Professor Teresa M. Amabile of the Harvard Business School asked more than 200 professionals working on various projects and at various companies to keep a daily journal over the course of several months.
Upon analyzing the entries, Professor Amabile found that a single negative setback – particularly in conjunction with the day’s progress – affected the worker twice as much as something good that happened during the day.
This could explain why you sometimes feel distraught after a criticism at the office, even hours after going home. But that doesn't mean we're born pessimists or incapable of seeing the bright side.
We are hardwired to dwell on negative experiences because they are platforms for learning. This, according to Professor Roy Baumeister, a social psychologist at Florida State University, is a key element in our survival.
Understanding this provides insight into ourselves and the way we react to the world around us. So, how do we stop dwelling on these awful moments when the recounting process ceases to be productive?