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The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

There are four types of people


The trusting

[dropcap]O[/dropcap]ne hormone — oxytocin — can control all human relationships. It is in charge of the giddy emotions between two people, it builds healthier relationships and it allows a person to have confidence that a stranger won’t steal their purse while they go to the restroom.
According to an article from Science of People, oxytocin controls multiple aspects of human connection including love, commitment and trust, with trust being the basis of the love and commitment. The higher levels of oxytocin one has, the more likely they are to build those strong relationships.
Not only is oxytocin responsible for connection and love, it’s also responsible for loneliness and social amnesia. The Science of People article uses the example of childhood abuse — when a child is physically or emotionally hurt, their oxytocin levels decrease and can prevent them from full commitment again.
Author of four books including Trust, Inc. and blogger for Psychology Today Nan Russell said relationships need trust to build and enhance enhance communication, engagement, innovation and creativity. There are many types of relationships — romantic, family, coworkers — but they all require personal confidence between each person involved.
According to an article from Association for Talent Development, the release of oxytocin can also trigger a release of dopamine, which is the hormone that controls motivation and causes others to work together. An increase of reliance and motivation can provide productive and healthy environments whether it be home, school or work.
“When there is trust between relationships, people feel safe to be who they are,” Russell said. “[They] take risks, have important dialogues, try things, experiment, share ideas, contribute, grow and learn.”
It seems as if all relationships should have unbreakable trust, but humans constantly battle two internal forces: being open to building new relationships and over-protecting oneself from possibly toxic relationships. Russell said giving trust comes with risk and people may be betrayed.
“Trust giving and building is about judgement, awareness and decision making,” Russell said. “It’s important to give trust with your eyes open.”
In 2012, junior Lauren Nagel’s father received a diagnosis of skin cancer, which devastated her family. By eighth grade in 2014, the cancer got worse. Stress and nervousness took over Nagel’s emotions.
“[On my way to a basketball practice], I turned to my dad and straight up asked him, ‘Are you gonna die?’” Nagel said. “He responded and said, ‘You know Lauren, I don’t know, but all we can do is pray about it.’”
Nagel said having a father that put so much faith in God allowed her to not only trust her father, but allowed her to have confidence that God was in control of the outcome.
“I’m not trying to say that that response didn’t absolutely scare the crap out of me,” Nagel said. “No one wants to imagine living life without one of the most important people in it, but having that reassurance helped to allow me to realize that God is in control. I wish that I could tell you that the relationship I have with my dad is awesome now, but unfortunately my dad passed away around six months after that entire conversation happened.”
Through the death of her father and her relentless faith, Nagel is able to believe in others more. Harvesting relationships and fellowship are important to Nagel. She’s not only comfortable with trusting others, but treasures others relying on her as well.
“You never actually know how much time you have to trust and spend with a person,” Nagel said. “You could lose them the next day for all you know, so it’s good to know that you have a sturdy foundation underneath your relationship with that person for the time being.”
For Nagel, her oxytocin levels spiked and she was able to build companionship with her father through her experiences. According to an article from Psychology Today, betrayal causes the opposite reaction. When relationships are broken, oxytocin levels decrease significantly and cortisol, the “stress hormone” increase.
Junior Brayden Hawkins experienced betrayal when he gave his friend his debit card to buy him lunch from Panera and later found out his friend emptied his bank account.
“I thought I trusted this person, even enough to give them basically all of my money,” Hawkins said. “Somehow and some way they raked the bill all the way up to $40  and put me into 5 dollars in debt.”
The debt caused Hawkins to pay a $100 overcharge fee and led to ending the friendship. When he confronted the money grabber, there was no empathy or money returned for the expenses Hawkins had to pay.
“This experience has affected my ability to trust others drastically,” Hawkins said. “I have to get to know them very well in order to give them my full trust. Throughout this situation, I am not able to trust them anymore as they betrayed me. I thought they were a genuine person and trustable.”
Positive and negative experiences can both strengthen and destroy companionships. Trust, however, isn’t only useful in developing intimate relationships. According to Martin E. Marty’s book Building Cultures of Trust, relying on others is vital in all aspects of life. Religion, politics, economics, government and education — they all require some kind of certainty or assurance to be successful.
Whether the trust is institutionalized or personal, it also takes work to build up. Russell said the process begins with the person that wants trust giving trust to others. Accountability needs to be present on both sides for confidence to prosper.
“Trust is not a light switch,” Russell said. “It’s not, ‘I trust you or I don’t.’ Rather, trust building is more like a dimmer switch — you give a little and it can build; then you give a little more and over time, with the right behaviors from both parties, it grows brighter.”
Putting trust in somebody can be harder than being overly cautious, but Nagel believes faithful friendships are better.
“You want to make sure that you’re not going to be stabbed in the back upon by someone,” Nagel said. “But I do think that it is good to put your whole trust in people because there’s no way to determine whether or not they are trustworthy unless you go all in with everything.”
By Cassi Viox[vc_empty_space]

