Don’t Get “SNIOP” ed!

by | Jan 28, 2020

“Susceptible to the Negative Input of Other People”

The negativity bias, also known as the negativity effect, is observed that, even when of equal intensity, things of a more negative nature (e.g. unpleasant thoughts, emotions, or social interactions; harmful/traumatic events) have a greater effect on one’s psychological state and processes than neutral or positive things. In other words, something very positive will generally have less of an impact on a person’s behavior and cognition than something equally emotional but negative. The negativity bias has been investigated within many different domains, including the formation of impressions and general evaluations; attention, learning, and memory; and decision-making and risk considerations. Such a seemingly negative view may stem from our defense against danger. We imagine demons in the night because there was a time when large predators tormented our ancestors. We have survived looking out for potential threats to our life. Now such thinking is being used against us in a number of ways to guide our decisions about life.

Obsessing over potential negative thoughts makes us more vulnerable to negative outcomes.

Look For The Good

Criticisms often have a greater impact than compliments and bad news frequently draws more attention than good. The reason for this is that negative events have a greater impact on our brains and actually last longer than positive ones.

Brain Chemistry

Negative emotions rouse the amygdala, the almond-shaped brain structure that psychologist Rick Hansen, PhD, founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom, calls “the alarm bell of your brain.” According to Dr. Hansen, the amygdala “uses about two-thirds of its neurons to look for bad news. Once it sounds the alarm, negative events and experiences get quickly stored in memory, in contrast to positive events and experiences, which usually need to be held in awareness for a dozen or more seconds to transfer from short-term memory buffers to long-term storage.”

Thoughts Matter

An example put forth by Danny Kahneman (an economist who won the 2002 Nobel prize for his work) has designed studies in which participants are asked to imagine either losing $50 or gaining $50.  Even though the amount is the same, the magnitude of the emotional response is significantly larger for those imagining what it would be like to lose the money.  In other words, the negativity of losing something is far greater than the goodness of gaining something…even when the something that has been lost or gained is objectively equivalent.

Dr. Shaklee wrote his book on “Thoughtsmanship” to raise our awareness that “Keeping the process of the mind busy producing friendly thoughts, arousing positive emotions, feeling friendly and expressing that friendly feeling” is not only good for our business relationships but is good for our health as well.

Hope and Health

The mechanism for the connection between health and positivity remains murky, but researchers at Johns Hopkins suspect that people who are more positive may be better protected against the inflammatory damage of stress. Another possibility is that hope and positivity help people make better health and life decisions and focus more on long-term goals. Studies also find that negative emotions can weaken immune response.

What is clear, however, is that there is definitely a strong link between “positivity” and health. Additional studies have found that a positive attitude improves outcomes and life satisfaction across a spectrum of conditions—including traumatic brain injury, stroke and brain tumors.

What You Can DO

Simply smile more.

A University of Kansas study found that smiling—even fake smiling—reduces heart rate and blood pressure during stressful situations. So try a few minutes of YouTube humor therapy when you’re stomping your feet waiting in line or fuming over a work or family situation. It’s difficult not to smile while watching a favorite funny video.

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Smiling is catchy – try it with your friends!

Practice reframing.

Instead of stressing about a bad lab test, for instance, appreciate the fact that you can afford to make necessary changes in your diet, exercise and reading material to help you reach the goal and improve your health. Our genes are programmed for successful living.

Build resiliency.

Resiliency is the ability to adapt to stressful and/or negative situations and recover. Experts recommend these key ways to build resiliency:

  • Maintain good relationships with family and friends.
  • Accept that change is a part of life.
  • Practice personal habits of health .
  • Focus on positive events and situations – count your blessings!
  • Take action on problems rather than just hoping they disappear or waiting for them to resolve themselves. 

Dr. Brouse provides coaching on coping skills that allow for a more positive outlook and outcome in life. The Build A Better You program designs positive objectives for diet, exercise, nutritional supplementation and a positive mindset. Call Kathy for a Nutritional Advice Interview with Dr. Brouse – 503.631.4184.

Wholesome ~ Fresh ~ Delicious                                                                                                    A Cookbook From The Brouse House

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JENNIE BROUSE has a passion for making delicious, nutritious food, and has been practicing since she was a girl. Her dear mother instilled in her the wisdom of eating for health, growing and preserving food from their large garden, and cooking from scratch. This lifestyle continued while raising their children to today. Sharing her delicious meals with friends and family has been part of her “love language”. Jennie’s husband, Richard, has counseled many patients with nutritional advice for over 43 years. She has worked beside him encouraging them in their change to a healthier lifestyle, including eating habits. This cookbook has evolved from the many requests of patients and friends who want a few guidelines for more wholesome cooking. Thus, Wholesome-Fresh-Delicious has been created with recipes that have been favorites in the Brouse house. It is the authors’ hope that many will be inspired to seek out more wholesome food sources, embrace seasonal eating of fresh produce, and love cooking from scratch; all of which will encourage great health!

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