A new study suggests that exposure to the negative or bad news before going to work makes an employee unhappy throughout the day. Shawn Achor and Michelle Gielan of the Institute for Applied Positive Research worked with Arianna Huffington of The Huffington Post in a study that aimed to determine how bad news significantly affects the employees' workdays.
The researchers involved 110 participants who were grouped into two: one group watched some negative news before 10 a.m. while the second group watched three minutes of success stories. After six hours, both groups completed a survey to measure stress and mood.
The analysis showed that those who were exposed to the bad news were 27 percent more likely to become unhappy compared to those who watched the success stories.
"We believe that negative news influences how we approach our work and the challenges we encounter at the office because it shows us a picture of life in which our behavior does not matter. The majority of news stories showcase problems in our world that we can do little or nothing about," the authors wrote to Harvard Business Review.
The researchers plan to continue the study to involve gym goers and sales and customer service at call centers, and determine whether the negative news could affect their performance.
Bad news can't be avoided and usually dominates headlines. An earlier study found that most people are drawn to depressing stories and respond quicker to negative words, suggesting why most of the news stories are about terrible, depressing events.
So how can you ward off the negative emotions that bad news could bring? The researchers gave three helpful tips: turn off the news alerts, turn off the radio and start the day with success stories.
"It's possible to stay informed about the news and remain positive and focused on your own work, but only if you control your news consumption instead of letting it control you," the authors added.