A fascinating article on PsychologyToday.com asks: “What’s the most dangerous word in the world?” Turns out, “NO” is the most dangerous word in the world. Why? Because brains and bodies react quickly to negativity. Even a frown releases stress chemicals into our brains and the brains of those around us.
“Curiously, we seem to be hardwired to worry,” the article explains, “perhaps an artifact of old memories carried over from ancestral times when there were countless threats to our survival.”
While our brains are sensitive to negativity, we’re almost numb to positivity! “The brain barely responds to our positive words and thoughts. They’re not a threat to our survival, so the brain doesn’t need to respond as rapidly as it does to negative thoughts and words.”
Yet, positive thoughts are proven to motivate and relieve physical and emotional stress. “According to Sonja Lyubomirsky, one of the world’s leading researchers on happiness, if you want to develop lifelong satisfaction, you should regularly engage in positive thinking about yourself, share your happiest events with others, and savor every positive experience in your life.”
So how do we make our positive thoughts stick? Repetition! The article suggests that at least five positive thoughts are necessary to combat one negative thought.
I recently wrote about replacing negative self-talk with positive mantras. This article takes the idea a step farther – well, five steps farther! Living with narcolepsy (or any chronic illness), we must be particularly conscious to track our negative to positive thoughts ratio. When it comes to positive thinking, five time’s the charm for a meaningful impact. Our brains are fascinating and I love learning more each day.
Read article: The Most Dangerous Word in the World, by Mark Waldman and Andrew Newberg, M.D. July 31, 2012.