Positivity Post https://positivitypost.com News about Positive Thinking, simplifying life, reducing stress, inspiration, personal growth, personal finance and happiness. Wed, 12 Dec 2018 10:01:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.0.1 Perpetual Anger is Toxic https://positivitypost.com/perpetual-anger-is-toxic/ Wed, 12 Dec 2018 10:01:41 +0000 https://positivitypost.com/?p=13827 https://www.facebook.com/Positivity-Post-850385048367345/Why are people so angry these days? If it’s Tuesday…or any other day of the week, people seem to go out of their way to find something to be offended by, or angry about. This is not good. Anger can literally destroy not only your happiness, but the happiness of those around you.

Of course, anger in itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because anger can actually help us to recognize issues that we need to change in ourselves and, in the world. But the anger that stirs us into taking action to fix a problem or right an injustice, is a different type of anger — it’s a motivator and not a de-motivator.

The type of anger that we’re seeing today is an unbridled, undirected anger — it’s an anger that is borne out of feelings of stress, frustration, disillusionment and in a way, hopelessness.

When we feel stressed and frustrated, we tend to manifest those feelings in anger that bubbles up inside us, until it finally explodes outward. The problem with this is that part of us is actually angry that we’re even angry and when we let this fester, the anger begins to consume us until it’s a perpetual state of mind.

Psychology Today reports:

“…Of course, anger too easily or frequently mobilized can undermine relationships and, studies show, it is deleterious to bodies in the long term. It prompts the release of a flood of compounds—cortisol, adrenaline, noradrenaline—that prepare the body to fight. As a result, anger makes muscles tense, our heart rates increase, and blood pressure rise. Prolonged release of the stress hormones that accompany anger can destroy neurons in areas of the brain associated with judgment and short-term memory, and it can weaken the immune system…”

This festering anger that has gripped the world is doing a great deal of harm and it needs to be addressed.

What can one do about anger:

Find an outlet for the anger. A big problem today is that people are mad and they’re not quite sure why. Is it all the bad news in the world? Is it the political dysfunction that has gripped the land? Is it fear of change? Is it our endless cycle of violence? Is it the hollow pop-culture that promises much, yet delivers nothing? Its probably all of those reasons. One distinction between negative and positive people is that positive thinkers have much going on — they’re involved in hobbies, charities, the arts, etc. Basically,  they have diverse interests that keep them occupied in a good way. Those with festering anger should consider ways to keep their mind off the things that cause it and do things that make them happy and relaxed.

Reappraise the situation. If someone is making you angry, ask yourself why. Is what they’re doing or saying really so bad that it should cause you to lash out? What if they’re going through something in life and they’re so upset that they just can’t stand it any longer…do you want to add to their woes by escalating the situation? If the news or politics is the cause, tune it out for a while and see how quickly that anger subsides. Reappraise basically means to stop before you act or speak and look at the potential causes for your anger with more objectivity.

Of course, people with uncontrolled anger should seek the help of a qualified professional.

Anger is a notoriously toxic emotion. While bottling it up is not a good idea, walking around in a perpetual state of angst is even worse. No one who lives in anger ever leads a quality, happy life. 

“Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone’s face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come.”  ― Henri Nouwen

“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”
Mark Twain

Read: Five myths about anger and Managing Anger and Letting Go of it: Achieving Inner Peace

 

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Let Silence Heal Your Mind https://positivitypost.com/let-silence-heal-your-mind/ Mon, 10 Dec 2018 10:01:55 +0000 https://positivitypost.com/?p=13800 https://www.facebook.com/Positivity-Post-850385048367345/These days, silence is worth it’s weight in gold. People, it seems, can’t seem to escape the maddening din of modern life. From non-stop emails, to the ever-present “smart” phone and the barrage of bogus telemarketing calls, people are stressed to their limit.

Some folks don’t care for silence because they feel it’s too lonely, but they’re probably in the minority at this point. For most of us, getting some quiet down time is pure pleasure and joy.

As the scientific and medical communities will tell you, the benefits of silence are many.

