Why Negative Events Seem More Real

Negative effects create a larger variance from the norm.  They capture more of our attention because they create more noise by being departures from our real nature.  Our real nature, the positive, is more even, more ongoing, more constant in its nature than the noisy, banging, clanging affects of what is at variance with the norm- the negative.  We think we are more negative because controlling it seems to bring more relief, but the relief is always only temporary so long as we believe that where it’s at is chasing down the negative variance rather than increasing the positive heliotropic, light seeking and life giving tendencies that really are our natures and the order of things.

If you focus on the noise of the negative, you will increase your “hearing” of it to the degree that when it is quiet, the quiet goes largely unnoticed in the search for the cure of the noise. Your brain can be caught up in that search.

The negative has us fooled. We are seekers of light.

Phrenology produced some of the first brain maps largely based on guessing which parts of the brain performed certain functions.  It was a marked step forward, though, because it introduced the notion that there are parts of the brain with particular functions. 

Neuropsychology was born in Russia, fathered by Luria, whose subjects were the wounded soldiers of war who suffered head injuries.  Today’s map of the brain is a step beyond phrenology.  We know more scientifically what areas of the brain generally are responsible for which functions.  At least we thought so.  However, we are fooled if we think that something far more basic is not at work.  That has proven to be the plasticity of the brain.  The reality that the brain can heal itself and has millions of pathways around damaged areas is a relatively new realization.  It took a long time for neuroplasticity to be established and even Nobel Prize winners fought its emerging truth.

Something that affects the brain, the process of thought and emotion can rewire the brain by growing new neuropathways. What is most fascinating, though, is that the brain is always moving toward healing, toward regeneration, toward the light. There is something driving this process of thought and emotion, and it is heliotropic- light and life seeking.

Today the debate is where and what is “the Mind.”  We can’t find it any more than we can find or locate the “source” of this heliotropic tendency toward the positive, toward the light, toward healing, to growth and regeneration.  It is a bit like a fish trying to find water.  Whatever the Mind is and whatever the source that drives and motivates it, we know that every thought we think and every feeling we feel is adding neurons to neuropathways. 

But most amazing is that we have this choice that is heliotropic and growth oriented, that is a given, or we can get confused and decide against it and block the growth.  However, “the block” is exactly that- an aberration away from what is given, from what is the truth, and that is the movement of the Mind directing the brain toward the positive, toward the light, toward truth, toward virtue, toward well-being.  We are on the side of history that studies the heliotropic, positive orientation of the Mind upon its servant, the brain.  Pollyanna was also on that side, but today she is becoming less “Pollyanna.”

The negative is a block, an aberration, a movement against what is nature’s tendency.  It may be an important sign, it may make a great deal of noise and clamor to remain, but it is not the rule. It is a departure from the rule of well-being and always a signal back to the way the river of being is flowing.  Go with the flow, give up the “fixed” map of how it is and consider how much positive deviance there can be from the cultures that would not believe in neuroplasticity and now have no choice, and those still chasing the shadow in the name of healing.  As the results of what seem to be extreme deviations of positivity from the norm increasingly emerge, as we study excellence and as we believe more fervently in the good, we will awaken to see that it has been around us all the while. Excellence is everywhere and so is health and well-being.

What is positive and good is everywhere, but it requires a lens. That lens is to see what is negative as a departure from the rule, and not the rule that orders life and well-being.  It is not a requirement to exhaust the lens of the negative before you can pick up the positive lens. It is a more educated choice in the direction of the nature of being itself, but you may have to turn off the television to claim the lens.

Love, peace, gratitude, joy, and hope, the muscles of The Emotional Gym, are there for the choosing by the Mind, directing the unfolding neuroplasticity of the brain.  The right side of history is the way the river is flowing and that is in the direction and with the force of well-being.  It will be the professional, wise life coaches and not the therapists who will rule the new emergence of what is truly “mental health.”


1) What is your primary trap in locking your focus on something that is negative? What tools do you use to free yourself from this “lock” of the DownSpiral? Tell us your story.

2) Why is neuroplasticity always going on, in one direction or the other?

3) In the process of neurogenesis, what is the source of new neurons?

4) The primary object of your positive lens is your FuturePac. What is the state of your goals?  How do you keep them alive, and how do you engender their continued malleability in your clients?


1) The blog describes the “pulling power” of negative thoughts and experiences. What personal strengths and resources do you normally employ in the face of negativity? Tell us your story with an example.

2) “The negative has us fooled. We are seekers of light.” How have you experienced this truth in your life? Give us an example and tell us what happened as a result.

About the author

Dr. William K. Larkin

Copyright © 2015 The Applied Neuroscience Institute