Is More Negativity What We Need?

Negativity is becoming so prevalent on social media these days, especially with the presidential election campaign in high gear and major issues at stake.  The volume of messages from all angles is staggering that contain downright cruel, condescending damning statements of other individuals that most know very little of and yet seem to feel it is well within their right to make deep seeded judgments about.  It is as if the masses become judges or Godlike with the ability to condemn others for sinning.

Messages are sent out on the digital media sites saying the poor that benefit from social welfare programs are fat and lazy.  Never have so many people who need help and are in dire straits due to no fault of their own been so harshly judged because of some that take advantage of the system.  Do these derogatory statements have any lasting effect on the people that read them that use these programs? Or, other messages being posted and circulated slamming people for their opposing viewpoints asking if people are morons for following so and so, etc?

There is a duality in our brain as to how we view the world, positive and negative.  This seems pretty simple but it is, like our bodies, pretty complex.  So many things shape our perception. Anthropologist Clause Levi-Strauss research and studies show, and many others confirm,  negativity always seems to win over positivity.  

Science steps into this equation too. Many researchers want to know how much of negative thoughts are influenced by the brain pathology. Ohio State conducted a study on the “negativity bias” of our brains.  They actually located a certain area of the brain that gets stimulated and found increased neural firing when negative images are viewed.  The end result of this type of knowledge gained from this study is there’s more information processing taking place on negative stimuli than positive inputs into the brain.

CNN, MSNBC, ABC and social media is abuzz with one thing in common: negativity. Thus, even if you switch to a positive channel or image, your brain is still hardwired for the negative for a time.  You are, in a sense, supercharged  with negativity. This is also true of all the negative messages on social media, they trigger your brain to stay in the negative mode.

The significance of this is not good for our society, our relationships and our health.   Much as, in years past, aggressive video games were found to be a link to violent behavior with children, subconsciously the same is true with adults and negative messaging centers in the brain. Science is uncovering that the major downside of negative messaging is it penetrates the way we think and act without us even being fully aware of it.

Step back and recall news programs in the past. Reporters came on and simply told the who, what, when, where and why. Thus, they were given the name “report-er.”  Today, these employees with the same title work for stations with a slant on the news, biased reporting and wanting to promote scandalous stories.  Accuracy is not nearly as big of an issue; a sense of decency towards anyone doesn’t matter as much as increased ratings.  Questions that are asked of people are unfathomable sometimes.  Tact is not important and someone without it gets more airtime than someone diplomatic because it sells.

On the political campaign, the slant is so obvious on news outlets that it almost feels like the media is deciding who voters should vote for based on their coverage, air time and their political pundits.  Is this how the country is supposed to work? Where is fair representation and putting forward positive messaging of issues and all candidates so America can learn about each? 

Many candidates are torn to shreds even before the election in voters' state has started.  This makes supporters feel like losers if the candidate is low in poll rankings they follow when the media and social messages start attacking him/her.  

Young people see the television coverage and the posts on social media. For many, this is the first time they will vote. Psychologists know early adulthood development has more difficulty with sound reasoning.  Influencing new voters with pounding negative messages is not a sound foundation for this young people or our country. They deserve better and so does our country.

The pervasiveness on social media and news fronts of hostility is alarming. Apparently it is fast becoming a feeding frenzy with an insatiable appetite developing across the county. People are less concerned about others feelings and when someone expresses a disagreement or an opposing view, they are receiving horrendous feedback, irrelevant of the topic.   Hating other candidates, other races, and others that don't share your views is individual's rights but to express them publicly and damn them is bullying behavior that is detrimental to our society at large.  You have no way of knowing who or how badly you are hurting someone.  

 There are so many people suffering from mental illness in the world.  These people, just like many others, are concerned about homelessness, health insurance, joblessness, police shootings, economy, terrorism, etc...  For some, social media has been a safe haven to the world and now, it is mass stress and drama of hate.  Simply because someone disagrees  is not a reason to be  cruel on any topic, when did society, in particular the United States, become so anti-tolerant of others' right to differ in opinions and express them?   Negativity not only spreads quicker in our society  it triggers more in the brain and stays there longer.

