Our life coach columnist explains how even just a few minutes of daily negativity - even in the media we consume - can affect our mood, performance and well-being.
The only time I watch the news on T.V. is when I am at the gym. However, the last time I was there, I noticed something interesting. Although, exercising usually is a stress reducer and energizes me, I was feeling stressed, anxious and down by the time that I was finished and ready to leave the gym. What was going on? I thought back to the last hour and remembered the discussions around me coupled with the constant stream of incredibly bad news on the T.V. And then I checked into what I was thinking about and I understood the problem. I was swirling with all the negativity that I had just witnessed on the T.V.
There’s a lot of negative news out there to consume lately. If you’re keeping up on just the daily political news, you can become quite overwhelmed, stressed and frankly, a bit depressed. There’s just so much and the rate at which it is changing, is dizzying. So the question is, is this negative news affecting you in your personal and professional life? Well, the truth may surprise you.
In 2012, a preliminary study with Martin Seligman at the University of Pennsylvania found that just a few minutes of negative news daily has a significant effect on your mood. An additional study examined the longer-term impact of negative news on your well-being and performance. The results stunned the research team when they found that individuals that watched just three minutes of negative news in the morning were profoundly impacted. This group had a 27% greater chance of reporting 6-8 hours later that they had been unhappy during their day. Did you hear that? Over 25% of the group was severely affected by the negative news.
So what does it matter if employees are unhappy at work? Does that really affect the bottom line? Theresa Amabile and Steven Kramer, authors of the Progress Principle, collected 12,000 entries, from 238 employees, where their daily emotions were tracked. Surprisingly, 1/3 of the entries revealed employees that were unhappy, unmotivated or both. Research shows that how you are feeling has a huge impact on your creativity, productivity, commitment and social interaction in the workplace.
I had already figured this out. Days when I’m not feeling my energized confident self, I have difficulty focusing, being productive and creative.
I know it’s impossible to be happy all the time. Things happen that derail you from your usual productive self, no matter how hard you try and how much resilience you possess. Couple this with our 24 access to news information daily, and you can better understand the problem. However, having awareness of how negative news can impact your emotions and moods and in turn, your work performance, can help you make better decisions about your “negative news consumption”.
In today’s fast paced, over stimulated world, it’s definitely something to think about.