I’ve Got Some Bad News For You


I’m betting that I piqued your interest enough to get you to read further into this blog.

Don’t blame yourself, it’s not your fault, I would do the same thing.

I think that most of us gravitate toward bad news, even though we fight it and hate the fact that there is always so much bad news around us.

This feeling that we can’t help but be drawn to troublesome news is supported by a recent article in “Psychology Today,” where studies from neuroscientists and evolutionary psychologists theorize that,

“Humans seek out news of dramatic, negative events. Our brains evolved in a hunter-gatherer environment where anything novel or dramatic had to be attended to immediately for survival. So while we no longer defend ourselves against saber-toothed tigers, our brains have not caught up.

Many studies have shown that we care more about the threat of bad things than we do about the prospect of good things. Our negative brain tripwires are far more sensitive than our positive triggers. We tend to get more fearful than happy. And each time we experience fear we turn on our stress hormones.”

OK, so that gets us off the hook, sort of. I’m willing to believe that there are a certain amount of “hard-wired” primal responses toward bad news in our lives. But now that we know a little bit more about what makes us tick, can we change our behavior?

The experts seem to think that there’s hope for us yet:

“According to positive psychologists, we can change our habits, and we can focus on the glass being half-full. When we acquire new habits, our brains acquire “mirror neurons” and develop a positive perspective that can spread to other people like a virus. This is not about being a Pollyanna or “goody-two-shoes,” it is about being able to reprogram our brains. To apply this positive psychology and brain research knowledge to our attitudes and behaviors with relation to our current economic conditions, we can encourage our news deliverers to present a balanced and multi-dimensional point of view. Giving us the bad news, so that our brains are hard-wired into a negative state, will just reinforce the current negative economic climate.”

I’d like to think that if we are willing to take everything we see and hear and mix it with some thoughtful reflection; we may learn that things are never as bad as they appear.

Such is the life of a skeptical optimist.