Psych Central reports that:

Silence is good for overall physical health and well-being

Besides giving our ears a break, silence has been shown to offer significant health advantages that boost overall well-being. From a physiological standpoint, silence helps:

  • Lower blood pressure, which can help prevent heart attack.
  • Boost the body’s immune system.
  • Benefit brain chemistry by growing new cells. A 2013 study found that two hours of silence could create new cells in the hippocampus region, a brain area linked to learning, remembering, and emotions.
  • Decrease stress by lowering blood cortisol levels and adrenaline. Furthermore, according to a 2006 study in Heart, two minutes of silence relieves tension in the body and brain and is more relaxing than listening to music. This was attributed to changes in blood pressure and blood circulation in the brain.
  • Promote good hormone regulation and the interaction of bodily hormone-relate systems.
  • Prevent plaque formation in arteries.

We live in a notoriously loud, distracting world and it’s long ago been proven that excessive noise is negatively affecting our health — and this noise doesn’t even have to be actual sounds, because today we have that constant presence of “smart” phones, tablets, email and other electronic clatter which also causes noise of a different type.

All this noise, both literal and figurative, is dangerous to our mental and physical health and people crave some solitude to rejuvenate their mind and body.

How does “silence” equate to a life of peace, love, compassion and positivity?

The answer is simple: in order to protect our mind and body, we must have times of tranquility. Tranquility (serenity), allows us to maintain a deeper connection with our inner-power — that place in each of us where creativity, confidence, motivation, hope and faith reside.  Due to the manic world we’ve built for ourselves, this inner sanctum is often the most difficult to connect with.

Fortunately, there are many ways to  experience true silence and here are just a few:

True silence doesn’t mean putting in our earbuds and listening to music. True silence means tuning out artificial noises (man-made noises) and letting the peace wash over us. Once we start to feel relaxed, we can focus on clearing out the clutter in our mind by going over what we’re dwelling on, but haven’t had the time to really focus on.

Try:

1.  Determine where your quite place is. The woods? Your local Library? A room in your house? Try to have a set space to have your quite time and if possible, schedule it with yourself. If you can’t always enjoy your alone space at a set time, make sure to work it into your schedule when ever possible.

2.  Turn off your gadgets. The internet is a big cause of the chaos today, so surfing social media probably isn’t a good idea…nor is answering a cell phone or emails.

3.  Writing out all the things that are bothering you. Create a list of those nagging issues you keep bundled up and work through them — are they important enough to keep thinking about, or can you cross them off and move on?

4.  Read a good book! People don’t read anymore and that is to our detriment. And by read, I mean an actual paper book. Leave all electronic gadgets out of your quiet space and open an actual book.

5.  Write poetry. So, maybe you’re not a poet. Who cares? Tyr it — for some reason, writing poetry can be quite relaxing.

6.  Paint. Don’t think you have talent? Again, who cares? Painting is a great hobby and it can get you out into the wilds of nature, which is the perfect place to re-energize.

7.  Take hot baths. Many people are turning their bathrooms into mini at-home spas — even if you don’t want to do that, a simple hot bath can really relax us and once we’re in that quite zone and able to unwind, we’re in a much better position to think clearly.

8.  Pray or meditate. For this, I personally find a quiet room that is not too hot and not too cold and isn’t too dark, nor too bright, is best.

9.  Talk to yourself. What? Talking to yourself really isn’t that odd. Consider actually talking to yourself out loud…but in a quiet voice. Some people have better success actually verbalizing what they’re thinking, so if that works for you in your quiet space, go for it.

10. Listen to soft, soothing music. I know, this contradicts “quiet” and “turn off your gadgets,” but the truth is, some people find listening to pleasant, quite music to be very relaxing.

Where you choose for your silent retreat time is entirely personal, as is how you spend that time. The more important thing is to make sure you do make time for yourself and that the time is spent decompressing and letting the stress flow out of you.

“True silence is the rest of the mind; it is to the spirit. What sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment.” – William Penn

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5 Tips for Cultivating Positive Thinking https://positivitypost.com/5-tips-for-cultivating-positive-thinking/ Mon, 03 Dec 2018 10:01:39 +0000 https://positivitypost.com/?p=13768 https://www.facebook.com/Positivity-Post-850385048367345/When we nurture and harness the power of positive thinking, it has a profoundly beneficial impact on our life. By thinking, feeling and acting positive, we’re less stressed and anxious and we come to realize that we have every reason to be happy. Fortunately, anyone can become a positive thinker.

Positivity is an amazing feeling and while it’s not a cure-all, it does give us a zest for life — we become more grateful, feel happier and have a more general sense of contentment in our life.

So how do you train your brain to think positive so you can begin to experience all the benefits of positivity?

