Fake News And How Our Brains Get Hooked

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Happy April Fools Day. I have been thinking about this fake news topic and how our brains get hooked from a coaching perspective.

Fake news has become a thing.

I recently watched ‘The Social Dilemma’, and the documentary quoted that fake news travels six times faster than real news.

What Is Real?

A story can be told from many perspectives, there can be different versions of the truth, this is one thing; but then there is ‘fake news’.

Fake News: intentionally misleading, on purpose deceitful, and the deliberate misuse of the powerful virtual world that can get a message out to far more people faster than ever before in history.

Why Do We Have So Much Fake News?

From a coaching perspective, our brains are wired to pay attention to scary bits of info, the hyped up, the intense, and to become alert at the sign of danger because that is how our brains help us survive.

If you know marketing, then you know that the name of the game is to grab attention. And the hyped-up danger is the easiest trick in the bag.

New, edgy, sensational, and interesting; these are what our brains naturally gravitate to and focus on.

Our current world is a wild new world, full of cameras and amazing technology, but we are in uncharted territory and many are experiencing chronic fear and stressed based emotions.

Being caught up in these chronic negative emotions are physically, mentally, and emotionally detrimental and lays the ground work for bad habits and poor gut health.

It is no one’s fault; it is just our current reality.

What Can We Do About It?

What I offer my clients who are overwhelmed, fearful, anxious, stressed, and worried is the tools to manage their minds.

When we understand how our primal brain works like I just described above with what our brain’s attention is geared towards evolutionarily.

  • Know that new and scary simply grabs your brain’s attention.

We have another part of our brain that can talk back and manage our primal brain. Bring in a voice of reason and rationale to question the knee-jerk fear that sends us into fight or flight.

  • Decide how much fake news and media we let into our brains.

  • Know that we get hooked and our brain wants more.

“Hi brain, I know this feels very important, but I want to spend my time and attention outside planting carrots instead.”

I like to think of it as a game or a practice to manage my mind and notice when my primal brain gets hooked on fear or urgency which is often the tell-tell of fake news.

Decide ahead of time how much news you want to watch, and then honor your decision and turn off the intentionally sensational news.

Our Shared Responsibility

I have yet to figure out how to bite this piece off; but I do believe that we, and I, have a responsibility to fact-check and slow fake news from being passed along and lighting up other primal brains.

We are all in a new and gray area with the incredible technology and information boom.

It is important to do our part and not get fooled and hooked on fake news.

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