What is it in us that draws us to dark, toxic News? Why do we refuse to focus on the positives and choose to focus on dark, borderline morbid news stories instead? Does the media shove these news stories down our throats, to keep us in a constant state of panic, or are we inherently inclined to dwell in toxicity and negativity? Probably a bit of both.

We're doing better than ever

An economist at the Institute for New Economic Thinking, named Max Roser claims that the world today is much safer than ever: “To really understand how the world is changing, you have to look at the big picture.We live in a much more peaceful and inclusive world than our ancestors of the past,” Roser says and he has data to support his claims.

A number of annual war battle deaths by region is down:

Thanks to the industrial revolution, we are working a lot less than we used to, below is a graph illustrating the drop in working hours per week:

And here's a look at homicide rates, showing we are safer now than ever:

We have more access to information today than we have ever had. Thanks to the internet, we are able to find out what's happening around us, in a matter of seconds. Mr. Roser's research clearly shows that things are not nearly as bad as most of us believe, yet, we seem to think it's never been worse.


Negativity bias

Psychologist call this phenomenon negativity bias or the negativity effect. Our hunger for bad news is real. Researchers Stuart Soroka and Marc Trussler set up an experiment at the Canadian McGill University. The conclusion? Our brains recognize and instantly respond to words like "war", "bomb" and "cancer", while pleasant words like "smile", "baby" or "fun", seem to be too dull for our negativity-focused brains.

Of course, there are two sides to this coin - the media plays a significant part in this game too. The mainstream media is primarily a propaganda vehicle, a weapon of "the elites", meant to keep us under control and in a constant state of panic. One doesn't need to look further than the way the American press is treating Donald Trump.

The main is getting lynched left and right, with the media focusing on banal, unimportant aspects of his persona while disregarding what actually matters.

Is there a way to combat this? Since we live in the technological age and since we, thankfully, have abundant access to information, we should all try and take a step back, every once in a while, and look at the bigger picture. We might actually like what we see.