How consuming negative news makes you less effective at work?

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It is known that reading negative news broadcasts can have a direct effect on one’s stress level. Now a new research has been done to find out out how consuming negative news can effect your performance at the workplace.

In a recent research (involving Ariana Huffington as a collaborator) , 110 participants were placed randomly into either of the two conditions – one group watched solutions-focused news (no cute puppies , rainbows etc) while the other group watched negative news for 3 minutes before 10 A.M. The solutions-focused consisted of stories of resilience to build the belief among participants that our behavior matters.

6 hours later, participants were asked to fill a survey via email within 2 hours. The survey was a battery of positive psychology metrics made to measure things like mood and stress.

It was found that individuals who had consumed negative news were 27% much likely to report their day as unhappy 8 hours later as compared to their counterparts.

Why does this happen?

Most of the negative news exhibit a scenario where our own behavior does not matter (e.g – ISIS Attacks) and we feel powerless in changing those outcomes. This is associated with “learned helplessness” , a psychological concept given by Martin Seligman , that refers to the belief that our behavior is irrelevant in the face of challenges. It has been connected with higher chances of depression and low performance. On the other hand, prominent research (link to research) that links optimism to higher work performance does exist.

How to tackle this?

Try these three simple, research backed steps-

1) Turn off the news alerts (emails, notifications etc)
2) Cancel the noise around you (meditating is an effective method to do this)
3) Start your day with more positive news. Skipping negative news regarding which you cannot do anything is also recommended.

Summarised up to 71% by Brevity from – Consuming Negative News Can Make You Less Effective at Work