1.  Self-assess: ask yourself “do I think positively, or negatively?”

Do you enjoy life and think positively as much as you can? Do you see the brighter side in life? Do you feel happy more often than not?  Does life excite you?  Or, does life make you feel anxious? Do you complain a lot? Do you judge others or gossip? Do you easily get annoyed and snap at people?

Perhaps you’re somewhere in the middle? Many of us actually are in the middle, because none of us are perfect.

Self-assessment is meant to be an exercise in which you confront yourself and honestly answer the question: am I more of a happy and positive person, or am I prone to being glum and negative?

2. Prepare yourself to be positive: commit to conditioning your mind to consciously experience moments of positivity

The wondrous thing about positive thinking, is that we can actually condition ourselves to be more positive. As with any “conditioning,” it takes practice, effort and mindfulness. We need to be willing to accept that “I’m a negative thinker and I am going to change that…” One must live more in the moment and not dwell on the past or stress about the future. What is happening in the now that is good — what positive things are happening all around you and how can you better take note of them? Don’t look for the bad, but instead, look for the good — seek out the positive and before you know it, your brain will take over and you’ll see more good than bad.

Here is just one example:  You wake up, its raining and you have to go to work. You could complain about the rain and let it ruin your mood and thus, your day, or, you can accept that there is nothing you can do to control the weather and the sun will come out again. You could moan about having to go to work, or, you could be thankful that you have a job. If you first orient your mind toward the good aspects, it realigns your thought processes and it releases you from having to feel negative.

“Your morning sets up the success of your day. So many people wake up and immediately check text messages, emails, and social media. I use my first hour awake for my morning routine of breakfast and meditation to prepare myself.” –  Caroline Ghosn

3. You need an attitude of gratitude: practice makes perfect and that includes being grateful

Let’s be honest — life can be challenging and there’s a lot out there to make us feel anxious, angry or sad. But the truth is, there is so much to be happy about — there is boundless beauty and tremendous joy, so why not look for that and be thankful?

We have the power to self-choose the things we want to focus on and one way to train our brain to center on the positive is to practice gratitude — gratitude for the people, experiences and things that make life worth living. It can be anything from your family, to your job, to your home, the food on the table, the rose bush in your yard…the opportunities for gratitude are endless and the fact is, positive people have a very, very long list of what they’re grateful for.

4.  Reaffirm it: fortify your memory for the positive

Did you know that we often subconsciously think of negative words, which in turn results in a negative feeling and most likely, a negative outcome?

For example: your co-worker says something that annoys you. Part of you wants to react positively, despite being annoyed, but in your mind, you silently utter “man, she is just so stupid…sometimes I really hate her.”  But, instead of thinking that, focus instead on positive words and thoughts, such as “I don’t like what she’s saying, but I know her to be a good and kind person and that’s the important thing….”

Focus your mind on words that uplift and inspire, like “love,” “compassion,” “joy,” “friendship,” “understanding,” etc. You can also use positive affirmations, which really do work. When dealing with someone causing you to feel negative, try:

  1. I’m not taking this personally.
  2. I can’t change him/her, but I can control how I respond to him/her
  3. I follow my own path of happiness and that path is one of peace, love and compassion
  4. I have an open, positive mind and no one can take that from me
  5. His/her negativity will not affect me – I’m shielded by an armor of peace and tranquility in my heart and mind

“By holding a positive and optimistic [word] in your mind, you stimulate frontal lobe activity. This area includes specific language centers that connect directly to the motor cortex responsible for moving you into action. And as our research has shown, the longer you concentrate on positive words, the more you begin to affect other areas of the brain.

Functions in the parietal lobe start to change, which changes your perception of yourself and the people you interact with. A positive view of yourself will bias you toward seeing the good in others, whereas a negative self-image will include you toward suspicion and doubt. Over time the structure of your thalamus will also change in response to your conscious words, thoughts, and feelings, and we believe that the thalamic changes affect the way in which you perceive reality.” – “Words Can Change Your Brain,” by Dr. Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman

5. Balance: we can’t always think positively

Thinking positive is of course the best mindset. But sometimes, our minds and bodies just need to release negativity. A common misconception is that positive thinkers are delusional pollyanna’s — that’s not the case at all. If you need to let it out by having a good cry, then do it. The difference is though, a positive thinker is acutely aware that they’re having negative thoughts/emotions and realize that they’re not there to stay, but are only visiting. A positive thinker still sees the bright spot down the road and affirms to one’s self that they will get back in the right frame-of-mind as soon as is possible.

