Looking for a way to feel better and make those around you happier too? Turn off the TV and turn to your closest friends and share some good news. Science suggests sharing positive experiences brings joy to you and the people around you.
Albert Schweitzer, a German physician and Nobel Peace Prize winner, had it right when he said, “Happiness is the only thing that multiplies when you share it.” As it turns out, plenty of research backs up this idea that sharing good news contributes to greater wellbeing for all.
Research by Nathaniel Lambert from Brigham Young University proves the perks of sharing positive experiences. Over a four week period, participants kept a journal of grateful experiences and shared them with a partner twice a week. Those who did both increased in happiness and life satisfaction. Not only that, but those who received the good news also reported better moods. In other words, sharing good news with others not only makes you feel better, but also improves the wellbeing of those around you.
Many people have a tendency to attach greater weight to negative experiences. Focusing on grateful experiences both by writing them down and sharing them with others helps counteract this tendency by drawing attention to the good things in life.
Sarah Arpin, a social psychologist from Gonzaga University, further asserts the benefits of sharing good news. She conducted a study of service members and how they adapted after returning from fighting overseas or assisting during natural disasters. Those among the participants who could share good news with emotionally supportive partners had better overall health and more success in the workplace after returning home.
Arpin elaborates, “When you share something good, and the recipient of information is actively happy for you, it heightens the positive experience for both parties. However, when someone ‘rains on your parade’ that can have negative consequences.”
Why You Should Avoid Too Much Bad News
Today, with so much exposure to television, social media, and radio, people must consider their level of exposure to bad news, or news as a whole. Many media outlets, in pursuit of better ratings, report a much higher percentage of bad news.
In fact, data collected by Pew Research Center shows that the media’s top ranking topics with the most coverage include disaster news (39 percent of coverage), money news (34 percent of coverage), and conflict news (33 percent of coverage).
While tuning into current events may help stay informed, it can also have negative effects on the psyche.
Images of war, disaster, and suffering flood media channels, causing a negative impression of the current world. A study from the University of Maryland reveals that these disturbing images and sounds cause anxiety and increase cortisol, the chemical in the brain which is also called the stress hormone.
That doesn’t mean complacency or completely ignoring the world’s problems. Instead, a responsible, self-aware person can actively choose which sources to hear, see or read about, and to monitor their level of exposure to negative information.
Further, balancing sources with positive media outlets can definitely offset the negative effects of bad news and preserve mental health.
The Anecdote? Sharing Joy Brings More Joy!
Every day good things happen that go unnoticed. Even small victories like getting a good night’s rest, drinking the perfect cup of coffee, enjoying a sunset … all those little things can become positive experiences to share with others.
In doing so, we not only lift our own spirits, but give those around us a chance to experience that joy with us. In this way, we actively become the anecdote to bad news through sharing positive experiences with others.