By Caroline Carr
It is no secret that positive thinking can be a challenging task to implement into one’s life, especially when battling against modern-day influences, such as news networks and social media. It seems as if there is always negativity surrounding media outlets.
The news contains what psychologists call “negativity bias,” which is the human condition to more actively hear and remember bad news instead of good news. Researchers Marc Trussler and Stuart Soroka dissected the human tendency to lean toward the negative in a research project conducted at McGill University.
As reported by BBC, “We pay attention to bad news, because on the whole, we think the world is rosier than it actually is,” the scientists concluded. “When it comes to our own lives, most of us believe we’re better than the average, and that, like the clichés, we expect things to be all right in the end. This pleasant view of the world makes bad news all the more surprising and salient.”
Trussler and Soroka’s research highlights the positive outlook of the general population that is hindered by the negativity of news outlets. Similarly, social media has the ability to increase negative effects on the mind.
The University of Pittsburgh conducted a series of experiments which concluded, “[teenagers] who had spent more time on social media had 2.2 times the risk of reporting eating and body image concerns, compared to their peers who spent less time on social media.”
The risk of mental health issues is only intensified through the presence of extreme comparison on social media. PYSCOM reports, “Everything from physical appearance to life circumstances to perceived successes and failures
Where is the solution? How can individuals learn to put their microscopes away and focus on themselves? What is the secret to positive thinking?
The good news is, the first step towards living a more positive life is mostly completed: knowing where the negativity stems from. Identifying the sources of negativity in one’s life will help in cutting off any bad influences.
Try taking a break from social media or limit the time spent scrolling to ten minutes for one entire day. WVEA.org reports teenagers spend an average of nine hours in front of a screen per day.
If cutting down on screen time is not possible, download the app “Eternal Sunshine,” a free self-appreciation app created to spontaneously send positive thoughts, challenges, and words of encouragement at random points during the day.
Creating a “positive-vibes” playlist also encourages affirmative thoughts and actions. Spotify offers a wide variety of positive playlists ranging from body-positivity songs to motivational speeches.
The website www.pixelthoughts.co also provides quick, de-stressing positive feedback in sixty seconds. The website instructs the viewers to do a series of small activities, such as placing negative thoughts in a bubble. It also coaches the viewer through letting go of negative feelings through breathing exercises.
Start small and eventually, the positivity will start to snowball. Always remember, people gravitate towards happy people.