In these unsettling times, when much is unknown, and our daily lives have been dramatically upended, it may be too easy to feed on negativity. We’ve often heard about the power of positivity, yet the power (destructive) of negativity is all too real also.
Two key neuroscience facts:
1) Our brains are wired for survival – the “flight or fight” response
2) Our brains are wired to be naturally negative – in order to protect ourselves
Neuroscientists have found that every emotion we have has a distinct neuropeptide associated with it. We have both positive emotions and negative emotions. Fear – and negativity have specific neuropeptides.
Our brain produces the “fear” neuropeptide every time we have that emotion. The more we ignite that “negativity” neuropeptide, the more it regenerates, thus the more we feel negative. It keeps building on itself, taking you in a downward spiral.
Stress intensifies the negative. “As your threat sensitivity rises, you’re more likely to bias your predictions toward something bad happening,” says Candace Raio, a cognitive neuroscientist at NYU Langone Health in New York.1
And there is evidence that the neuropeptides link to our physical bodies. If we remain under fear and stress for long periods, it will affect our physical health.
Tips To Combat Negative Power
Knowing this, we need to be careful not to feed the negative beast by watching too much TV and reading negative articles about what is happening right now. We encourage you to balance the negative with positive views as well.
#1 Look for balance
It is often harder to find positive articles or projections. Thus we may need to hunt for them to balance the negative “news” we receive naturally.
Remember that we are geared to be negative, and often our media can over-dramatize to get ratings. This isn’t to say that COVID19 is not serious – in fact, we know it’s very serious. However, only feeding negative thoughts into your brain will not help you weather this uncertain and scary time. It’s like eating only protein and no vegetables or fruit. It leads to an unhealthy imbalance in our minds and bodies.
#2 Vary your sources of information
We’re not suggesting sticking your head in the sand; rather, pay attention, read articles, listen and watch the news from a variety of sources to get different perspectives. Feed your brain and thus your body with pragmatic and positive ideas to counter-balance our natural tendency to focus on the negative.
Reference 1: Wall Street Journal “This Is Your Brain On a Crashing Stock Market”, March 19, 2020, by Jason Zweig
Joni Lindquist, MBA, CFP®, a former corporate executive, is a Principal, Financial Planner and Executive Coach at Aspyre Wealth Partners. She helps people Master What’s Next®, no matter what phase of life. Aspyre partners with clients to navigate life transitions. A dog lover, Joni also golfs, exercises, travels, and watches old mystery TV shows.