We all read bad news that ruins our mood. Our first instinct when we feel that unpleasant mood come on is often to close the tab and move on. However, it might be better to read it all the way through.
Photo by Frédéric de Villamil
A study from Tel Aviv University’s School of Psychological Sciences suggests that if you come across something that has a negative effect on your mood, repeated exposure to it can lessen the effect it has on you. As Psych Central reports:
“A bad mood is known to slow cognition,” said Moshe Shay Ben-Haim, Ph.D.
“We show that, counterintuitively, you can avoid getting into a bad mood in the first place by dwelling on a negative event.
“If you look at the newspaper before you go to work and see a headline about a bombing or tragedy of some kind, it’s better to read the article all the way through and repeatedly expose yourself to the negative information. You will be freer to go on with your day in a better mood and without any negative effects.”
How effective this method is can depend on the nature of the bad news. Obviously repeated exposure to a personal bad event can have a more damaging effect the more you dwell on it. For just general unpleasantness, though, it can be helpful to get upset and get over it, rather than try to force yourself not to think about elephants.
Repeated Exposure to Negative Events May Prevent Bad Mood [Psych Central]