In today’s hyper-connected world, it’s easy to miss the positive things happening around you. The virtually endless amounts of gloomy headlines make it seem like good news gets buried deep underneath. With the craziness of your fast-paced routine, even caring smiles, sincere compliments, and genuine acts of kindness tend to go unnoticed, trapping you in a never-ending cycle of gloom.
But fear not! Today, we’ll swiftly balance out the scales by injecting some much-needed cheerfulness into your life. Enter the ‘Wholesome Meets The Internet’ Instagram page dedicated to soul-soothing and sweet stories people have shared online in hopes of lifting everyone’s spirits. A brief scroll through the feed proves that not everything is as terrible as it may seem, making it an incredible platform to visit.
With over 235k followers, it has become a true powerhouse that restores faith in humanity and confirms that a simple kind gesture can make a difference. We have gathered some of the best posts to make your day a little better, so sit back, relax, and feel the positivity flowing. Keep reading to also find our interview about the importance of positive content with Deborah S. Bowen, Ph.D. Upvote pics that made you smile and share your own uplifting stories down below in the comments!
As much as we love the web for its endless supply of knowledge and inspiration, it can get pretty grim over here. Being bombarded with bleak headlines every time we go online can make it seem like there’s no good left in this world. We’re especially running short of positive vibes after a rough week at work, a heated argument with a spouse, or an unfortunate encounter with a rude stranger in our everyday lives.
When the digital world feels full of negativity, social media projects like ‘Wholesome Meets The Internet’ are here to lift our spirits and boost our belief in kindness, one post at a time. Ever since its first post in July 2019, it has been a purely refreshing platform to visit. It allows us to take some optimistic energy and put it into our own hands by devouring heartwarming stories and sweet pictures shared on the page.
To gain more insight on how positive and negative news impact the readers, we reached out to Deborah S. Bowen, Ph.D., an Assistant Professor of PR Instruction at the University of South Florida. “Most of us are familiar with the phrase, ‘if it bleeds, it leads,'” she told Bored Panda. “We have an instinctual drive to seek out the scary, the awful, the unthinkable. True-crime podcasts, streaming shows about real and imagined cases, serial killer fan clubs … the list is weird and endless.”
“Perhaps we do it because it reminds us that we’re okay; perhaps we have a dark urge that needs to be satisfied. In any case, the internet abounds with negativity, from ‘trolls’ to snark to the charmingly outdated ‘flame wars,’ we have no lack of content,” Bowen added.
According to her, being on the outside of these stories or fights lights up what’s called our “negativity bias”: “A psychological phenomenon recognizing that the human brain responds more vigorously to negative news than to positive news.”
It looks like turning a blind eye to the darker side of life is difficult as we humans are hardwired to seek out the gloom. The negativity bias shows our tendency to give more significance to negative thoughts and experiences than positive or neutral ones. We are even inclined to focus on the negative aspects when they are insignificant.
Rick Hanson, Ph.D., psychologist and author of Hardwiring Happiness, stated that humans evolved to be fearful, and it helped keep us alive. “This vulnerability to feeling threatened has effects at many levels, ranging from individuals, couples, and families, to schoolyards, organizations and nations,” he explained. To gain back control over how we perceive the world, Hanson stressed the importance of becoming aware of how our brains get so vigilant and wary.
“The alarm bell of your brain — the amygdala (you’ve got two of these little almond-shaped regions, one on either side of your head) — uses many of its neurons to look for bad news: it’s primed to go negative in most people,” the psychologist wrote. “Once it sounds the alarm, negative events and experiences get quickly stored in memory — in contrast to positive events and experiences, which are not prioritized in the same way.”
But while this was a great way to survive and avoid threats in the old days, in the modern world, we don’t actually need to feel afraid or anxious all the time. If we want to lead fulfilling lives, we need to better grasp this tendency and understand that things are usually not as tragic.
That’s why we should make some room for hope in our lives. Since optimism and happiness are contagious, surround yourself with cheerful news that can help you unwind from unfortunate events happening in your life.
“There is no shortage of wholesome content online: adorable children, snuggly pets, recorded marriage proposals,” Bowen told us. “But even these sweet contributions can become riddled with negativity.” The professor pointed out that even when we instruct others, ‘Never read the comments!’, we promptly go to the comment section ourselves.
“Positive, feel-good content certainly goes viral (looking at you, Tariq the Corn Kid!), and these viralities certainly take the edge off the bad news surrounding them, but these aren’t usually good deeds or acts of kindness motivated by someone’s goodness,” she added. “It would be interesting to track the ways in which positive content inspires more positive content. We might be on to a great online revolution!”
Striving to include more happiness into our lives is important, but so is staying rounded and well-informed citizens. Because we may turn a blind eye to the darker side of the world — but that won’t make it any brighter. In a bid to gather a broader perspective about the world, it is essential to try to balance out the content we consume.
“Like most of ours, my social media is a highly curated echo chamber,” Bowen said. She deliberately surrounds her online presence with accounts that reflect her values. “But like everyone else, I’ll sneak over to ‘the other side’ to see what ideological shifts are happening ‘over there.”
“This is a great approach to understand how others perceive the world around them, but it really only works if you choose to visit legitimate news sites that will offer up potentially controversial content in a journalistic, unbiased way.” The professor encourages people in the States to explore US news from external perspectives and other countries. “Generally, these external sources offer content that isn’t tailored to one political ‘base’ or the other, offering instead a holistic approach to the bigger stories of the day.”
Still. your social network may affect your mental health and well-being, especially if you have a tendency to doomscroll. As Associate Professor Bowen stated, a new addiction is rising — addiction to social media and its inherent stressors. “Studies demonstrate that even though and even when people experience stress when using these platforms, their use doesn’t decrease; in fact, it ratchets up.”
In response to these feelings, hunt down all the feel-good stories and adorably cute pictures you can find. “It’s so important to take time off and away from social media, even if that means decreasing little by little over time. Make sure to practice online self-care, and a great start would be to actively seek out some of that wonderful smile-inspiring content that lets us vibe with happiness,” Bowen concluded.
Note: this post originally had 96 images. It’s been shortened to the top 50 images based on user votes.