NPR
3 min read
Psychology

Need A Happiness Boost? Spend Your Money To Buy Time, Not More Stuff

Money can't buy happiness, right? Well, some researchers beg to differ. They say it depends on how you spend it. A recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that when people spend money on time-saving services such as a house cleaner, lawn care or grocery-delivery, it can make them feel a little happier. By comparison, money spent on material purchases – aka things – does not boost positive emotions the way we might expect. Think of it as a way to buy back what has become for many Americans a scarce resource: free time. Yet, in a culture where many
Entrepreneur
3 min read
Psychology

Finding Your 'Stress Sweet Spot' to Perform at Your Best

When you hear the term "peak performer," what do you think of? Odds are it’s someone who routinely operates under intense stress, getting the job done regardless of the difficulties. We think of athletes, lawyers, astronauts. But in their groundbreaking recent book The Leading Brain, researchers Friederike Fabritius and Hans W. Hagemann offer a more nuanced take on what it means to be a peak performer. To Fabritius and Hagemann, peak performance doesn’t necessarily mean thriving amid intense stress. Instead, it means finding your sweet spot -- the amount of stress (or using their term, “arousa
The Atlantic
3 min read
Self-Improvement

Is Any Job Really Better Than No Job?

Any job is better than no job. Or at least that’s the thinking when it comes to preserving physical and mental health after unemployment. Indeed, many studies have found that the long-term unemployed have at least twice the rate of depression and anxiety, as well as higher rates of heart attacks and strokes. One study on Pennsylvania men weathering the 1980s recession found that a year after they were laid off, the men’s risk of dying doubled. And as one review of the most recent recession put it, “nearly all individual-level studies indicated that job loss, financial strain, and housing issue
The Atlantic
17 min read
Self-Improvement

How Motherhood Affects Creativity

Her labor begins, and she leans back on her bottom, pulling the first baby out of her body with her own hands and teeth. Within five minutes, another newborn arrives. Soon, her babies are squirming around her, squealing and desperate to suckle. Although the mother rat has never given birth before this, she is now responsible for a dozen lives—so she hits the ground running, instinct as her compass, biology as her map. She has already stockpiled the materials for a warm nest. She uses what she can find. Strands of hair, dried grass, twigs, paper towels, furniture foam. Her brain is closer to a
NPR
2 min read
Self-Improvement

Why We Can't Shake Life's 'Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda' Moments

Everyone has regrets. You probably have a few of them. By some estimates, regret is the most common negative emotion that we talk about, and the second-most common emotion mentioned in our daily lives. Amy Summerville is a professor of psychology who runs the Regret Lab at Miami University in Ohio. She says a big part of why we struggle with regret has to do with the idea of rumination. "Rumination is having thoughts spring unwanted to mind and we're chewing them over without actually getting anything new out of them, they're just repeatedly, intrusively, becoming part of our mental landscape.
A Plus
5 min read
Self-Improvement

We Tried 3 'Fake It 'Til You Make It' Strategies To See If We Could Trigger Feelings Of Self-Confidence

Some people naturally radiate an inherent sense of confidence, but for the rest of us (introverts especially), these feelings of self-assurance aren't always easy to access. If you're in the latter category, you've probably been told to "fake it 'til you make it," but maybe it's time we take the phrase a little more seriously.    Science shows faking self-confidence can actually make it happen.  While this sounds like magic, studies show positive feelings can be manufactured by employing mindful physiological practices, such as as straightening your posture, striking a power pose, or even chan
Better Nutrition
4 min read
Self-Improvement

Stress Relief Toolkit

Have you ever noticed your pulse accelerate when you do something as mundane as watching the news? In an automatic response to perceived danger, the body floods with hormones and elevates the heart rate, boosting our energy in preparation for “fight or flight.” These days, some of us find our bodies’ alarm systems going off all the time, which can lead to serious health consequences. “Stress relief isn’t optional anymore, it’s a necessity,” says Cassandra Bodzak, a holistic lifestyle expert, meditation and wellness teacher, and TV personality. “Consider creating a foundational support system f
Better Nutrition
2 min read
Self-Improvement