Colleges across the country were polled and asked if they felt social media is making society more hostile.  80% or greater said yes in several random studies. In regards to recent studies specifically on the current Presidential campaign, recent surveys done show as high as 78% have witnessed outright arguments with "hateful words exchanged."   The posts and  tweets are not promoting issues and supporting candidates, they are insulting other candidates and other people for supporting them.  Citizens are allowing themselves to become an extension of the news media, negative news sources anti-candidates or issues.   The impact this has on our society is not healthy.  Emotions carry over when you step away from the computer and the television.

Our country, our WORLD needs to continue to grow and prosper for everyone.  Crime rates need to decline continually.   Prayers are given daily for longer healthier lives.   The irony is this; it doesn’t matter who our leader is or what kind of money you make, negativity is on the rise and competes with these goals.  

The sun shines every day. That image, or in a text message form, won’t fire off as many neurons in your brain as  a candidate blasting another one as ineffective as a leader.  Babies are born daily and that is truly a miracle, a life-changer. Yet when someone is killed, your brain goes into super charge mode. But, what would you really rather focus on and have guide your mood, your life and interactions, a murder
 or the sun shining on a newborn baby?


Doctors Quality of Care - Are You Getting it?

Most often people talk about health care providers when their experiences are poor. Thus it
is easy to get the impression, if you are new to having chronic illness, you are doomed to have ‘bad service.’ Don’t walk in with low expectations. This attitude is not only counter-productive but simply not true. There are many incredible providers out there. It is your job, as a consumer, and hopefully somewhat informed educated patient,  to find them.

It seems a bad experience with a doctor is always shared but a good experience is an assumption. We expect those that take the oath of serving in medicine to be doing it for the right reason and to approach the job the way we would like. Realistically, that is not the case. Everyone has encountered or heard stories. There are bad employees in every profession including the medical field. Seek out good health care providers if you get a rotten egg. This may mean you have to go through several to find the right one but, your body and you deserve the best!

Social media can be an asset. Patients are lax in taking the time to go online and take the various survey menus on their doctors.  This is important for those who want to screen new
potential providers. The more reviews, the more accurate the results.  If only bad reviews are given, the stats are skewed horribly. One person on a bad day with unreal expectations could unfairly jeopardize a great doctor’s rating for months.  Do due diligence, if your provider is worthy, take time and go online. Give them that consideration and help others out.  Plus, they deserve the referrals if they’re that good. 

It is not always necessary to share unpleasant experiences because yours could be isolated.
E.g. I had a mishap with a surgery causing 9 months of extensive issues.  I did not give out her name because several friends see this physician and have a high opinion of her. Why ruin their relationship because of my experience? It was a fluke mistake and doctors are human much as we like to think they are Godlike.

I compiled a list of a few at the base of this blog of doctors I either know or close friends have had firsthand experiences with that are exceptional. My goal was to get all of you to do the same. Create and share your lists and ask folks to save it on their computer. You never know when someone will ask you for a recommendation. Be prepared and help others get the excellent care they need giving options too.

Doctors should be cognizant of the fact you are a whole person and not just the malady you are being treated for which is old school approach to medicine.  Dr. Shannon Serie is an oncologist at Vanderbilt Medical Center. Her care is exceptional because she takes the time on the front end of treatment to address all questions and concerns her patients have. She is concerned about helping her patients understand that living healthy is removing as much of the toxicity from their life, not just the cancer cells.  She is known for her one-on-one connection with her patients which serves as a motivator to keep the patients positive and diligent in her recommendations.  She truly treats the whole person. 

