Research Reveals Brain’s Untapped Capacity to Deal with Negativity and Bad News (if you allow it)

brain bad news

You can handle bad news and negativity if you learn to work with your brain, not against it.

You’re going along trying to mind your own business…

And then, Whamo..!

Something happens (or someone happens) that ruins your good mood.

It could be reading something horrible in the news. It could be realizing that you have to do something you hate today. It could be the thought of having to deal with your boss. It could be the sound of someone irritating entering the room. It could be….anything.

Some people call this being triggered.

Others call it having your buttons pushed.  

It happens all the time. And there is no escaping bad news in this world – or negative people for that matter. When you don’t allow your brain to process the negativity successfully, however, you become an emotional slave to negativity.

• It 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).

Stress is draining!

The good news is that 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. Shockingly, most people do not know how to allow their own brain to deal with psychological triggers effectively.

This post will show you how.

First, the evidence.

According to a team of researchers 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.

This will prevent you from short-circuiting your brain’s capability to digest and assimilate the negative information. 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 success with students of NLP and the AHA Solution.

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 (defense mechanisms). 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, the opposite is true. In fact, people feel so relieved and “sane” when they finally see things clearly. 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. These developments have 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 and the ugly truth. Your brain is well equipped to handle things and move on. You need to give it a chance to work for you.

If you like this article, then like my Facebook Page to keep up with the latest practical developments in psychology and personal growth.

If you’d like help implementing the principles of this article into your daily life, consider life coaching with Mike Bundrant. For more information, click here.

About Mike Bundrant

Mike Bundrant is a retired psychotherapist, Master NLP trainer, and practicing life coach. He and his wife, Hope, founded iNLP Center in 2011. For information on coaching with Mike, please visit his coaching website AHA System.

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