The envious

[dropcap]S[/dropcap]enior Danielle Simpson sat in the cafeteria, surrounded by her friends one morning before school. Her boyfriend sat down next to her, much to the displeasure of her friends. Her friends had told her things about him that she didn’t think was true. She pulled him aside to talk about, thinking he would tell her the truth, so she believed what he said. Her friends didn’t agree with her decision to believe him. Her friends slowly became angry as she was starting to spend more time with him instead of hanging out with them. For a couple of weeks, she and her friends walked a rocky path around each other before making up and forgiving themselves.
British philosopher Bertrand Russell stated that envy is one of the most potent causes of unhappiness. The person can become unhappy enough to wish to inflict misfortune and pain on others. People view it as a negative thing, but Russell believed that it is a driving force behind the movement towards democracy and should be ensured to achieve a more just social system through people’s benign desires. The word envy comes from the Latin term invidia, which occurs when a person lacks another’s superior quality, achievement, or possession and either desires it or wishes that the other lacked it. Sometimes people’s emotions can cloud their judgement, causing them to do things involuntarily, like arguing with their friends or family. It can cause people to lose sight of what’s important and focus on what they desire.
“At times, I let my emotions get the better of me,” Simpson said. “For example, in show choir, I want to do whatever I can to be a good performer, but I think about a lot of different stuff, like, ‘I’m going to mess up,’ or ‘I wish a certain person was out in the audience, but they’re not there,’ so that makes me upset. That might affect my performance, but overall, I try not to think about it, but sometimes [it’s] hard not to think about those kind of things.”
Envy can be a difficult thing to control, but it’s best if people do. It often involves someone’s motive to take away someone’s advantage over them. People afflicted by it’s resentment find themselves overwhelmed by the feeling that someone has something that they don’t or that person has something they want.
In Nelson W. Aldrich, Jr.’s novel Older Money, he states that hatred is such an integral and painful part of human behavior and that many people have forgotten the full meaning of the word, simplifying it into one of the symptoms of desire. Emotions can also cause people to do or say things they don’t mean.
“I feel like letting your emotions control you can be one of the most detrimental things,” senior Emily Rong said. “Sometimes you might be tempted to say something that you may not be able to take back, or something that you regret saying later on.”
Envy may negatively affect the closeness and satisfaction of relationships. People experiencing hatred will often have a skewed perception on how to reach “true happiness.” Those with these kind of views can be helped to change their perspectives. They will be more able to understand the real meaning of fortune and satisfaction with what they do have.
“The first thing you need to do is recognize that it is a form of suffering and it’s a want,”  therapist Virginia Almon said. “You have to ‘turn the mirror’ on yourself and realize that the reason you’re envious is because you’re subconsciously longing for something that someone else owns, whether it be a car or a dress or a ring. It’s an opportunity to learn something by looking at yourself to see what is causing you to be envious.”
By Ethan Howard[vc_empty_space]

