The Thirty Minute Blogger

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Saturday, April 22, 2017

Why Bad News Attracts

Why do we focus so much
on bad news???
I was concerned with a friend's post on Facebook, who was worried with all the terror news lately and felt under threat of terror attack as a result. It reminded me of working in a retirement community in the countryside where a 90-year-old resident was terrified the facility would be attacked by evil-doers of one sort or another. Frankly, unless the trees or cows were about to rise up, there was little to fear.

That sent me down an odd sidetrack I thought I knew the answer to and had it confirmed. The most common videos on the internet are cat videos, little kitties getting up to mischief, little kitties being cute, little kitties sliding into boxes and jumping from cucumbers, etc. You get the idea. So how come none of us are absolutely certain the world is about to be overrun by kitty cuteness, since kitty videos overwhelmingly outnumber bad news videos.

So I did some digging. The reason seems to be our brains trying to make sure we don't get eaten. You see, our primitive minds (which had to cope with keeping us alive far longer than our modern minds) are still entirely certain we will be eaten by large, hungry carnivores out in the woods or savannas (lions, and tigers, and bears, oh my). So, to keep us kicking and producing new little humans, our brains made sure we fixated on the bad stuff (hungry stomach growl of something large in the bushes, stealthy pad fall in the high grass, drool dripping down from the forest canopy overhead [a la Alien but far more local]). The good and wonderful stuff wasn't going to eat us, so no need to worry about that.

So, today, we fixate on the bad news and become overly fearful those bad things will come and get us. Well, time to recognize the source of this information bias and work hard not to be scared silly of everything we see or hear on the news. Turns out the news is skewed to the negative because our brains want to know about the negative so we don't get eaten ... it all goes back to that paleo-diet. Don't fall for it. If you live in a small town, a quiet village, a rural farm, it is unlikely great big bad things are happening all around you. If you live in a big city, more likely, because there are more people all around you, but the chance of it getting you personally is still small. Be calm, be brave, enjoy your life with courage and tell that chattering ancient mind to chill out. It can keep a look out for grizzlies and pizzlies all it wants, but it can't make you a nervous wreck over it.

Have a great, fearless, wonderful day.  

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