Bonus:

Let go of all-or-nothing thinking

Negative thinkers tend to see things in pure black or white. They often have an “all-or-nothing” mindset in which things are either great or, terrible. However, positive thinkers understand that life is sometimes shades of gray. A situation may not be optimal, but there is always hope and trying to stay positive is the differentiator. Give compromise a try. Learn to give and take and see both sides to a story or situation. Be magnanimous with people you may firmly disagree with — after all, if you want people to respect that you have your own opinion, give them the same courtesy. Life is not always easy, but there is so much to be hopeful and thankful for and that is what we need to focus our energies on.

“Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely.” Roy T. Bennett

Learn more and try taking the Berkeley Well-being survey.

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A Father’s Life Advice to His Son https://positivitypost.com/a-fathers-life-advice-to-his-son/ Wed, 28 Nov 2018 10:01:17 +0000 https://positivitypost.com/?p=13744 When we’re young, our parents and other elders offer us guidance and wisdom to help us through life. Their words are often borne out of personal experiences and their desire to share those life lessons is centered around love and caring.

For some reason, as we get older, we tend to rebel. We start to think that our parent’s and grandparents are preaching to us and trying to tell us what to do. However, that’s really not the case. People who have actually lived life and experienced ups and downs are the best source for ‘life lessons’ — they’ve done it all before and they seek to help the younger generation avoid the same mistakes they’ve made.

“My Dear Son,” is a beautiful letter from a father to his son and through it’s simplicity, it conveys a very wise life lesson: be strong, overcome adversity, learn from it and be the best man you can be…always. The beauty part about this letter is that in truth, it could be advise to a son or daughter. 

“My Dear Son,
I am so very proud of you. Now, as you embark on a new journey, I’d like to share this one piece of advice. Always, always remember that – adversity is not a detour. It is part of the path.

You will encounter obstacles. You will make mistakes. Be grateful for both. Your obstacles and mistakes will be your greatest teachers. And the only way to not make mistakes in this life is to do nothing, which is the biggest mistake of all.

Your challenges, if you let them, will become your greatest allies. Mountains can crush or raise you, depending on which side of the mountain you choose to stand on. All history bears out that the great, those who have changed the world, have all suffered great challenges. And, more times than not it’s precisely those challenges that, in God’s time, lead to triumph.

Abhor victimhood. Denounce entitlement. Neither are gifts, rather cages to damn the soul. Everyone who has walked this earth is a victim of injustice. Everyone.

Most of all, do not be too quick to denounce your sufferings. The difficult road you are called to walk may, in fact be your only path to success.”

Richard Paul Evans, A Winter Dream

 

“We respect our elders. There is wisdom that comes from experience, and I am not going to stop learning from wise counsel.”  – Marcia Fudge

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The Anxious States of America https://positivitypost.com/the-anxious-states-of-america/ Mon, 26 Nov 2018 10:01:00 +0000 https://positivitypost.com/?p=13717 https://www.facebook.com/Positivity-Post-850385048367345/America has become a nervous, anxious shell of its former self. Throughout our history, the United States has always been a bright beacon of hope. A place in which anything was possible and a positive, can-do attitude coursed through the land. However, that was then and this is now.

Ask any historian or sociologist why and how America rose from a rebel rousing colony to the world’s undisputed superpower and they’ll tell you that it was due to sheer grit, fortitude and unbridled hope. The land was alive and the people had a sense of awe — a belief that anything was possible and that good would prevail. A feeling that together, we could invent, make, build, create and improve. And, we did! The sky was the limit and our hopes and aspirations were boundless.

Of course, we still do lead the world in terms of innovation, but something has soured and where we once felt positivity and hope, we now increasingly feel anxiety.

Why?

That’s the question, isn’t it?  Has greed corrupted us? Has an all-consuming obsession with politics divided us? Has our pop-culture, immediate gratification mentality finally worn us down? Has rampant corporate greed damaged us? The answer to all those questions is a resounding “yes.” But those aren’t the only reasons that we now find ourselves hobbled by negativity and anxiety.

Damon Linker has authored an insightful article in The Week on this very topic. Here are some salient snippets from his article:

“The United States is a country consumed by anxiety. This has been true for a very long time. But it’s getting worse.

