If you live in the real world, you’re going to encounter bad news and negativity every single day. For many of us, it’s a lot to cope with. However, research has revealed a counter-intuitive little trick that puts your brain the best possible position to deal with reality. In fact, your brain has much more capacity to assimilate negativity that you might realize.
Most people, upon encountering bad news or a negative person, go into avoidance mode. It turns out that this is the very opposite of what you brain needs you to do. Attempting to shut out negative thoughts and feelings only thwarts the brain’s process of digesting these experiences and letting them go. So, you put these thoughts out of your mind, but then have to keep fighting them off all day long (because your brain isn’t done with them). Then,
• Negative tension festers in your stomach, chest and shoulders.
• It clutters your thoughts and distracts you from the task at hand.
• It causes chronic stress and physical ailments (tense muscles, digestive problems and lethargy).
Negative stress is exhausting!
The good news….
Your brain is ready to handle all things bad – and handle them permanently if you allow it to. You just have to know what to do.
According to a team from Tel Aviv University’s School of Psychological Science, repeated exposure to a negative headline lessens its impact on your thinking and mood. This flies in the face of conventional wisdom. Most people simply want to put the bad stuff out of their minds as quickly as possible. This, it turns out, is a terrible idea. It’s like dropping a steak in your stomach and then turning off all the digestive juices. It sits there like a rock.
Researchers hypothesized that as the negative words in a headline or news article are repeated, it would lessen the effect on a person’s mood. The repetition seems to allow your brain’s digestive juices to flow. To test the hypotheses, scientists used the “emotional Stroop task,” an established psychological test for evaluating a person’s emotional state, combined with a survey administered to study participants following the test. The researchers found that through repetition, negative words began to lose their power over a person’s mind, lessening the effects on mood and cognition. In fact, study participants who repeatedly exposed themselves to the bad news had no after effects. Participants who were not allowed repeated exposure suffered the expected bad moods and slowed cognition.
The proper way to process the bad news, then, would be as follows: Instead of reading the headline and allowing it to affect your mood, press on. Repeatedly expose yourself to the negative information by reading the entire article. You must allow your brain to understand and digest the information so that it can move on to other concerns. This will prevent you from short-circuiting your brain’s capability to assimilate the negativity. And it will lessen the effect on your mood, leaving you mentally freer to go about your day. While we’ve long been warned about the negative impact of overexposure to bad news, this study suggests that under exposure can be equally as damaging.
The above study also validates my own experience, as well as my experience with clients and NLP students.
Many of my clients work with me on their most dreaded issues of self-sabotage. These courageous souls are confronting the fact that they have repeatedly set themselves up to be controlled, rejected and deprived over a long period of time.
It’s so easy to avoid thinking about these painful circumstances. Worse, your subconscious mind is actively disguising the set up so that you won’t discover it. You need to play detective in order to know the truth about what is actually going on right under your nose!
You might think that when you are exposed to the raw facts, it would be painful. However, it isn’t. In fact, people feel so relieved and “sane” when they see it. Repeated exposure only makes them feel more empowered, with choices that they had never considered possible before.
All this is leading us at the iNLP Center to develop revolutionary new protocols that will be announced in the early part of 2014. It has wild implications for goal setting (we call them inverted goals) and affirmations (research suggests that positive affirmations are surprisingly ineffective, but we have a totally new twist on them).
Bottom line: Don’t be afraid of bad news, negativity or any painful truth. Your brain is well equipped to handle these and adapt. You need to give it a chance to work!
Provided by Mike Bundrant