How Powerful Are Your Thoughts?
We all know that hanging around complainers causes people to catch their negativity. Bitching, moaning, and general drama are contagious. Buts that’s apparently not the only problems you can catch if you spend too much time with the eternally pessimistic, you might also pick up a host of health problems too.
Negativity has been conclusively shown to rewire your brain, making it easier to see the bad in the world and harder to see the good. (The opposite is also true – positivity is a muscle that grows with use.) Buy science is just as certain that negative feelings like anger, hostility, and cynicism are also terrible for your body.
Negativity Can Kill You…
Take anger, for example. Being with people who tick you off wastes precious mental energy, but it can also take a toll on the body in the form of high blood pressure, stress, anxiety, headaches and poor circulation. Research also shows that even one five – minute episode of anger is so stressful that it can impair your immune system for more than six hours. All of those health issues can lead to more serious problems such as heart attacks and stroke,
Distrust is also harmful. Research shows that high levels of cynicism later in life… to a greater risk of dementia compared to those who were more trusting. A study that was done a few years ago showed data from nearly 100,000 women and found that the most cynical participants were more likely to have heart disease that least cynical individuals.
One study of Chinese Americans even found that those who believed in Chinese astrology and whose birthdays were considered “inauspicious” actually died earlier than non – Chinese Americans born at the same time taking in account lifestyle factors and other variables. It’s not because there’s anything to astrology. It’s because negativity and pessimism can quite literally hasten your death.
…And negativity is catching
All of which is completely terrifying. But it’s even scarier if you consider just how contagious these feelings can be.
The more time you spend with negative people around you, the more you will become like them. Psychologist Elaine Hatfield has done research. She has found out that we start to imitate facial expressions, posture, and even tone of voice of those we spend a lot of time with. Most importantly, we adopt their mental state as well. Since we’re empathetic people, we feel with them. If they’re in a bad mood, so will we be.
The most reasonable conclusion to reach from all this science is that it’s past time to ditch the more negative people in your life. Or if you’re pretty much stuck with some of them, take pre-conscious measures to neutralize their negativity and learn to channel your own anger in a more healthful way. Finally, if you have to complain together, opt for the only kind of complaining that’s actually good for you.