Here’s a great quote from Rick Hanson about Negativity Bias which really explains why we can get hung up on the tiniest of problems.
“Our ancestors could make two kinds of mistakes:
(1) thinking there was a tiger in the bushes when there wasn’t one, and
(2) thinking there was no tiger in the bushes when there actually was one.
The cost of the first mistake was needless anxiety, while the cost of the second one was death.
Consequently, we evolved to make the first mistake a thousand times to avoid making the second mistake even once . . . the default setting of the brain is to overestimate threats, underestimate opportunities, and underestimate resources both for coping with threats and for fulfilling opportunities.
Then we update these beliefs with information that confirms them, while ignoring or rejecting information that doesn’t. There are even regions in the amygdala specifically designed to prevent the unlearning of fear, especially from childhood experiences.
As a result, we end up preoccupied by threats that are actually smaller or more manageable than we’d feared, while overlooking opportunities that are actually greater than we’d hoped for. In effect, we’ve got a brain that’s prone to “paper tiger paranoia”.”
-Rick Hanson, Ph.D. from the book “Hardwiring Happiness”