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Heroes

Did you know positivity is literally contagious? True story.

psychology, epidemic, virus, outbreak, community
Image via Pixabay.

Good times can spread rapidly from one person to another.

The term "epidemic" means "something that spreads really fast."

The flu, dengue fever, the Zika outbreak, the recent Covid experience which we're all still navigating through, or sudden plant-based outbreaks that threaten large number of crops are all classic examples of epidemics.

When an epidemic hits, it hits hard. The flu can make everyone in your office sick within days, and viral outbreaks can quickly threaten the population of an entire country.


But did you know that not all epidemics are bad?

Yes, there is such a thing as a "positive epidemic." And according to researchers at the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico, positive epidemics actually spread faster than negative ones.

Amazing, right?

Examples of positive epidemics include the spread of good viruses that protect their hosts instead of harming them or even beneficial social phenomenons like the use of agriculture technology spreading among humans.

We don't normally associate positive things with the word "epidemic," but when these positive epidemics (nicknamed "benes" for the purposes of this study) take hold, they are capable of affecting a lot more hosts than a negative epidemic can and in a much shorter amount of time too.

Or, to put it simply: The study found that good epidemics spread faster and wider than negative ones.

When you think about it, this pattern actually makes a lot of sense.

Imagine you just heard about a new Gmail trick that increases your productivity and saves you a ton of time. The first thing you're going to do is tell as many people as possible, right?

When the people you tell find out about it, they get the same excited feeling as you and start telling as many people as they can. Pretty soon, your entire office building is buzzing about it. The fact that this "epidemic" is motivated by a positive feeling and a beneficial change in work flow means that it can spread without anyone trying to stop it.

A negative epidemic, on the other hand, like a stomach virus, still spreads within communities but has more obstacles trying to prevent it from doing so. If you have a stomach virus, you'll (hopefully) stay home from work, cancel your social plans, and lie down on your bathroom floor in the fetal position until you feel better, cutting out key opportunities for the virus to spread to other people.

When it comes to those beneficial viruses I mentioned earlier, the kind that prevent a host from getting sick, those might increase your energy and happiness, which in turn make you more likely to interact with other people and spread the awesome, protective, healthy virus more quickly. The people you interact with then get the same protection.

Weirdly, this same epidemic pattern also applies to positive and negative words.

The researchers used Google's Ngram Corpus to track the popularity of certain beneficial words over time.

They found that when a word is highly useful and beneficial to society, its usage spreads very quickly. "Personal computer" and "aspirin" both became highly used words after they were invented and their popularity increased exponentially.

Because of the positive benefits associated with both aspirin and personal computers, people learned about both of them extremely quickly and wanted to share that knowledge — spreading the words far and wide at a rapid pace.

People say that positivity is contagious, and this study shows that in many ways that is ... literally true.

We're drawn to things that help us out, and we're eager to "infect" other people with them. Human society can make giant leaps based on positive and beneficial epidemics.

From the implementation of agriculture to the space age to your new fancy Gmail trick to paying it forward at the Starbucks drive-through, we all move forward as a society when we help spread the positive wealth around.

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O Organics’ delicious, easy-to-cook homestyle spaghetti recipe helps feed America’s hungry

O Organics is donating a meal for every product purchased at Albertsons stores, up to 28 million meals.

Mei and Kyong and a delicious plate of spaghetti and meatballs.

True

When most people think about Korean cooking, they probably imagine the enticing aroma, colors, and flavors of a plate filled with kimchi and bulgogi or a hot bowl of bibimbap. But when cooking influencer Kyong reflects upon his childhood, he has fond memories of his Korean mother cooking him a delicious and easy-to-prepare spaghetti and meatballs recipe.

"My parents were busy running their dry-cleaning business and couldn't call off work or take long breaks like a traditional 9 to 5 job, so there wasn't a lot of time to cook,” he recalled. “So, my mom learned how to make quick-and-easy meals, and her spaghetti and meatballs were my favorites.”

Is there any better example of the American melting pot than a hard-working Korean mother cooking an Italian staple for her family?

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There's nothing wrong with buying generic products instead of brand names.

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When you’re a kid, summer means enjoying the fun of the season—plentiful sunshine, free time with friends, splashing in pools and sprinklers. But not every child’s summer is as carefree as it should be.

For some, summer means going hungry. According to Feeding America, food insecurity affects 1 in 8 children in the U.S., largely because families lose the free or reduced-price meals at school that help keep them fed during the school year.

But back-to-school time doesn’t make food insecurity disappear, either. Hunger is a year-round issue, and with the increased cost of groceries, it’s gotten harder for families who were already struggling to put food on the table.

So what can be done—or more specifically, what can the average person do—to help?

The good news is that one simple choice at the grocery store can help ease the burden a bit for those experiencing food insecurity. And the even better news is that it’s also a healthy choice for ourselves, our families and our planet. When we’re out on our regular shopping trips, we can simply look for the O Organics versions of things we would already buy.

But wait—aren’t we all feeling the pinch at the checkout stand? And isn’t organic food expensive? Here’s the thing: Organic food is often much more affordable than you might think. The cost difference between organic and non-organic products keeps narrowing, and many organic and non-organic foods are now almost identical in price. Sometimes you’ll even find that an organic product is actually cheaper than its brand-name non-organic counterpart.

Since 2005, O Organics has helped give health-conscious shoppers more options by making organic food more accessible and affordable. And now, it’s helping those same shoppers take action to fight food insecurity. For every O Organics product you purchase, the company will donate a meal to someone in need through the Albertsons Companies Foundation—for up to a total of 28 million meals.

Look for the O Organics label in every aisle.O Organics

Here’s what that means in real-world terms:

Say you’re throwing an end-of-summer backyard BBQ bash. If you were to buy O Organics ground beef, hamburger buns, ketchup and sea salt potato chips, you’d be donating four meals just by buying those four ingredients. If you added O Organics butter lettuce and O Organics sandwich slice pickles, you’d be donating two more meals, and so on.

And where are those meals going? Albertsons Companies Foundation works with a network of national and local charities fighting hunger, and regional divisions choose organizations to fund locally. So every O Organics product you purchase means a meal on the table for someone in your area who might not otherwise have the nourishment they need.

No kid should have to worry about getting enough food to thrive. We all make conscious choices each time we walk down a grocery store aisle, and by choosing

O Organics, we can make a difference in a child’s life while also making healthy choices for ourselves and our families. It’s truly a win-win.

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