The world is big and there’s so much going on that it’s impossible to keep track of every moment. Luckily, there are “repositories” that store them so we can catch up.
Take the r/BeAmazed subreddit, for example. It has over 3.2 million members, and they constantly share the content that moves them the most. From animals to travel to history and sports, these folks cover a wide variety of topics and since the community was founded in 2015, they’ve collected quite a bit of archive.
When we at bored panda stumbled upon it, we immediately knew that you, our dear readers, would enjoy it as much as we did, so without further ado, keep scrolling and check out a collection of r/BeAmazed’s most popular posts.
These images may seem innocuous, but taking a break from the negativity that surrounds us can do a lot of good for our mental well-being.
According to Austin Perlmutter, MD, who is a board-certified internal medicine physician who focuses on helping others improve decision-making and quality of life, it doesn’t take a lot of news coverage to come to believe that the world is rapidly descending into catastrophe and chaos, even though many aspects of life have improved dramatically in recent decades.
“Exposure to constant and sensational pessimism and negativity has become the norm for those who follow the news,” Perlmutter wrote.
Research proves that what we see on the news can have a significant impact on our mental health.
“While negative news can influence our thinking through multiple mechanisms, an important consideration is how it interfaces with our cognitive biases, keeping our attention on everything that’s wrong while blinding us to everything that’s wrong. good things around us,” Perlmutter explained.
The doctor provided three specific cognitive biases that are activated by negative news to keep us unhappy and advice on how to start making changes to break the cycle:
1. Negativity bias does not allow us to turn off negative news.
“Negativity bias refers to the fact that humans focus more on negative events, information, or emotions than on their positive counterparts. In more dangerous times, this bias may have provided an evolutionary advantage (e.g., we were more likely to notice potential threats to our security.) But in the modern world, our preference for the negative has been exploited to hold our attention,” Perlmutter said.
This helps explain why the news consistently emphasizes stories about the worst things happening in the world, both globally (wars) and locally (robberies). “Not only are we looking for the negative, but the media is actively trying to give us more of it. It’s a double dose.”
2. Due to availability bias, after seeing the negativity, we overestimate its significance.
“Availability bias (also called availability heuristics) is the tendency of people to overestimate the importance of examples that immediately come to mind when considering a topic,” Perlmutter said. “These examples are, of course, influenced by what you’ve paid attention to most recently, as well as the things you’ve paid attention to the most.”
“So if you just watched a news report about local thefts and then were asked about the problems in your town, you might say that thefts are a major problem, even though they are, in general, If you constantly watch negative news, availability bias means that your brain may be more likely to remember horrific events and then believe that these relatively infrequent events actually represent the general state of affairs. “
3. Confirmation bias means we will find a way to support the negativity.
According to the doctor, confirmation bias is the idea that we will actively seek out, remember, and favor evidence that confirms something we already believe. “If you’ve decided that robbery is common in your hometown, confirmation bias makes you more likely to hold on to data that supports that belief,” Perlmutter pointed out. “Your brain will selectively focus on information that helps your pre-existing theory, ignoring conflicting facts.”
We can also apply this on a larger scale: if you think the world is a horrible place, confirmation bias means you’ll seek proof that it’s true while making it harder to hear perspectives that suggest otherwise.
According to Perlmutter, the first step to reducing the harmful effects of negativity bias is to simply limit your consumption of negativity at the source. “It’s one thing to be informed, but it’s quite another to expose yourself to sensational negativity for hours a day,” he stressed.
“Before and after listening to the news, ask yourself what you really learned. If you were mostly confirming what you already believed, it probably wasn’t a very useful experience. Consider turning off the news when you feel you get angry or upset.Better yet, try going on a news fast for a week and see how you feel.
To reduce the risk of availability bias, try to put negative information into context. Consider this: Bad things happen every day, but that doesn’t mean life is necessarily bad or getting worse.
“When you hear a negative statistic…regarding a recent disaster, you shouldn’t just write it off, but rather try to figure out if it’s an isolated data point or if it’s really part of a bigger picture. larger trend. The idea is that if you store new information in a more objective way, it will give you a more balanced perspective when you use it later as a reference,” Perlmutter said.
Finally, there is confirmation bias. With so many opinions and data points floating around both online and in real life, it’s easy to find a detail that supports virtually any opinion. But Perlmutter thinks that makes it all the more important to create strategies to reduce the negative impact of this bias on the way we think.
“A powerful way to start reducing the effects of confirmation bias is to periodically challenge your beliefs,” he said. “What are the facts on which your opinions are based? For example, after seeing several horrific articles about recent crimes, you may think your hometown has become…a more dangerous place to live, but have you actually examined real data to support this idea?”
Dear pandas, questioning your point of view can be difficult, but it is worth it.