Don’t Stress About It

Stress comes in many difierent shapes and sizes, some of which aren’t always obvious—work pressure, debt, illness, worries about children or aging parents, and the list goes on. There are also psychological forms of stress such as holding on to things and stuflng down feelings. Regardless of the cause, all forms of stress can negatively afiect health and mental well-being. There are a lot of efiective ways to deal with stress and lighten your stress “load.” We have some suggestions in “Stress Relief Toolkit” by Tina Rubin on p. 38. For example, here’s an easy stress management tip that can pay
Better Nutrition
1 min read
Wellness

Adapt With Adaptogens

Adaptogens get their names from the adaptive properties the plants exhibit in nature, meaning the plants respond and adapt well to stressful environmental conditions, making them hardier and stronger. Fortunately, these herbs have the same effect on us. The following adaptogens can help to improve your stress response and mitigate the negative impact stress has on your immune system. As a result, these adaptogens help restore balance to your entire body. 1 ASHWAGANDHA is a calming adaptogen that supports healthy adrenal function. It is often used to relieve anxiety and fatigue, and to help ba
Mic
4 min read
Self-Improvement

The Reason You’re More Likely to Cry on Planes

It’s a scenario we all recognize: You’re peacefully enjoying a flight one minute, and the next you’re openly sobbing at the rom-com playing on a tiny screen, hoping your seat neighbors don’t notice. Or maybe you’re feeling inexplicably high-strung and can’t pinpoint why, or you can’t help but question all your life choices during turbulence. You’re not imagining it — travelers are frequently overcome with unexpectedly strong feelings when they’re in the air. Your trek through airport security may be stressful enough on its own, but once you step aboard, you’re in for a whole new emotional rol
Nautilus
7 min read
Tech

Your Next New Best Friend Might Be a Robot: Meet Xiaoice. She’s empathic, caring, and always available—just not human.

One night in late July 2014, a journalist from the Chinese newspaper Southern Weekly interviewed a 17-year-old Chinese girl named Xiaoice (pronounced Shao-ice). The journalist, Liu Jun, conducted the interview online, through the popular social networking platform Weibo. It was wide-ranging and personal: LJ: So many people make fun of you and insult you, why don’t you get mad?Xiaoice: You should ask my father.LJ: What if your father leaves you one day unattended?Xiaoice: Don’t try to stir up trouble, what do you want?LJ: How would you like others to comment on you when you die one day?Xiaoice:
Literary Hub
4 min read
Self-Improvement

A President Ruled by Insecurity is More Predictable Than You Think

In early 2015 I was writing a novel I was calling We Make the Future about a producer for an Alex Jones-like conspiracy mogul who gets drawn into an actual conspiracy. The plot was a bit convoluted—supporting characters included the starting quarterback for the Houston Texans who loses his mind and begins to think he might be God—and the day-to-day stress of piloting the manuscript further into obscurity was taking a toll. Looking back from 2017, where every single second of every single day is soaked with political anxiety and dread, it’s hard to remember why I thought diving into the 2016 Pr
Nautilus
4 min read
Self-Improvement

Is Japanese Culture Traumatized By Centuries of Natural Disaster?

Ayumi Endo remembers the 2011 earthquake and tsunami with exquisite detail. She ran downstairs to screaming coworkers. The phones in Tokyo had stopped working, and the trains outside stopped running. To kill time, she went to a pub, and saw a tsunami chase a car on TV. The drama was seared into Ayumi’s memory. “We all knew how terrible this was,” she said. “It was like a movie scene.” Years later, 3/11, as it is informally known, has left deep grooves in Japan’s collective psyche. The disaster caused an increase in suicides, PTSD, and stress-related physical ailments like cardiovascular diseas
Better Nutrition
2 min read
Self-Improvement

Homeopathic Stress Relief

Looking for a gentle way to ease stress, anxiety, and depression? Homeopathic remedies offer nontoxic solutions that have been used for centuries to treat many ailments, including stress, anxiety, and depression. Although there is an ongoing debate in conventional medicine about its effectiveness, homeopathic therapy’s age-old wisdom has been bolstered over the years by clinical observations showing it works for many people. Here are my top five choices of homeopathic remedies to help calm and soothe acute or chronic anxiety, stress, and depression. These remedies are sold individually and in
Mic
3 min read
Self-Improvement

