When—and Why—One Sock Can Steal Your Sanity… and What to Do About It

As is the case with many of you, my days are busy. Work, school, Dolly-the-demon-hound…

And while I would love to report that at the end of each day I sink into a hot bath, filled with a sense of accomplishment, this is not the case.

What steals my joy?


Specifically, the one sock that is, inevitably, missing.

Now I recognize some of you read that and shook your heads in disbelief.

I am hoping, however, there is a larger complement of you that read that and thought, “Thank you. You get me.”

Why does the one, small thing I did that ended poorly inevitably trump every other action I took—no matter how effective, or thoughtful, or life affirming that might have been?

Welcome to negativity bias—a cognitive disconnect that focuses our thoughts on the one negative thing that did—or might—occur to the exclusion of everything positive that did—or might— happen.

In other words, it’s what ensures you remember the one unkind comment on your social media post despite how many people wrote something lovely.

Why is negativity bias important to recognize?

Because focusing on the negative steals our joy in the moment, and worrying about the one thing that might go wrong in the future makes us risk-averse.

So I thought I would write this post, outing my insanity around the inevitable missing sock, in the hope of helping myself—and you—recognize that our brains are not always our friends.

Frankly, there are times they need to put a sock in it.


For more on the value of noticing—and maybe even curating—your thoughts, take a look at “Weed Your Brain”