‘Well, everyone was quite positive about the article. But I was so annoyed by the comment of one co-author, I have been dwelling on it the whole week.’
Do you recognize this? Undoubtedly. Big chances you also suffer from the negativity bias: the brain is hardwired for negativity and so our tendency is to register negative stimuli but also to dwell on these events. Negative events have a greater impact on our brains than positive ones and we remember them more vividly.
Reflect on this year
Looking back to the last academic year, you probably will remember all the negative events. I invite you to shift your perspective:
- What did you finish?
- Which steps did you take?
- What have you learned?
- What makes you proud?
- What makes you happy?
- What made you feel good?
Sit down for a moment, and write down all these big but especially the small things. I assure you there will be many minor events and you could easily miss them. Don’t focus just on your PhD, just try to remember everything that you came across the last year.
Have you taken the time? Now that you can see all these positive events clearly, how could you ensure you will have even more of these in the New Academic Year? (And you probably have noticed that the adverse events you have been dwelling over, have become less important now).
Make it easy on yourself
Perfectionism contributes to the negativity bias because nothing is perfect so you will always find something negative. Subsequently, you will focus on this. Striving for mediocrity can give you so much more peace and space. Perhaps a very good idea to make it easier on yourself this year.
So: turn this year into a positive one!