Well, according to Psychologies magazine – you’re not paranoid. The emotions we feel from negative events – like getting fired from a job you never liked anyway, stay with us a lot longer than positive emotions - like landing that dream job you always wanted.
The reason is actually scientific. When the amygdala is aroused – that’s the part of the brain tied to our emotions – it makes an impression on our mind. And since negative events cause it to be aroused longer than positive ones, they leave stronger impressions. This means that our bad experiences last longer, and we remember them more easily down the road. But you can train your brain to control those negative thoughts when they strike. Here’s how:
First: Look at the situation from a different perspective. If your boss gives you a warning, think of it as the first step in making a change for the better.
Next: Separate the event. Just because your boss reprimanded you for being late 3 days in a row, that doesn’t mean you’re a bad employee. It just means you need to work on your time-management skills. Don’t let a single event spill over into other aspects of your life.
Another way to control negative thoughts: Don’t jump to conclusions. Things are rarely as bad as they feel in those first few, emotional moments.
Also: Rationalize the situation. When our body floods with stress hormones due to a negative situation, that’s a biological function we developed way back in ancient times - to protect ourselves from tigers and other predators. Our boss may not be a tiger, but our body still reacts as if they were. So just say to yourself, "This isn’t a life or death situation – I can deal with it rationally."
And finally: To control negative thoughts: Remember a time when you were calm and confident. You’ll be able to handle criticism better if you feel good.