You know, Victory Chicks, and you guys, ever since our presidential election last November, there has been so much acrimony. I’ve never seen anything like it in my whole life. It seems like our country is more divided than ever before. And, with the popularity of social media, everyone has a lot of space to vent their negative feelings without censoring for hate.
All that negative talk has me thinking about my health. And yours. More and more I'm remembering the words of several guests from my Happy Hour Radio Show who talk about the power of positive and negative thinking.
So something I’ve been wondering about is this: what affect will all the rancor have on your body and your mind? If every time you look at Facebook or Twitter and read something that pushes the anger button inside of you, are you damaging your physical and mental health? The experts say you very well could be!
Studies show that positive thinking can do things like increase your life span, lower rates of depression, boost your resistance to the common cold. As positive thinking can create a placebo effect and help you heal, negative thinking can make you sick. One researcher calls it the “nocebo effect.”
If you think of it that way, the most immediate damage is the instant "joy-stealing" kind. You've had it happen, I'll bet. You're having a good day, read something in FB and then get ticked off. You're feeling that anger for the rest of the day. That can't be good, can it?
One of my Happy Hour radio show guests said that it takes seven positive thoughts to counteract one negative one. CheezLouise, after reading some of those facebook posts, you would have to spend the rest of the day in affirmative meditation to undo all that negativity.
If you doubt the "nocebo effect" consider how many people got sick this winter. It wasn't just a standard two or three day cold or flu. So many people this winter got colds they couldn’t shake or that got way worse than they ever remember experiencing with colds of the past. Could all the negativity and acrimony in cyberspace and on the air waves have anything to do with that? It very well could!! The people at the Mayo Clinic think so. Check this out: Mayo Clinic Stress
As we celebrate the seasons of Easter and Passover, and as we’re surrounded by all of nature’s beautiful new beginnings, take a few minutes to stop and think. The ask yourself, are my thoughts and words making me healthy or sick?
Listen, politicians come and go. Policies change. But you have just one life to live. Are you loving it? If you aren’t, do something about it. If politics are getting you down, get involved in a way that gives you some sense of control (versus feeling like a victim). If it isn’t politics, what is it?
My friend, MJ Hitz, was diagnosed with Lymphedema couple years ago. It shows up in her legs. She wears compression garments all the time and has to wear different size shoes on each foot. There was nothing she can do about her physical condition – it’ll be like that for the rest of her life.
What MJ did do was get involved in getting the Lymphedema Treatment Act passed through Congress. It will be a huge financial help to those with Lymphedema and their families. In the process of becoming an advocact, MJ met new friends, went to DC and talked to members of Congress and became something of a Lymphedema celebrity. MJ wouldn't wish Lymphedema on anyone, but she decided she wasn't going to become of victim of it.
That's the kind of thing you need to do too.
Twenty years from now, you won’t remember who said what…but your body and mind will still be experiencing the effects of all that negativity. Is it worth it? If you don’t think so, and you probably don't either. So here are three things to do right now:
- The easiest place to start is to check what you’re thinking and listen to what words come out of your mouth. In my corporate classes and SKillBuilder Workshops, I suggested that you put a rubber band on your wrist and, each time something negative popped into your thoughts or out of your mouth, snap the band. If you’re wrist gets red and sore, you’ll know you’re carping way over the healthy limit.
- Step away from the negativity. Recently, five people have told me that they got off Facebook because of all the toxicity. Two women just told me they unfriended people who were spewing hate. Unfriending is really easy to do. DO it!
- If you are feeling like a victim, figure out what you can do to get in control. If it’s politics, stop griping and go to a meeting of your political party. Then volunteer to do something…make phone calls, knock on doors, talk to Congress, get somebody coffee. Doing something allows you to get back into the driver’s seat of your life.
And tune-in to this Friday's radio show with speaker, author, and master influencer, Jill Lublin. We're talking about this and other topics that focus on the subject of her new book, The Profit of Kindness