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April 22, 2013 by JOSH RICHARDSON
Are Negative Thoughts Contagious?


Many experts in social psychology have repeatedly stated that we get lured by negative emotions which affect our perception of pain more than positive emotions. A study published in the journal Clinical Psychological Science, showed that the way the people around us respond to stressful events -- whether those people react negatively or positively -- may be contagious, and that genetic, biological and environmental factors all likely play a role in a person's level of cognitive vulnerability.



If we look at the physical world, many of us find a way to find negativity present -- ordered things have shown the natural tendency to become disordered sooner or later. Some of us think that's ok and others not. There's entropy; there's chaos in the universe.

It is interesting to see that the human mind which is considered to be the most ordered and conscious system in the world is not left untouched by the negative effect of nature. Negativity is all-pervasive, it seems.

The ability to regulate emotions is essential to both mental and physical well-being. Conversely, difficulties with emotion regulation have been postulated as a core mechanism underlying mood and anxiety disorders.

The ability to identify and distinguish between negative emotions helps us address the problem that led to those emotions in the first place. But while some people can tell the difference between feeling angry and guilty, others may not be able to separate the two. Distinguishing between anger and frustration is even harder. Emotions can also become problematic -- for example, for people with depression who can’t stop thinking about negative thoughts.

Contagious?

The increased risk of depression that comes with negative thinking also seems to rub off.

In the study in Clinical Psychological Science, researchers looked at 103 pairs of college-freshmen roommates' "cognitive vulnerability," which is the tendency to think that negative events are a reflection of a person's own deficiency or that they will lead to more negative events. Those with high cognitive vulnerability are at an increased risk of depression, studies have found.

"We found that participants' level of cognitive vulnerability was significantly influenced by their roommates’ level of cognitive vulnerability, and vice versa," the researchers wrote. All roommates in the study were selected randomly; students did not choose their roommates. Only three months of living together was needed for this contagiousness to be seen.

The researchers also found that those who experienced an increase in cognitive vulnerability during the first three months of college had nearly twice the level of depressive symptoms at six months, compared with those who did not experience an increase in cognitive vulnerability, according to the study. The effect was particularly strong when participants were under high-stress conditions.

Prior to this study, it was thought that cognitive vulnerability didn't change much once a person passed early adolescence. However, the new findings suggest that during big transitions in life -- when a person is continually exposed to a new social situation -- cognitive vulnerability can be altered, the researchers said.

They noted that genetic, biological and environmental factors all likely play a role in a person's level of cognitive vulnerability.

Further research is needed to determine whether cognitive vulnerability may change over time, the researchers said, noting that college freshmen are in a unique social environment.

"Our findings are consistent with a growing number of studies that have found that many psychological and biological factors previously thought to be set in stone by adulthood continue to be malleable," the researchers said.

Managing The Negative Vibes of Others

Negative energy that a person radiates directly affect his immediate environment and yet the state of the person is also dependent on its immediate environment. Thus, it can be assumed that a person who is troubled would spread disturbances into their immediate surroundings, and as its effect would in turn get more disturbed; and all this would have a chaotic and cumulative effect on the whole environment.

The above clearly tells us why the present state of the world is what it is today. We, the selfish beings of today cannot think beyond ourselves and just want peace for the self, failing to understand that if there is disturbance around us how can we ever be peaceful!

Being at peace is only possible if there is peace all around us. Meditation is a very powerful tool. Here is are some suggestions:

Sit in a comfortable position preferably cross legged on the floor. Closing your eyes and think of a peaceful place or thing in nature. Gently inhale and exhale such that your breathing takes on a soft rhythmic movement. Become aware of the entire creation in front of you. Feel one with the whole creation and focus in a relaxed state.

- Visualize peace in the universe

- Visualize peace on mother earth and our oceans
- Visualize peace in the plant kingdom
- Visualize peace among all life forms

In a 2008 study published in the journal PloS One, researchers found that when meditators heard the sounds of people suffering, they had stronger activation levels in their temporal parietal junctures, a part of the brain tied to empathy, than people who did not meditate.

These studies demonstrate that regular meditation effectively supports mental, emotional and physical health in numerous tangible ways. In building upon this strong body of evidence, researchers are continuing to deepen our understanding of the profound and inspirational benefits of regular meditation practice in everyday life.

Josh Richardson is blogger, healer, and a constant pursuer of the natural state of human consciousness.


Reference Sources 125, 138, 202
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