Being technologically savvy is a big concern to many people in the course of their treatment. If you want this for your issues, do your research! Other doctors in your area are not always going to volunteer this information or refer you out of network or out of the area.  Many may not even know what is available or who is out there doing new work. E.g., Dr. Monsour is a urologist in Dayton, Ohio. What makes him a stand out is his work in treating prostate cancer. He is very proficient and has an established reputation of excellent work in both laser and robotic surgeries for this type of cancer. These surgeries reduce risks and recovery times.

Working with children takes a special talent. Listening to little ones with an inability to express their hurts and pains is innate. Dr. Nasser is a pediatrician who has that, and has been practicing with glowing reviews for years.  She is as devoted to her little patients as she is to their parents. She listens with a fine ear for details and has a history of dealing with children with complicated cases and handling them with ease. Having had some issues of her own, her compassion in health care is unsurpassed!

Many doctors are working with the knowledge base they learned in medical school. They take their required curriculum each year to stay current but have time for little else. Then there are other doctors working and trying to constantly break thru more discoveries to not only extend their patients’ lives but improve the quality of them.

If you have a type of cancer not as common, you want a doctor that is devoted, has a research drive in them, is proactive and cares deeply about you and the issues!  If it is endocrine cancer, look no further than Dr. Eric Liu. Based out of Denver, Colorado, he has been on the forefront of the field of endocrine cancer and will stay there.

Dr. Liu is on the board of NET, an organization solely devoted to these types of cancer. It is estimated more people actually have these types of cancers than are diagnosed. Many health care providers are not familiar enough with the signs to recognize its existence to test for it. The organization is constantly raising funds and awareness to combat this cancer and find a cure.

Finding health care providers you can understand the complex material being thrown at you easily is imperative. It does no good to see the best and not ‘get the message” especially if it is something as important as your heart. In Dayton, Ohio on the Board of the American Heart Association is a cardiologist named Dr. Harvey Hahn.  The affiliation of a doctor to a Board shows an added dedication to the cause.  Volunteering time to increase awareness, address questions and put attention towards proactive measures to decrease heart issues is commendable indeed of Dr. Hahn to his community.   

Dr. Hahn is part of Kettering Health Network and he makes himself relatable to his audience, and is, “down to earth.”  This is not the norm for cardiologists, as most of us know who have spoken with them for media work or health care issues.  I have to pat my ‘heart’ for a cardiologist that is devoted, exceptional at his job and compassionate towards helping every citizen understand this very serious medical condition. I also have to think his great results have something to do with his uncanny ability to communicate so effectively to his patients. Communication is key to being a great health care provider! 

Diversity in options is important too. Let’s face it; no one likes an arrogant doctor anymore. Bedside manner matters. Dr. Mike Glasmeier of Nashville’s First Impressions Family Dentistry was rated close to the top in the military during his residency in dentistry in customer service.

When he moved into private family practice, Dr. Glasmeier’s ratings did not change. He has done so well, he now operates two successful dental practices.  Whether he works on special needs children, a patient who needs sedation for dental work or cosmetic work, he treats each and every one the same. Furthermore, he always gives patients options when it comes to their teeth. This is important because money can be scare and patients can be afraid of dentistry. Health care providers must be cognizant of their patient’s financial and emotional needs. He and his practice are and demonstrate this. 

Remember your health care provider can’t give you good service if you haven’t defined what that is. Be realistic and clear as to what you expect before you go in. Did you know you can request an introduction interview with most providers?  Use it if you need to.  Write down your questions lest you forget them prior to a visit, at home, not in the waiting room where you are anxious. Don’t blame a provider for not answering your questions if you walked in unprepared. They sometimes are rushed. Other patients come in unexpected due to emergencies often not by their choice.

Consider looking at health care as a true partnership. If your doctor is not willing to do so and you are meeting them halfway, you probably need to find another one. No shame, no blame, just move on! Use the tools of social media, and get to work and get living!