Be honest: You sense it in yourself. The vague mist of worry that always lurks in the background, ebbing and flowing through the day, the sense of creeping inadequacy that prompts you to work ever-harder. You can detect it in the agitated drive to do ever-more to protect those you love from an endless stream of dangers and threats — and in the urge to keep up with friends, acquaintances, and news online during almost every waking moment, perhaps even crowding out sleep, making it impossible to settle down or drive away the subtle sensation of insufficiency.”

“…Way back in the 1820s, Alexis de Tocqueville noted that Americans were restless in the midst of their prosperity and freedom — existentially anxious that they would run out of time in their finite lives before getting a chance to enjoy all the good things available to them in a world of liberty and abundance. Still, today’s anxiousness feels different — more acute, more pervasive, more deeply woven into the very fabric of our lives and world…”

“…Anxiety is a form of fear — and politics driven by fear tends to be illiberal. That’s because liberalism is a political form that strives for openness, and people who are deathly afraid will be inclined to consider openness a luxury we simply cannot afford. Hence the rise of right-wing demagogues peddling conspiracy theories and draconian policies to make sense of and give order to the disorienting cybernetic swirl in which we swim….”

Read the entire article here — you’ll be glad you did.

“The truth is that there is no actual stress or anxiety in the world; it’s your thoughts that create these false beliefs. You can’t package stress, touch it, or see it. There are only people engaged in stressful thinking.” – Wayne Dyer

The creeping feeling of anxiety that has settled in the land is in our own minds, but it has been put there by others — the greedy corporations that take and take and give nothing in return, the corrupt politicians that divide us and care little about the damage they cause, the pop-culture money machine that tries to distract us with mindless “entertainment.” These are some of the primary sources of the stress we feel and the resulting anxiety is making us doubt ourselves.

What can be done?

Personally, I believe that the best solution is to reject the negativity being foisted upon us and the first step in doing that is to simply be mindfully aware of its influence on our mental health. Fortunately, more people are rejecting the hype, mania and negativity and embracing a more peaceful existence…and they’re all the better for tuning out the negativism. 

“We live in a society bloated with data yet starved for wisdom. We’re connected 24/7, yet anxiety, fear, depression and loneliness is at an all-time high. We must course-correct.” –  Elizabeth Kapu’uwailani Lindsey

As a nation, we have a lot going for us and I believe that the tide is turning. As more people become aware of what is really important in life, they reject the very things and people that have caused the growing anxiety. Reject fear mongers, ignore troublemakers and turn your back on dangerously negative people — as FDR said “the only thing we have to fear, is feat itself.”

“Each of us must confront our own fears, must come face to face with them. How we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives. To experience adventure or to be limited by the fear of it.” – Judy Blume

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Mankind Has Pushed Nature to the Brink https://positivitypost.com/mankind-has-pushed-nature-to-the-brink/ Mon, 19 Nov 2018 10:01:57 +0000 https://positivitypost.com/?p=13565 https://www.facebook.com/Positivity-Post-850385048367345/Is mankind doing more harm than good? Have we, the alleged “highest intelligence,” taken what was once and eden and turned it into a planet on the brink? We ask the question, but we may not like the answer.

According to WWF, the preeminent conservation group, unbridled human consumption has “decimated global wildlife, triggered a mass extinction and exhausted Earth’s capacity to accommodate humanity’s expanding appetites.”  So in other words, the answer is yes, mankind has quite literally brought the planet to the brink.

How much damage have we done? To give us an idea:

According to WWF’s “Living Planet Report,” between 1970 to 2014, 60% of all animals with a backbone—fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles and mammals—were wiped out by human activity.

“The situation is really bad, and it keeps getting worse.”  — WWF International director general, Marco Lambertini

“Another dataset confirmed the depth of an unfolding mass extinction event, only the sixth in the last half-billion years.

Depending on which of Earth’s lifeforms are included, the current rate of species loss is 100 to 1,000 times higher than only a few hundred years ago, when people began to alter Earth’s chemistry and crowd other creatures out of existence.

Measured by weight, or biomass, wild animals today only account for four percent of mammals on Earth, with humans (36%) and livestock (60%) making up the rest.”

Cold hard facts indicate that we’re heading toward some form of “mass extinction” event and it is squarely on mankind’s shoulder — we caused this and have no one to blame but ourselves.

