Have you ever heard of frequency illusion? It’s the term for that phenomenon where, as an example, you buy a new car and suddenly see the same kind of car everywhere or read about something new and then hear someone mention that same subject soon afterwards? It’s also known as the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon (but frequency illusion might be a bit easier to remember!). Regardless of what it’s called it all has to do with selective memory and our brain’s affinity for pattern recognition. If you get a chance, do a Google search – it’s pretty interesting stuff.
But it got me to thinking…
Maybe this is why all the bad news we see/hear/read starts to feel so overwhelming.
Maybe we’re using selective memory with all the negative information the same way we use it with the interesting stuff we actually seek out.
I quit reading the news a long time ago for this very reason but occasionally something will slip through the cracks. And just a crack’s-worth of information is all it takes to settle me into a funk for quite a long time.
And unfortunately, a little bit of funk can soon become the foundation for a lot more funk to build on.
Allowing negativity to settle in isn’t difficult at all; it requires almost no effort whatsoever to view our world and see all that is bad. One story will build on another story and soon it seems that ALL stories are the same – the cast of characters may be different but the storyline is identical; it becomes ‘fill in the blank – insert bad news here’ story after miserable story. And with anything that gets repeated and repeated and repeated…its gets old and tiring and HEAVY – sometimes too heavy to bear.
But we tend to think that when we ‘worry about something’ we’re somehow actively doing something beneficial to the cause. We actually think that our ‘worry’ serves some sort of purpose; that it somehow helps the situation.
If I ‘worry’ about your problem – can you ‘feel’ me worrying? Can you feel me being concerned about you? Does it help you?
No. You can’t. And it doesn’t.
The only person who can feel the heaviness of worry and concern is the person doing it.
It serves absolutely no beneficial purpose whatsoever. It is not beneficial or helpful in any way – to any one! Worry and concern are weight-bearing emotions that break us down by adding stress to our lives. Do you need more stress? Don’t we have enough to manage without adding the extra weight of the world to the load?
So how can we avoid this sort of thing? How do we not allow worry and stress to consume our lives? What can we do to keep from feeling as though we are being inundated with negativity all the time?
Besides turning off the constant stream of negativity from all outside sources (or, at the very least, limiting those feeds considerably) the key is to become keenly observant to what is good. When we see or hear something positive we want more of the same.
We should train ourselves to seek out the positive and allow it to become the foundation for more of the same to build on. And not just in a new-agey-feel-good kind of way either – but in a more habit-building, Pavlovian-conditioning kind of way. We need to actively seek it out; go out of our way to find it and make it a consistent part of our day to day life.
Some might say this is a ‘head-in-the-sand’ way to live. But I say it’s the only way to live.
Try actively searching for and noticing all (or only) that which is good about your day even if that means having to give the benefit of the doubt when you may ‘know better’. There is a popular saying now to ‘fake it til you make it’ and there may be no better time in our history than now to put it to use!
Prime example…The above image was taken at our local garbage dump (stinky smell and flies included) or was it?? It’s all in your perspective!