The optimists

[dropcap]O[/dropcap]ptimists: The silver-lining spotters, the idealists, the happy ones. People such as senior William Curtright, someone who starts out every single morning reciting positive self affirmations in the mirror with a mission to conquer the day.
Curtright wasn’t always this positive, but after moving five times and a difficult experience in middle school, he has come to the conclusion that optimism is the best route.
“I do have to work for it a little bit, it’s kind of one of those things where there are some situations where I’m naturally just like, ‘This is going to go great,’” Curtright said. “And there are some situations where, say, I have an interview or I have a big old essay I have to write, where I have to [tell myself,] ‘I’m good at this, I’m going to do well.’”
Junior Aidan Bachrach is on the opposite side of the scale and is an ardent pessimist. He is fully aware of the effects of a consistently negative point of view. Worries about projects, tests and homework are constant occupants in Bachrach’s thoughts. In fact, his family has been trying to get him, a self-described complainer, to try a more hopeful attitude, but to no avail. The results of the 2016 election have also entered the plethora of his concerns and an less than enthusiastic attitude has made accepting the event difficult.
“I feel like it takes me a longer time to get over things because I dwell [on] them a lot. People who are optimistic, they are able to see the positive light in situations and that helps them come to terms with the situation,” Bachrach said. “[My mom] usually finds the positive light in things, like when Donald Trump got elected president, she goes, ‘It’s probably not going to be that bad, we’ll have to wait and see.’ I, [however,] was very concerned.”
In regard to optimism’s effect on relationships, research has concluded that it has the capacity to strengthen relationships through boosting one’s listening and problem-solving skills. Though Curtright has taken deliberate steps to maintain positive relationships, he still encounters negativity when interacting with friends.
“Certainly I have a few friends that are pessimists, but I definitely think it causes problems for them. A lot of them will just assume that they’re not going to do well instead of assuming that it’s going to go great. For example, [having that mindset] with grades, that makes it really hard because they’ll just slack off because they assume that it’s just not going to go well,” Curtright said. “Also, pessimistic people have a tendency to drain you, drain your energy and good vibes. It’s really important to keep a circle of people that really value optimism because that will rub off on you in a positive way.”
Optimism, however, does have its downsides, especially when it comes to nonobjective predictions. Dr. James Sheppard, a psychology professor at the University of Florida, has done multiple in depth studies on unrealistic optimism, mostly about defining it and describing the different types, absolute and comparative. Comparative optimism refers to believing one has a lesser risk for negative outcomes than the average. Absolute optimism, on the other hand, describes having higher expectations than warranted by objective factors. Absolute optimism, in Dr. Sheppard’s opinion, has a real potential to be harmful.
“Nothing feels worse than having positive expectations and not having them turn out having your outcomes fall short of your expectations. That feels horrible, and so yes people who are optimistic are, in theory, at greater risk for disappointment, [in regards to] things not turning out well.” Dr. Sheppard said. “What becomes a problem is unrealistic optimism about gambling. If you can imagine someone saying, “I’m going to quit my job and I’m going to win the lottery.” Well, the chances of winning the lottery is quite rare, and you should probably keep your day job even if you bought a lottery ticket. You just need to be realistic. There are benefits but you need to … keep the optimism somewhat in check.”
This aspect of unrealistic optimism, disappointment, is one of the reasons Bachrach leans away from higher hopes. Even though pessimism is linked to worse health outcomes, according to the study, “Positive Affect and Psychobiological Processes Relevant to Health,” scepticism is still his approach to completely undeterred confidence.
“I don’t think it’s healthy to always be optimistic. It’s good to be optimistic, but if you’re optimistic all the time then you don’t get a very good idea of how to deal with more serious things,” Bachrach said. “I feel like you set yourself up to expect something better than what actually happens, so if [you have] too high expectations for something, they’re never going to be met and you’ll just be let down.”
Curtright has himself felt the sting of disillusionment, especially when it comes to his math class, because he often overestimates his success on the tests. Instead of letting the challenge discourage him from looking at the world through a cheerful lense, he simply takes it in his stride.
“There are certainly instances where no matter how hard you study, how much confidence you have [the situation won’t turn out perfectly]. [For] example, going into a test where you can study as hard as you can. Simply, it’s just not going to work out and that’s okay,” Curtright said. “Honestly, in the grand scheme of things, one test in math is not going to determine your future and it’s not the end of the world. Just viewing it as, ‘I’m going to do the next thing right’ is the best approach to handling something like that.”
Dr. Sheppard also believes that looking at the big picture is key when it comes to one’s perspective. Overall, he warns against dismissing optimism outright because despite the possibility of unrealistic beliefs, there are incredibly documented benefits of enthusiasm. To buffer unrealistic optimism, he suggests a sudden change in one’s perspective right before the results are revealed.
“When it comes to the moment of truth, people often shift in their optimism, so they shelve their optimism for a more realistic or pessimistic outlook to avoid the possible disappointment of expectations disconfirmed,” Dr. Sheppard said. “In fact, that’s probably the best way to go about it, is to generally be optimistic until right before that feedback and then shift to something else, something lower. That way, you’re not caught by surprise.”
By Grace Dorsey[vc_empty_space]