“The Great Acceleration”

“We live in an age of rapid and unprecedented planetary change. Indeed, many scientists believe our ever-increasing consumption, and the resulting increased demand for energy, land and water, is driving a new geological epoch: the Anthropocene. It’s the first time in the Earth’s history that a single species – Homo sapiens – has had such a powerful impact on the planet.

We are living through the Great Acceleration – a unique event in the 4.5 billion-year history of our planet – with exploding human population and economic growth driving unprecedented planetary change through the increased demand for energy, land and water. This is so great that many scientists believe we are entering a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene. Some of these changes have been positive, some negative, and all of them are interconnected. What is increasingly clear is that human development and wellbeing are reliant on healthy natural systems, and we cannot continue to enjoy the former without the latter.”

“… But the onslaught of hunting, shrinking habitat, pollution, illegal trade and climate change — all caused by humans — has been too much to overcome, he acknowledged. “Scientists call it the ‘great acceleration’…”

– WWF’sLiving Planet Report 2018

Further data from the report is startling:

Did you know?
 ♦ Globally, nature provides services worth around US$125 trillion a year.

♦ In the 20th century, freshwater fish have had the highest extinction rate worldwide among vertebrates.

♦ Nearly 200 million people depend on coral reefs for protection against storm surge and waves.

♦ Rainforests are shrinking: almost 20% of the Amazon has disappeared in just 50 years.

♦ In the last 50 years, global average temperature has risen at 170 times the background rate.

♦ At least 70% of new small molecule drugs introduced over the past 25 years have come from a natural source.

♦ Almost 6 billion tonnes of fish and other seafood have been taken from the world’s oceans since 1950.

♦ Today, 90% of the world’s seabirds are estimated to have fragments of plastic in their stomach.

The kind of damage man has wrought against it’s own home is staggering. To say it’s a “negative” is an overwhelming understatement. Through our unbridled consumption, waste and abuse of this planet, we’re generating unfathomable negativity. Fortunately, there is a solution. We have to make every effort to conserve, protect and replenish — that means we must stop wasting, polluting, killing and eradicating. This issue isn’t a political one — it’s a scientific one. And, its one of survival. I hope more people choose survival, don’t you? What better time to start than this very week — the week we in the United States celebrate Thanksgiving.

Read the full report here and please consider sharing the report to help raise awareness of the crisis.

Read: Great Pacific Garbage Patch now three times the size of France

“He that plants trees loves others besides himself.”  – Thomas Fuller

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Can Limiting Social Media Decrease Loneliness and Depression? https://positivitypost.com/can-limiting-social-media-decrease-loneliness-and-depression/ Wed, 14 Nov 2018 10:01:29 +0000 https://positivitypost.com/?p=13633 https://www.facebook.com/Positivity-Post-850385048367345/A new study offers up more concrete proof that using social media can lead to increased depression and feelings of loneliness and isolation. Knowing this risk, why then do so many among us spend their time on these social media platforms?

We have to admit that something has changed dramatically in the world. There has been a dramatic increase in the number of people saying they feel depressed, stressed, anxious, unsettled and lonely. But, with “social media,” and the key word being “social,” how can this be? Shouldn’t we be feeling more connected and involved? Doesn’t it stand to reason that as we spend more time “together” online, that we’d feel happier?  Clearly not.

I’m not a scientist and I don’t play one on TV (j/k), but it seems evident that social media is a hollow promise — it may give us the means to “connect” more, but perhaps it’s not the right venue? People seemed far happier when we spent time together in person — when we spoke face-to-face and could see smiles, hear upbeat tones or see a twinkle in a friend’s eye, we truly connected in a meaningful way.

“It is a little ironic that reducing your use of social media actually makes you feel less lonely. Some of the existing literature on social media suggests there’s an enormous amount of social comparison that happens. When you look at other people’s lives, particularly on Instagram, it’s easy to conclude that everyone else’s life is cooler or better than yours.” – Melissa G. Hunt, Associate Director of Clinical Training, University of Pennsylvania s Psychology Department.

This makes perfect sense. We’re reading posts and looking at pictures of the lives of our “friends” and sometimes, we get jealous. “Doesn’t her life look so perfect!?” Sure, it looks perfect, but it’s not, because your friend put up only the best pictures and carefully crafted her words, thus making all seem idyllic. However, when we’re feeling a bit blue and we spend hours surfing social media, we see those posts and pictures and we begin to doubt our own lives — suddenly, everyone else’s life is great, but our own is crap. That of course is not the case, but that’s what we think at that time and as we know, perception becomes the reality…for a while anyway.

