Actually I've been surprised to learn that this tendency is not a function of a nay-saying personality or a mis-firing brain. It is a derivative of our primitive brain that looks for lions everywhere. Well, after all, that is what you needed when you were a neanderthal and you were glad to have this brain function keeping you from danger.(I talk more about this on the radio and in my blog here)
Today we are rarely in the same kind of physical danger, but the reptilian part of your brain (yes, you have one) still looks for lions. The end result of this 'alertedness' in our modern world is that there is a part of you programmed to notice the danger and ignore the non-danger.
That can also mean, in a world where there are rarely lions around, you are looking for what's wrong and ignoring what's going right.
The recipe to counter this - I know only one. Focus on the Rightness.
You can use anything you like to do this. Here are my favorite methods:
- keep a gratitude journal (every night write 10 things that you are grateful for)
- keep a Rightness log (every day write down at least 3 things that went well or that you did well)
- keep an eye out (just notice how many things actually go well for you compared to how many things actually go wrong)