Negativity Can Destroy Everything You Care About
Negativity is a constant struggle for every human being on planet earth, and it’s taken over almost every area of our lives.
Turn on the TV – is it positive or negative? When you listen to conversations at coffee shops, it’s typically about how someone screwed another person over. Social media thrives on bad news.
Negativity is at work when we judge someone else for doing too much of something or too little of something. Its tentacles squeeze their prey and create is stress at home and work. It sneaks its way into conversations and sinks its teeth in every time we throw someone else under the bus and criticize their actions – always from our “high” perch. It’s a plague that has infected us all, and it has a profound impact on how we are perceived as leaders and how we feel internally as human beings.
But will you do something about it? One of the main issues with negativity, and being around negative people, is that it affects us bio-chemically. Research studies have proven that exposure to even a few days of stress compromises the effectiveness of the neurons in the hippocampus—an area of the brain responsible for reasoning and memory. If you add up weeks of stress, it can cause reversible short-term damage to neuronal dendrites – these are the small “arms” that neurons use to communicate with each other. Much more debilitating, months of stress can permanently destroy those same neurons. (Click here for more the research study)
According to Dr. Barbara Fredrickson in her book Positivity, when we learn to be positive people and operate more out of love than judgment, “it changes the inner chemistry of our bodies and raises our oxytocin and progesterone levels – biological responses linked with lifelong bonds, trust, and intimacy. She also states that we need at least 3 positive inputs to recover from 1 negative input in order to strike a healthy balance.
The Mayo Clinic has even proven that there are profound impacts on our health when we stop engaging in negative behavior. These benefits include – lower rates of depression, greater resistance to colds and sickness, living longer, less risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attack, and an increased ability to handle stress and the difficulties life brings. (Click here for The Mayo Clinic article) It’s worth cultivating a positive life for better health alone. Your loved ones need you around for a long time!
The research is overwhelming – we all must focus on positivity in order to live meaningful and fulfilled lives. It’s good for our brains, our health, and the people we have the privilege to lead and serve.
This week, make sure you focus on overcoming the inevitable negative with the positive. You need a 3-1 ratio so here’s a few things you can do: (1) Read positive books, (2) Refuse to engage with gossip and negativity that comes from others, (3) Choose to be positive with your words and in how you speak about others, and (4) Subscribe to this blog as we journey down the road of positivity together : ) … There is so much more to come!
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