When we were lowly cavemen we had a certain defense mechanism to help keep us alive. The brains negative bias helped us spot danger while making us remember were danger lurked. Our brains saw and remembered threats, it warned us to keep us safe. We needed this thinking to help keep man alive.
The negative bias of the brain works like this. The brain, Cacioppo demonstrates and reacts more strongly to stimuli it deems negative. There is a greater surge in electrical activity. Thus, our attitudes are more heavily influenced by negative influences.
With all the negativity that has been bred into us it is hard to escape. Almost everything we read or see on television or in the news paper is negative. It is what I like to refer to as “The Negative Circle”. A person sits at home watching the news, they wake up the next morning and read the paper and then they go to work and talk about all the negativity they have taken in the last 24 hrs often infecting someone else with their dreaded stories. Negative, negative, negative.
If we are not cavemen anymore why can we not seem to evolve away from this? I can’t tell you that the negativity bias is a horrible thing, I can say that is not as needed as it once was. No longer are we people searching through the woods looking for food…we have evolved but our negative thinking hasn’t.
I am not saying that everyone who watches the news or reads the paper is negative. Some people can overcome it but on the other hand some people are pronged to become negative themselves from it. Negativity is self defeating, it robs people of their happiness or the ability to be happy. You must beware of the negativity around you. It is as pervasive as the common cold, but far more damaging. It mutilates, cripples, and corrodes the human spirit. Those infected by it are broken men and women aimlessly plodding along. The dark clouds brooding over them obscure their vision and cause them to become confrontational, apathetic, and cynical. So, how do we inoculate ourselves against such a harmful thinking? It was only after learning about the horrible effects of smoking that people began to give it up. It may be wise to do the same here.
How does one avoid all of this negativity thrown on us by the media? How can we possibly get away from it? Here are something’s to think about and remember.
Do you really need to read the paper? If you are reading this then you can use the internet. Everyone needs to stay current on events around them, but forget about getting the news from the paper. Nearly all papers are carrying the news online now. Go and check out their web site for the latest breaking news. I personally use Yahoo to stay up to date on current events. I can shuffle through the headlines and read only things that pertain to me. I skip all the stories that I feel could bring negativity into my world and I save a ton of time doing it.
I check my news online and spend about 10 minutes doing it. I know men who read the paper for an hour or more and then when they go home they spend another hour watching the news. They spend at least 2 hours of the day poisoning their brains with useless facts that don’t even pertain to them. You can easily figure they are wasting over 700 hours a year on…NOTHING. They could be doing a lot of positive things with an extra 29 days.
Remember, self-improvement is a hands on project. That is to say that without ongoing implementation and attempting of the new ideas we learn, try as we might, we aren’t going to miraculously wake up the next day positive from banning the paper and news but in time you will feel the difference. Evolution didn’t happen over night, it is a slow process.