I recently shared on my Facebook page a July decision to remove my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter apps for a few weeks during a social media fast. I greatly value social media as a vehicle for maintaining connections with friends, family and acquaintances.
But despite its notable benefits, I felt compelled to provide myself a much needed respite from the incessant barrage of negative news stories, tweets, posts, and shares......and the overall noxious rhetoric which permeates much of the internet dialogue in these tense and turbulent times.
It’s a simmering cauldron of toxicity, stirred anew…DAILY… by “leaders” and media outlets…each propagating their version of fear, chaos, and anxiety…and in many cases, doing so in vitriolic fashion.
It’s mentally exhausting to absorb the constant onslaught of negativity while the professionals who should possess the wisdom to know better….lead better….and DO better….CHOOSE not to.
Help From Happiness Research—Yes, That’s a Thing!
Enter Sean Achor, happiness researcher and author of the book, “The Happiness Advantage.” Aside from author, did you notice his OTHER occupation—“happiness researcher”?
NO---that’s not a typo…..YES, you read that correctly! Happiness Researcher! Ever heard of him?
I didn’t know “happiness research” was a thing…but it is….and Sean’s taught classes on it at Harvard….and trained Fortune 100 corporations on it worldwide…..and written a New York Times bestselling book about it….and…..discussed it with Oprah on her SuperSoul Sunday broadcast!
I say all of THAT to say… I figured he might possess some counsel worth heeding on this subject
In the book, he shares results of a study that shows exposure to just 3 minutes of negative news stories in the morning, increases one’s likelihood of reporting having had a bad day 6-8 hrs later by 27%.
That’s pretty amazing! A 27% decrease in happiness, all those hours later, from a mere 3 minutes of early morning exposure! If ever you needed a reason NOT to start your day with negative news stories---this is it!
Discovering Sean’s research during my social media fast, served as divine confirmation for me of WHY I initially felt a pressing internal nudge to completely disengage from all social media platforms for a while.
I believe that what you focus on expands. That has certainly been my experience. I recognize that I can’t subsist on a mental diet of negativity, chaos, and discord, and expect to create works of hope, inspiration, and encouragement. My brain is just not wired to work that way.
The Genesis of Hope Infusion
The two words “Hope Infusion” dropped into my consciousness last year long before I had any clue what they were about, or would eventually mean to me. I recently found and reviewed the text I sent to my mentor the day I received that divine download last August.
It's now just over a year later. Time has indeed revealed the significance of those words.
"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
I am inspired to use the healing power of the pen to shine a light of hope, into the verbal darkness that is increasingly pervasive in online spaces.
Focus too much on the national news or your social media feeds, and you can live totally oblivious to the scores of kindhearted, selfless people, engaging in sacrificial acts of service, miraculously overcoming trauma and hardships, and defying odds of a variety of sorts on a daily basis.
I paused one day to take stock of how many of these inspirational over comers I know personally and was shocked at how effortlessly I was able to rattle off two dozen without even thinking hard.
I often joke that I’m devoid of artistic ability since I'm sorely lacking in visual artistry skills. But that’s not true.
I am an artist.
My canvas is the blank screen.
My brush is the keystrokes I use to fill the page.
My art is the stories of hope I am now telling and will yet tell.
Words are being used daily, (in some cases hourly), as a bludgeoning tool to beat down, insult, marginalize, stir up strife, and sow division.
But here’s the thing ……the only thing anyone has to do to dispel the darkness is turn on the light. That’s it!
I invite you to join me on a journey of inspiration as I bring attention to stories filled with faith, courage and the hope infused resilience of overcoming.