Your Brain is Better at Dealing with Problems Than You Think

Your Brain is Better at Dealing with Problems Than You Think

The written content of the post was authored by best-selling author and neuroscience expert, Mark Robert Waldman. It is posted with his permission.

Don't underestimate your brain's ability to cope with problems and stress. To do that is to practice “immune neglect" - a concept related to the economic Nobel Prize winning concept of “affective forecasting.” 

Immune Neglect is the tendency to overlook your natural coping processes. This causes you to overestimate the intensity and duration of a negative event, causing you to make faulty decisions. For example, if you underestimate your natural ability to handle the anxiety of public speaking, you’ll avoid doing so. 

We often underestimate our biological ability to handle future problems and conflicts. When we do so, we form a negativity bias. When it comes to achieving goals and gaining happiness, many people use past memories to predict a poor outcome in the future. This causes low self-esteem, and it makes us less motivated to take action. We are, in essence, lying to ourselves because we are neurologically programmed to cope with problems much better than we believe!

Neuro-Tip: Any time you doubt that you won’t be able to achieve your dream, know that half of your thinking is false. You’ll do much better than your conscious mind can predict.  Don't ignore the psychological and emotional immune system - it's stronger than you know. A positive attitude improves your ability to predict the future with more accuracy.


Coping strategies and immune neglect in affective forecasting: Direct evidence and key moderators. Hoerger M. Judgm Decis Mak. 2012 Jan 1;7(1):86-96.

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