The pessimists

[dropcap]S[/dropcap]ophomore Bailey Long steps into middle stage and draws in a deep breath. Heart-beating. Motionless. Her eyes flicker above the peaks of heads in the audience, all speechless and anxiously awaiting her first line. A dizzying rush of adrenaline flutters through her veins, yet she begins, speaking loud and with a chest-full of confidence, sucking the audience out of their chairs and dropping them off at a hairdressing salon in Illinois, the setting of the play.
Most people, Long describes, would lead up to a performance thinking of all the positive things that can happen, such as a standing ovation from everyone, showers of bouquets of flowers and a scholarship to that acting college they’ve always dreamed of. But Long, a self-proclaimed believer of the worst-case-scenario, worries about messing up a line, or missing a queue or something catastrophic first, and saves the roses for the end.
Long’s melancholy mindset is defined by Psychology Today as pessimism, or the tendency for a person to see the negative aspect of things or anticipate undesirable outcomes all the time. The article goes on to say a pessimistic mindset harbors a lack of hope or confidence for the future.
Dr. Julie K. Norem, professor of psychology at Wellesley College, studies personality psychology and strategies people use to pursue their goals pertaining to pessimism and optimism. Through her research, she found pessimism is a common state of mind that comes as an automatic way of thinking to some people.
“All of us have neural networks that are ‘tuned’ to pick up signals from the environment that suggest the possibility of reward (‘good things’) and the possibility of punishment (‘bad things’).  Some people have reward networks that are turned up to high, and they tend to be more optimistic; some people have punishment networks that are turned up to high, and they tend to be more pessimistic,” Dr. Norem said. “The settings of these networks can be influenced by learning and experience — especially extreme or repeated, chronic experiences — but the default settings are genetically influenced, too. We can also potentially override our automatic responses with conscious effort — but it can take a lot of effort and attention.”
Senior Landon Puckett finds himself looking at the downside of situations more often than not. He finds himself sizing up circumstances to be worse than they may actually be to prepare himself for disappointment. This mentality, he says, begins in the teenage years.
“I think good and evil presents itself in lots of different ways throughout life, but I feel like more negativity manifests in high school, especially coming in the form of stress in classes and social pressures and other issues we all face at some point,” Puckett said.
Despite pessimism having an unfavorable reputation, Norem believes it shouldn’t be frowned upon and people who are pessimistic shouldn’t be forced to become more optimistic. Pessimism, she describes, is a natural human trait and shouldn’t be corrected by more cheerful minds.
“It is important for more pessimistic people to realize that others might react negatively to their viewpoint because they don’t want to be around someone who isn’t upbeat and positive. It’s also important, however, for more optimistic people to realize that everyone has a right to their own viewpoint and to their own emotions,” Dr. Norem said. “Often, people try to coax, or force, other people to be more optimistic, ‘Just look on the bright side.’ ‘Cheer up — it’s all good.’ ‘Turn that frown upside down.’  ‘Just relax — be happy.’, and that tends to have a negative effect on social interactions, too.”
Puckett believes many do not recognize pessimism as a valuable trait, as it’s known to correlate with negative feelings and sadness. While most people don’t value it, Long holds to a strong opinion that pessimism is a beneficial thought process for getting out of stressful situations and for sizing up situations to best conquer them.
