Want to change the world? Start with what you choose to feed your mind! The input you give it shapes how you see the world. And how you see the world has a big impact on what you see as possible, and by extension the choices you make and the actions you take.
So if you want to change the world, it just makes good sense to feed your mind brainfood that leaves you feeling positive and inspired about the possibilities.
You are what you eat (and so is your mind!)
I just ran across an article that mentions research that supports the connection between what a person feeds their mind and their likeliness to take action to make the world a better place:
“In a study I carried out at the University of Pennsylvania, different versions of the same news story were tested on a sample of 710 people. It found that the classical negative news story left people feeling hopeless and passive.
In contrast, articles with a constructive peak midway and a hopeful ending was deemed good reporting and left readers feeling informed. The data overall suggested that readers of the more positive article were left with more energy to engage and take action.
A growing body of research points to the same finding. This year researchers at the University of Texas, Austin released a study in which a solution-based ending was applied to classic news articles reporting on homelessness in the US, mental struggles for US school children and living conditions for poor people in India. Across the board readers reported higher levels of inspiration, a desire to learn more about the issue and higher levels of engagement when it came to sharing, commenting and discussing the issue.”
So if you want to show up in a way that maximizes the impact you can make, it makes sense to ask, “How does what I’m pouring into my brain make me feel? What impact does it have on me? What effect does it have on my desire to and belief in my ability to make a change?”
Stop cultivating learned helplessness
There’s a psychological term called “learned helplessness.” The simplest way to describe it is a learned feeling of, “It doesn’t matter what I do. Nothing is going to change.”
An experiment done a few decades ago demonstrated the effect of learned helplessness. I won’t go into all the details (they’re not pretty), but it involved electrifying increasing portions of the floor of rats’ cages until there was no place they could retreat to. When they learned that couldn’t escape it, they gave up.
Reading about the research on how we respond to the news, it occurs to me that something similar (if less obviously horrific) can happen to us as we watch the news.
In general, the news is high on tragedy and turmoil, low on solutions. If that makes up most of what we’re exposed to, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to imagine what effect that has on our energy and inclination towards taking action.
If you want to change the world, change what you feed your mind. If you want to explore news alternatives to the standard toxic fare, check out this list of positive news sources to nourish your mind.
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