“Here’s the bottom line, using less social media than you normally would leads to significant decreases in both depression and loneliness. These effects are particularly pronounced for folks who were more depressed when they came into the study.” – Melissa G. Hunt

Do we avoid social media completely?

No. The study results don’t necessarily say that using social media is bad, per se, but we do need to be mindful of how much time we spend on those sites and that we should be aware of what we’re seeing/reading and how it is affecting us.

And, while the study didn’t conclude how much time on social media is too much time, Hunt says the findings draw two related conclusions that we should bear in mind:

“For one, reduce opportunities for social comparison. When you’re not busy getting sucked into clickbait social media, you’re actually spending more time on things that are more likely to make you feel better about your life. Secondly, because these tools are here to stay, it’s incumbent on society to figure out how to use them in a way that limits damaging effects. In general, I would say, put your phone down and be with the people in your life.” – Melissa G. Hunt

Personally, I’m concerned that social media is causing more harm than good. The questions we have to ask ourselves are: “Does the benefit outweigh the negatives?” And, “Are we missing out on the beauty of life by staring into a digital world that will never fulfill our needs as living, breathing human beings?”

 

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Can We Trust TV News? https://positivitypost.com/can-we-trust-tv-news/ Mon, 12 Nov 2018 10:01:00 +0000 https://positivitypost.com/?p=13306 https://www.facebook.com/Positivity-Post-850385048367345/“I don’t watch the news anymore.” A good friend of mind made this statement recently at a dinner party and his words were echoed by many around the table. In fact, more than half of the people there made the same declaration. So what’s going on?

Of course, this dinner party was not the first time I’ve heard people say they no longer watch the news — I hear that quite often these days. Interestingly, others around the table said they also don’t read the news online any longer and have turned once again to the good ole’ newspaper and surprisingly, the radio.

What does it all mean? Are the cable and network TV news programs finished? Doubtful, but something is definitely happening. Curious about this phenomenon, I took to Google to find out more and read one article of particular interest — “Hate the news? Blame TV,” by Jack Lule, summed it up nicely.

In essence, Mr. Lule, calling upon and quoting Neil Postman’s book, “Amusing Ourselves to Death, correctly calls into light the detrimental impact that TV, both cable and broadcast, has had on true, reliable journalism.

“In that 1985 book, Postman excoriated the American cultural transition from a print-based public discourse to one based on television, and predicted dire consequences for our political life in an “Age of Show Business.”

Sure, TV is cool — the technological aspect is amazing and the entertainment possibilities seem endless. But alas, TV has been in many ways, corrupted. When the guests at the dinner party said they stopped watching the news, most also added “but I’ve basically gotten rid of traditional TV and now stream everything.” So not only have they stopped watching the news, they’ve also pretty much ditched TV as we’ve known it for the last 60+ years.

“…“there is no subject of public interest  —  politics, news, education, religion, science, sports — that does not find its way to television. Which means that all public understanding of these subjects is shaped by the biases of television.”… Hate the news? Blame TV

In his article, Jack Lule asks “Did decades of television news bring us to our current, degraded public discourse?” I have to say that in many ways, yes it did. TV has been corrupted by greed — the people who create and air TV shows, movies, documentaries and the news, have put profit ahead of everything else. Quality programming has virtually disappeared. TV is filled with grotesque violence, gratuitous sex, vulgarity and debauchery — it quite literally has become a vast wasteland of trash. Sure, there are still some quality programs, but when once they were the norm, those are now the very rare exception.

As for the “news,” how can anyone trust what we’re being told when it’s become one big entertainment show devoid of true journalism? The news itself is bad enough, but I believe people are tuning out because they’ve lost faith in well founded, genuine news.

“…He argues that television news’ substitution of entertainment for information will have grave import, eventually eroding our very conception of reality and truth. He says, “We have so thoroughly accepted its definitions of truth, knowledge, and reality that irrelevance seems to us to be filled with import, and incoherence seems eminently sane.”…

“…There is no murder so brutal, no earthquake so devastating, no political blunder so costly — for that matter, no ball score so tantalizing or weather report so threatening — that it cannot be erased from our minds by a newscaster saying, ‘Now . . . this.”…” Hate the news? Blame TV

I really appreciate Jack Lule’s article and I highly recommend you read it in its entirety.