“[When you’re pessimistic], you always expect the worse in things, and when that happens, you won’t ever get disappointed in bad things. I think it’s a good thing to have so you will never be let down because you already thought of the worst-case scenario anyways,” Long said. “By always thinking of the bright side, you are continuing to put all of the bad things happening in your life on the back burner. If you are always doing that, you will never get rid of the problem, causing shock when something bad happens.”
Dr. Norem added on this subject as well. Whether pessimism is valued or not, she said, is based off the culture of the country. The United States, for instance, considers “every man for himself” as a type of individualism and reinforces the idea that everyone can find success and happiness through hard work. If they don’t find either, Dr. Norem said, the nation disapproves.
“One implication of [the United States’] ideology is that if someone isn’t happy, it’s their own fault. People typically assume pessimists are unhappy because there is something wrong with them. We also shun people we think are unhappy because moods can be contagious and we don’t want to be brought down or contaminated by someone else’s negative mood,” Dr. Norem said. “Though, many pessimists say that they aren’t unhappy, but that they are focused on other things, as in happiness, per se, isn’t that important to them. They’re focused on, for example, personal growth. We tend to see happiness as a virtue, along with self-confidence, and to think badly of those who might be unhappy, anxious, or otherwise not cheerful.”
Despite the possible problems with pessimism, there are positive aspects as well. One way people view the mindset is a more down-to-earth and realistic way of perceiving the world compared to optimism.
According to The Entrepreneur, psychologist Dr. Martin E.P. Seligman conducted 600 studies between optimists and pessimists and the differences between the two. In 2010, he studied the effects of a person’s attitude, focused on the differences in optimistic and pessimistic mindsets. He found people who are optimistic may not take a problem as seriously as a pessimist would since their way of thinking provides hope that the dilemma will soon go away and so they do not bother with it. While, contradictory, pessimists normally work to solve an issue quicker since their mindset is that it will only get worse as time goes on.
Along with that, Dr. Norem believes when the costs of making mistakes are potentially very high, paying a lot of attention to what might go wrong, like a pessimist does, can really pay off, whereas being overly optimistic can be very costly.
Furthering into her research, Dr. Norem explains people with anxiety or who are anxious benefit under the negative perception more than they would if they were optimistic.
“What I study is a concept called defensive pessimism, which refers to a strategy that people can use to manage anxiety,” Dr. Norem said. “The strategy involves setting low expectations (that’s the pessimism part), and then thinking through, in concrete, vivid detail, all the negative things that might happen in a particular situation. Defensive pessimism tends to be an effective strategy for dealing with anxiety, and that anxious people who try to be more optimistic do not do as well as defensive pessimists.”
In all, Dr. Norem said pessimism should not be frowned upon, but accepted just as optimism is, since it is as beneficial to some people as optimism is for others. Long full-heartedly agrees, saying neither mindset should be appreciated above the other.
“Negativity obviously sticks out more [than positivity] because more people are cheerful than not and [because negativity] is more contagious,” Long said. “When you are around the same people for a long period of time, you start to use the same mannerisms and sayings. The more negative you are, the more it is contagious towards others around you because there are more feelings tied to negative things. They leave a mark in your mind.”
By Katie Whaley

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