Bad news is more prevalent than it’s ever been.
It’s there when you switch on the television.
It’s there when you scan the newspaper headlines.
And it’s there when you scroll through your social media feed.
The thing is, there’s as much, if not more, good news out there. It’s just getting lost in the fray of negativity.
We need to counteract that by finding ways to be more positive online. (And by going on a news fast.)
Studies have found that sharing happy news is good for you and everyone you know. It makes sense, so why don’t we do it more?
The reason humans are more inclined to seek out bad news dates back to our cave-dwelling days. Back then our survival depended on us being able to sniff out danger.
Nowadays, the chances of running into a sabre-toothed tiger are slim. However, the message has yet to reach our brains. At least, that’s what the evolutionary psychologists and neuroscientists have found.
I’m sure there’s plenty of truth in that, but I’m equally convinced the media are to blame. By dishing up helping after helping of disasters, scandal, terrorism, crime and the like, it’s little wonder we’re primed to seek negativity out.
The guys at Buffer —the popular social media management platform— found that positivity can have an impact on social media marketing. According to them, positive updates breed positive updates.
That’s reason enough to toss negativity out the window, don’t you think?.
Switching to a more positive mindset might take a little practice in the beginning, but bringing out your inner optimist doesn’t have to be hard.
According to Buffer, learning how to think more positively is a simple four-step process. They claim that preparing your environment, starting small, finding one positive moment every day and meditating daily will have you on your way to a happier life.
What they’re saying makes sense, so be sure to click through to their article for the full enchilada. Sometimes highlighting the key points is enough, other times it isn’t. On this occasion, it’s the latter.
Let’s Upack What It Means to Be More Positive Online
So, how can you be more positive online? It’s pretty straightforward, actually. All you have to do is spread the good news you come across.
What about sharing something that’s not that positive?
There will be times when you feel compelled to share something that falls into the bad news category, like a bomb, a plane crash or an earthquake.
Take the time to consider this before you do. Is it helpful? Will it make a difference? If it’s just a news segment with images depicting the devastation caused by the disaster, I’d urge you to think twice.
However, if you’re sharing a way for people to help or get involved, then, by all means, go ahead and spread the word. We all love hearing about ways we can make a difference.
It’s common sense really. If you think it will add value, make someone smile, motivate, inspire or generally have a positive effect on the world, then it makes sense to share it.
But, if you’re sharing for sharing’s sake or worse, having fun at someone else’s expense, it’s probably best to rethink your motives.
You Can Make a Difference Without Turning Into a Pollyanna
There’s no need to turn yourself into an annoying Pollyanna. Aiming to be a better human is more than enough. Instead of finding fault with the world, look for what’s right with it.
We’re so quick to cause a ruckus when something goes wrong, yet we seldom stop to highlight great service. I’m not saying you shouldn’t ever complain, but there’s a difference between constructive feedback and having a moan just for the sake of it.
Humans, in general, are good at complaining, but it seems the older we get, the better we become at it. If you’re still young, use this as a lesson of what not to do. If you’re older, take the time to honestly assess how you’re showing up in the world.
Sporty and I watchdog each other on this all the time. The last thing either of us wants to end up being a grumpy old person.
We need to take into account, and make leeway for, the possibility that sometimes it’s just an honest mistake. It happens, we all make them. Accept it and move on. Isn’t that what you’d want when you mess up?
11 Ways to Be More Positive (Without Even Breaking a Sweat)
1. Give Good Service a Shout Out
When you receive good service mention it on social media and make sure to tag the person or company.
2. Write a Recommendation
Write a recommendation for a friend, colleague or even your boss on LinkedIn. Don’t wait for them to ask, just go ahead and write something.
3. Leave a Positive Review
Leave positive reviews on Amazon, iTunes, Yelp or Tripadvisor. We’ve all read an amazing book, listened to a brilliant podcast or eaten a memorable meal. Let’s take a moment to hat tip the person behind the experience.
4. List Your Favourite Charities
Make a list of NPOs close to your heart and share what they’re doing on social media. Your small effort can make all the difference to them.
6. Hat Tip Businesses Doing Good Work
Share curated lists like 11 Fairtrade & Ethical Fashion Brands or 17 Companies that are Actually Making a Difference.
8. Curate Your Own List
Curate your own a list of helpful or inspiring blog posts or websites and share them online. People love that kind of thing.
9. Introduce People
Not in a matchmaking way, but to help them. If you know your colleague is working towards becoming debt-free, introduce her to Melanie Lockert of Dear Debt.
10. Like the Positive
Interact with the positive stuff on social media. You don’t have to share every great thing you come across, but you can like it or comment on it. Tag a friend in your comment if you think they’ll appreciate it.
11. Raise the Vibe
Mike Dooley —the guy behind Notes from the Universe—started an initiative called Raise the Vibe. The intention is simply to uplift and inspire. Join the Facebook group to hook up with like-minded people and share your own positive findings.
Remember, We Live in a Friendly Universe
The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe. ―
Some say this quote was misatributed to Einstein. Whoever said it, it’s worth thinking about. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather believe we live in friendly universe. Else, what’s the point?
Our brains are wired to seek out more of the same. This Frequency Bias, as it’s called, ‘describes our tendency to see new information, names, ideas or patterns ‘everywhere’ soon after they’re first brought to our attention.’
In other words, if you’re primed to seek out good news, that’s what you will do. Fortunately, we live in the perfect time to make that happen.
I used the search term ‘good news’ and found the Good News Network. Searching for ‘make a difference’ landed me 7 Key behaviours of people who make a positive difference in the world.
A search for kids that are making a difference led me to writing a post about the astonishing things children can accomplish when they set their mind to it. We can definitely learn a thing or two from them.
Our brains might be stuck in the Paleolithic era right now, but that doesn’t mean they have to stay there forever. By making a habit of hanging out on websites that share only good news, we can learn to find positivity in everyday life.