Negativity Is Killing You
Negativity is a constant struggle for you, me and most everyone we know. It’s a condition we are born into and one our society approves – unless, of course, those negative words and statements are directed at us.
Negativity is at work when we judge someone else on what they did too much of or too little of. Its tentacles are squeezing their prey each time we are overstressed at home or work. It sneaks its way into conversations and sinks its teeth in every time we throw someone else under the bus and criticize their actions as we are stooped upon our perch. It’s a plague that has infected us all and it has a profound impact on how we are perceived as leaders and how we feel internally.
One of the main issues with negativity, and being around negative people, is that it affects us bio-chemically. Research studies have proven that exposure to even a few days of stress compromises the effectiveness of the neurons in the hippocampus—an area of the brain responsible for reasoning and memory. If you add up weeks of stress, it can cause reversible short-term damage to neuronal dendrites – these are the small “arms” that neurons use to communicate with each other, and months of stress can permanently destroy those same neurons. (Click here for more the research study)
According to Dr. Barbara Fredrickson in her book Positivity, when we learn to be positive people and operate more out of love than judgment, “it changes the inner chemistry of our bodies…it raises our oxytocin and progesterone levels - biological responses linked with lifelong bonds, trust, and intimacy. She also states that we need at least 3 positive inputs to recover from 1 negative input in order to strike a healthy balance.
The Mayo Clinic has even proven that there are profound impacts on our health when we stop engaging in negative behavior. Benefits include – lower rates of depression, greater resistance to colds and sickness, living longer, less risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attack, and an increased ability to handle stress and the difficulties life brings. (Click here for The Mayo Clinic article)
The bottom line is that we all must focus on positivity in order to be extraordinary leaders. It’s good for our brains, our health, and the people we have the privilege to lead and serve.
This week, make sure you focus on overcoming the inevitable negative with the positive. It’s a 3-1 ration so here’s a few things you can do: (1) Read positive books (2) FOCUS on your positivity word we talked about last week (3) Don’t engage with gossip and negativity that comes from others. Choose to be positive in how you speak about others (4) Subscribe to this blog as we journey down the road of positivity together. - Tom Davis