Dr. Patty Ghory
Allergy & Asthma
Cincinnati Allergy & Asthma Center
Dr. Ann Ghory
Allergy & Asthma
Cincinnati Allergy & Asthma Center
Bernstein Allergy Group
Allergy & Asthma
Bernstein Allergy Group
Dr. Harvey Hahn
Southwest Cardiology Inc:
Laurie C Goerzen, NP
Vanderbilt Medical Center
Dr. Elizabeth Lindsey
TriStar Summit Medical Center
Dr. Mike Glasmeier
General Family Dentistry & Botox
First Impressions/Old Hickory Family Dentistry
Dr. Raymond Brewer
General Practitioner
TriStar Centennial
Dr. Maria Ysela Carrillo
General Surgery, Critical Care Surgery
Vanderbilt Medical Center
Dr. Eric Liu
NET Specialist &Surgeon
Neuroendocrine Center at Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers
Dr. Michael Kirkwood
Seven Hills Women's Health Center
Dr. Ellington
Women's Group of Franklin
Dr. Shannon Stinnett Serie
Vanderbilt Medical Center
Dr. Mark Kroll
formerly Vanderbilt, new location in Bowling Green, KY
Dr. Bruce Holaday
Commonwealth Orthopedic Centers
Dr. Wafa Nasser
Whole Child Pediatrics
Dr. Brian Tierny
Plastic Surgery
Tierny Plastic Surgery
Dr. Michael Baker
Advanced Foot & Ankle Center
Dr. Bonnie Slovis
Pulmonary Specialist
Vanderbilt Medical Center
Dr. Monsour
Dayton Physicians Urology
Dr. Peter Swarr
Internal Medicine & Pediatrics
Cool Springs Internal Medicine
Dr. Howard Mertz
Nashville Gastrointestinal Specialists


Where did I put that Bucket List?

What you are waiting for?  Why haven’t you written and started working on that Bucket List? Don’t look around the room or move your eyes from side to side, I am talking to you. Lean in close to your screen - YOU! 

Do not wait till you hear the words, "You're going to die." It is not necessary to wait till your days are numbered to create one and begin working things off on it, crossing them off one at a time.  Trust me, by that time; it may be too late. Heck, you may be gone, being carried by angels up to the pearly gates. Then what are you going to tell the big guy in the sky when He asks you why you never did that trip you always talked about with your friends or that sky-dive you always dreamed about doing? 

Excuses don’t hold, they are like feeble attempts, kinda like avoiding neighbors. Sooner or later you run into them, sometimes literally! Create opportunities to do the things you desire not reasons not to. Hurdles can be worked around, jumped over with planning.  Put items on your bucket list on a priority scale and then decide You Are Worth It!

I was told when I got cancer, to start my list, all the things I wanted to do for my personal Bucket List. I have always heard these lists are supposed to be wild adventurous things. When you are flat on your back, sick as a dog, your list goes something like this: 

1) get out of bed 
2) eat pizza again 
3) be able to walk to the mailbox 
4) have hair to complain about/have a bad hair day 
5) be able to go out and not be tired
 6) go a week without seeing a doctor

So wrong to start bucket lists at that time, why not now?  Think about those things you want to do before you die, in your lifetime. Make plans; make baby steps to get there. Nobody will do it for you. One lifetime, one shot, make it happen!  Share it with others so they do the same, mirror your plan.  Start a chain reaction. Help others realize you don’t have to live day-dreaming, you can be a dream-maker. 

Oh my Bucket List got better as I improved. Things were added like Trip to Hawaii and it was done! Concert tickets to one of my favorite shows, done. And the important thing to remember is, as you cross one thing off, add another!  Make your life exciting and interesting, and diverse. Also, make that list not all about you, also about helping others! 

If the dream is too big, downsize it some but keep it close to what you want it to be. A life well lived is a life where dreams come true. But you have to make them happen. The first step is making a list. Be committed! Bucket lists are not just for the dying, 

LIVING FULLY AND LIVELY!         Just do it!  Bless you and your dreams!