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Topics that trend the most on the news and social media tend to be those filled with negativity and fear, subject matters that push our emotional buttons, but the Bible shows how to escape this pattern and find positivity.

Psychology at work: Negativity and fear

There’s a reason certain subjects tend to trend and go viral more than others – it all comes down to human psychology. Advertisers, marketers, and news media understand this only too well and have perfected the techniques of garnering attention. 

Nothing motivates us more than generating fear, which taps into our fight versus flight response which is a part of our natural survival mechanism.

Psychologists also referred to what they call “negativity bias” over our tendency to react more readily to negative stimuli and pay more attention to them than positive ones. Not only do bad things grab our attention, they also stick in our memories and influence our decisions more than positive data, Very Well Mind reports.

But a steady diet of focusing on negativity isn’t healthy for us.

Famed motivational coach Tony Robbins has long argued that the two main motivating factors for humans are “the need to avoid pain” and “the desire to seek pleasure.” Robbins says people will do more to avoid pain than gain pleasure. Again, making the point that negativity tends to motivate us more than positivity. But Robbins says the positivity of pleasure is what is needed for leveraging long-term motivation.

Using the Bible to escape the pattern of negativity and fear

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

–Philippians 4:8

An old adage says: “You are what you eat.” This concept extends beyond nutrition and the same truth applies to include what we mentally consume.

Another saying proclaims: “Garbage in, garbage out.” If we are consuming “negative mental garbage” how can we expect any positivity to come out of that?

Too much of a steady mental diet of negativity only tends to make people angry, suspicious, fearful, and despairing.

You need to surround yourself with positive influence. The Bible tells us:

“Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.'”

– 1 Corinthians 15:33

While “bad company” can refer to actual physical companions, our “virtual” companions on social media also apply. “Bad company” can also be new sources and websites that bombard us with negativity and cynical ideals.

“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”

–Proverbs 13:20

The company we keep can elevate our thinking if we choose the right companions.

The first and foremost companion for hope, positivity and a tolerant, loving attitude is the Bible. It is full of timeless wisdom based on an understanding of something that never changes – human nature.