Negativity and cynicism in EMS.
It used to be the salty old medics or the parasauras’s that were so negative and cynical. Now…it’s infiltrated the next generation. I see it everyday on social and at work.
Sitting around with co-workers and collectively complaining feels good in the moment thanks to Dopamine and frankly, it’s super easy to do. We feel like we belong. We are biologically wired to want to be part of the “heard”. If we are the outcast, it means death.
Negativity is hard wired into our primitive brain. Our brains are constantly scanning for danger, and recalling negative events from the past in an effort to protect us. This can be useful, especially in medicine. Over time, it becomes harder and harder to keep it out of our everyday life.
Be aware of the negativity bias. This is when our brain fills in missing information about the story or situation with negativity. We all have this, but we are also capable of re-directing it. It’s ok if we don’t know the whole story.
Cynicism is part of a defensive posture we use to protect ourselves from being hurt. When we allow this to fester, it skews our outlook. Cynics distrust everything new they see and hear, they are intolerant of new ideas, and they are pessimistic about everything.
I’m not saying that I’m perfect at this either. But, I did have a major shift in my attitude about 5 years ago and it has made all the difference in the world!
Why do I want to talk about this? Why does it really matter? I mean, there are probably more important things to work on right now? Right??
Wrong. It is very important to talk about this because negativity, cynicism, and complaining erode your well being. YOUR WELL BEING.
Your well being is UP TO YOU. Yes, you.
Here’s the problem with all the negativity, complaining and cynicism. It makes you feel like ass. Your brain does not like feeling like this. Our primitive brains are driven to avoid pain….even emotional pain. Irritation. Frustration. Anger. Disappointment. Judgement. Fear. All feel like pain.
Your brain will then do what brains do and find a way to feel better.
What’s the quickest, most efficient way to feel better?? False pleasure, which is highly concentrate natural pleasure. Whats the difference between the two? False pleasure has net negative consequences. We get way bigger hits of Dopamine with false pleasures.
Here are examples of false pleasures:
- Snacks. All packaged foods, including beverages. If it’s mostly sugar and flour, it’s a false pleasure food.
- Social Media
- Gaming & gambling
What are the net negative consequences?
Weight gain. Dependance. Addiction. Loneliness. Depression. Divorce. Disconnection. Financial problems. And, a whole host of medical problems including inflammation, hormone disruption, hypertension, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes to name a few.
The more we feel like shit, the more complaining we do, and the more negative we become. This is the negative loop we get stuck in, which feels impossible to get out of!!
What is the solution? How do you stop this negative spin cycle??
- Awareness. Are you the negative Nancy, pessimistic Patty? Cynical Cindy of your base? It’s ok if you are. This does not mean you are a bad person. It’s your brain doing what brains do. Start paying attention and noting when you are being negative, complaining, or cynical. See if in that moment you can admit that to yourself. A great question to ask yourself is “is this they type of person I want to be?” “Is this how I want to show up?”
- Reframing your ANTS…..automatic negative thoughts. With curiously and non-judgement…..Ask yourself “what else could be going on?” “What is a different way to look at this situation” “What else could be true?”. Example: You give report to the receiving RN and they are super short and snarky. You then complain the whole way back to base about how rude the nurse was, you take it personally. Instead, be curious. I wonder why they were do short and snarky with me? I know the ER was slammed, maybe they were feeling rushed and I was being really long winded. Maybe this is their third patient in an hour. Maybe they didn’t get a break yet and are very hungry. I wonder if I did something rude? I guess I did snap at them when they said something about the “ride” over here….
- EAT…Equal Air Time. I love this concept and I find it very useful in my everyday life. This is intentional thinking and observation. This will take time to develop. If you are going to spend time on the negative, you have to spend just as much time on the positive. Now, this not gonna be easy and might not go over well with your co-workers…especially if you are talking about leadership. Start with the easy stuff. Hey, nice job on that IV, it looked like it was a tough one. Great job on your report. Giving compliments is an easy way to do this. Whether we give them to others, or ourselves. A compliment a day keeps the negativity at bay!! You can find the good and the positive in the world if you intentionally look for it.
When you start to practice these things, you will notice a slight shift. Keep going. Eventually it will get much easier. You’ll notice the negativity much more in the people around you. Don’t try to change them (unless they ask you to), be the example to them.
If you have questions, send me a DM.
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