Why we’re sucked into spreading bad news and negative stories – SCN Encourager

And no, it has nothing to do with the current political season.

cavemanIt’s just how we’re made.

And you can trust me on this.

I didn’t just snag this off the internet.

I heard it in a podcast one morning while I was shaving.

Yet again.

A communications psychologist was explaining why we’re always immediately drawn toward news that is horrible.

He also shared why we’re so quick to pass along the “bad news” to others, too.

Although I’m not a communications psychologist, but rather a communications contortionist, I listened closely.

I’ve been wondering why bad news travels faster than good news for a long time.

The psychologist said that since the beginning of time human beings had to be acutely aware of everything occurring in the physical world, particularly the bad, the negative, and the dangerous.

bad newsThe survival of our species depended upon it.

Good news – and things like a positive press releases – could never cause immediate harm.

Bad news – and all of the potential threats attached to it – could be lethal within seconds.

This is why we are all hyper-sensitive to the bad news around us even though we complain about how it’s so eagerly and readily shared.

We can’t help it.

Our inner “fight or flight” reflex won’t allow us to embrace “good news” until all of the bad news has been considered.

The University of Texas at Austin (Stress Management & Reduction, Mental Health Center) explains it this way:

A threat is perceived

The autonomic nervous system automatically puts body on alert.

The adrenal cortex automatically releases stress hormones.

The heart automatically beats harder and more rapidly.

Breathing automatically becomes more rapid.

Thyroid gland automatically stimulates the metabolism.

Larger muscles automatically receive more oxygenated blood.

The important thing to take away is that the fight or flight response is an automatic response.

Sheesh! And I thought I was prone to repeat the same word over and over!

(And over… and over…)

But the university made its point.

Got it.

The entire sequence of events taking place within each one of us once our “flight or fight” reflex is engaged is not something we control.

I wish it was, though.

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 7.46.03 PMI even emailed the National Institute of Mental Health about this.

There was a big question troubling me.

I wanted to know if we could fight our “fight or flight” reflex… or at least flee from it.

Kinda clever, don’tcha think?

But I bailed.

This pop-up window from the NIH which requested that I answer a few questions FOR THEM stopped me dead in my tracks.

Be cautious, Tom, buzzed my inner alarm.

Who knows what trouble lurks for you behind that electronic curtain?

And I know this must seem stupid.

But remember, our “fight or flight” reflex is impossible to control.

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