By Camille Aubin
Our community has recently seen its fair share of tragedies, thefts, crimes and bad decisions from a few of our citizens, but it is important not to let the dark side win.
Is it the arrival of warm temperatures and spring? Is it connected to something, or is it connected to nothing at all? Who knows!
Although terrible things happen to everyone from time to time, some people may have gotten the impression that our community is on the wrong track lately, thanks to what feels like a never-end flurry of bad news in recent weeks.
Sadly, the negative always stands out more than the positive.
There are scientific theories as to why the adverse seems to outweigh the positive in a great many people’s mental balancing books. This is known as the negativity bias. Negativity bias describes how we are biologically programmed to place more emphasis and react quicker and more strongly to information that we perceive as unfavourable, as opposed to information we perceive as positive. It is – or instead, it was – a matter of survival. For large stretches of history, human beings simply had to be more receptive to unfortunate news, more easily affected by criticism than compliments, and more receptive of and reactive to what makes us afraid or upset than what makes us happy.
So, yes, recently there have been car thefts, hate crimes and tons of garbage thrown out of the window without consideration. Still, there has also been a person who bought a coffee for the customer behind him in the line, just to brighten up someone’s day. There were also many people who volunteered for a number of great organizations, several more who lent a helping hand to a neighbor in need, and more glorious. Many good deeds have gone unnoticed this past weekend, but many of us will recall instead the graffiti at J.A. Laird school. (Read story on page 4.)
This is also why you recently saw the ‘Jeers’ section in the Pioneer retired, replaced by ‘Cheers without Tears.’ We want to highlight the beauty and the good in our community. Bad deeds already take up too much space in the news cycle, and it’s time to highlight the fantastic efforts of our fellow citizens.
Take the time to express your gratitude to those who create and share the positive aspects of life. If you recognize the negativity bias in yourself, try increasing your optimism by questioning the pessimistic thoughts that pop up in your head. How about a gratitude journal or simply asking yourself the question before turning in for the night: “What am I grateful for today?”.