Now, back to the folks at the dinner party. So not only are people watching the news less, but they’re ditching traditional television and opting for streaming services that they feel put them more in control. I applaud this move. TV news seems manufactured these days — and I don’t mean as in “fake news.” I mean as in it’s been bundled up, stripped down, tweaked and modified to such an extent, that what we get is…well, I’m not quite sure actually.  I guess maybe we’re getting some truth? The question is, whose truth?

So bury our head in the sand?

Obviously, we need to be informed. It’s vital that we know what’s happening in the world, because the only way to live a truly positive life, is to confront and challenge negativity — we can’t simply pretend that everything is okay. But we have choices and those choices can empower us. Watching the news on TV is fine, as long as we recognize that there may be more to the story — more fact and truth. Given our options, we can read newspapers, listen to the news on the radio or read it online. The important thing is to look at more than just one source and to verify a story before we come to a conclusion based on what we’re being spoon fed by one TV “news” show. 

“I strongly believe that informed, educated citizens (who would never dream of asking others to do their thinking for them) are nation-builders.”  ― George Stamatis

 

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Personal Finance Roundup VII https://positivitypost.com/personal-finance-roundup-vii/ Fri, 09 Nov 2018 10:01:48 +0000 https://positivitypost.com/?p=13609 https://www.facebook.com/Positivity-Post-850385048367345/We’ve had some very positive feedback on our “personal finance roundup” series and we’re pleased that reader’s find this “digest” approach so helpful. There are some really terrific resources out there and this latest roundup includes 12 of those articles.

These are helpful and interesting articles on personal finance matters and we’re confident you’ll find them to be quite useful.

»» 7 Life Skills You Can Learn for Free

»» 8 Things You No Longer Need to Keep in Your Wallet

»» Mobile banking scams | 11 ways to protect your money from hackers

»» How to Manage Cash, Your Most Overlooked Asset

»» Here’s When You Should Hire A Financial Advisor (And How Much It Costs)

»» As Prices and Rates Rise, Homebuyers Get Squeezed From Every Direction

»» Why claiming Social Security can be tricky for couples

»» 3 Big Reasons To Think Twice About Investing In A Roth IRA

»» Retirement Today Doesn’t Come as Easily as It Did in Past Decades

»» Make yourself indispensable at work, no matter your age

»» You Don’t Need to Buy Something to Change Yourself

»» Protect Yourself From Stock Market Volatility

]]> Doing Good for Goodness Sake https://positivitypost.com/doing-good-for-goodness-sake/ Mon, 05 Nov 2018 10:01:31 +0000 https://positivitypost.com/?p=13581 https://www.facebook.com/Positivity-Post-850385048367345/Do you believe that if you do good, that good will come back to you in the form of a reward? Should we expect good to come back to us, or should we do good deeds, simply because that’s the right thing to do — do good, just for the sake of it?

Personally, I believe that people should always seek to do good — to help, uplift, inspire, protect, encourage and, love and to do so with no expectation of reward or recognition. After all, if every person on this planet did just one act of kindness every day, can you imagine how much better our world would be?

The story of the Ant and the Dove is a simple tale, but one with a powerful message.

The Ant and the Dove

One day an ant came to the bank of a river to drink water. The river current seemed to be high that afternoon and ant suddenly slipped and fell into the water. The ant was being swept rapidly away by the stream and feared that it might be its last day.

Thankfully, a kind dove sitting on the branch of a tree saw the ant falling into the river. The dove quickly plucked a leaf and dropped it into the river near the struggling ant so he could climb onto it. The Ant thanked the dove, who then carefully pulled the leaf out of the stream to the shore. The ant’s life was saved by the kind dove.

Later, the same day, a bird catcher nearby was about to throw his net over the dove hoping to trap it. An ant saw him and guessed what he was about to do. The dove was resting and he had no idea about the bird catcher. An ant quickly bit him on the foot. Feeling the pain, the bird catcher dropped his net and let out a light scream. The dove noticed it and quickly flew away.

The moral of the story? If you do good, good may come to you.  One good turn deserves another. And, do good simply for the sake of doing good.

 

“Kindness is universal. Sometimes being kind allows others to see the goodness in humanity through you. Always be kinder than necessary. Germany Kent

“Lift up your eyes and see the good in the world, for we are people with an amazing capacity to do great good. And if only the minority choose to exercise this capacity to the smallest degree, oh how wondrous and sweet the deeds performed at but a few hands!” ― Richelle E. Goodrich

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