Here’s the Weird Way Anger Can Affect Your Beliefs About Money

Do you think wealthy people tend to be harder workers? Were you recently stuck in a frustrating traffic jam — or did you stub your toe? Believe it or not, your answer to these questions might be related: A new paper published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin suggests that people are more likely to agree with economically conservative positions when they’re angry. Indeed, people’s economic opinions might be more malleable than previously thought, said University of Cincinnati professor Anthony Salerno, the paper’s lead author. At first, the authors had set out to learn whether ange
Popular Science
3 min read
Science

Focusing on Soccer May Have a Troubling Effect on Teenage Girls

Girls who played only soccer said they were more stressed. Pexels In youth athletics, as anyone who has ever been around it can tell you, every sport is a blood sport. Competition for top spots, high pressure to succeed, and the allure of a college scholarship are pushing younger and younger kids to pick just one sport and stick to it. But research shows that early specialization doesn’t lead to any particular advantage—and there are downsides, too. Kids who specialize have higher risk of injury and, according to a new study, might also lose out on a good night’s sleep. High school-aged girls
Entrepreneur
3 min read
Science

Finding Your 'Stress Sweet Spot' to Perform at Your Best

When you hear the term "peak performer," what do you think of? Odds are it’s someone who routinely operates under intense stress, getting the job done regardless of the difficulties. We think of athletes, lawyers, astronauts. But in their groundbreaking recent book The Leading Brain, researchers Friederike Fabritius and Hans W. Hagemann offer a more nuanced take on what it means to be a peak performer. To Fabritius and Hagemann, peak performance doesn’t necessarily mean thriving amid intense stress. Instead, it means finding your sweet spot -- the amount of stress (or using their term, “arousa
Mic
6 min read
Self-Improvement

How to Feel Better, Happier, More Awake and More Confident at Work — in 10 Easy Steps

Remember how you felt on the first day of your exciting new job? If that glow has faded, you might be experiencing workplace burnout or brownout. What’s brownout? While burnout is extreme enough to make you totally check out, brownout might be a creeping drop in your energy and motivation — making it harder to get work done. Burnout doesn’t just hurt job performance; it can affect health and alter brain function. Thankfully, there are techniques to boost motivation without changing jobs. “For many, liking your job more means doing work that is either meaningful or challenging, or both,” Julie
NPR
3 min read
Self-Improvement

After Hurricane Katrina, Many People Found New Strength

Long after the floodwaters recede and the debris is cleared, the mental health impacts of disasters like hurricanes can linger. Psychologist Jean Rhodes of the University of Massachusetts-Boston has spent more than a decade studying what happens to people years after a natural disaster — in this case, Hurricane Katrina. She and her team had been studying the health of young parents attending community college in New Orleans starting in 2003. After Katrina hit in 2005, they found themselves with a unique opportunity: they had health data from before and after the natural disaster. The researche
Guernica Magazine
8 min read

When White Supremacy Gets Road Rage

The Dodge Challenger is a muscle car, capable of accelerating from zero to sixty in 3.9 seconds and achieving a top speed in excess of two hundred miles per hour, all courtesy of a supercharged engine that starts at 305 horsepower. This is the car that twenty-year-old James Alex Fields chose to drive from Ohio to a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the one he accelerated into a throng of jubilating counter-protesters, killing a thirty-two-year-old paralegal and injuring at least nineteen others. Then, while people stumbled and lay wounded in the street, he put the car i
MarketWatch
3 min read
Psychology

The Scientifically Proven Reason You Should Stop Feeling Guilty About Ordering Takeout

How services that buy you time can boost your happiness Tiandra Cox uses the grocery-delivery service Instacart several times a week and routinely orders from Amazon.com’s Prime service. It’s a luxury, she said, but it has helped her in ways she never expected. Cox, 30, a mother of two who works full-time while pursuing a bachelor’s degree, used to suffer from panic attacks, especially in her local grocery stores around Indianapolis. But she hasn’t had one since she stepped up her use of time-saving services. “If I didn’t have those services helping, I don’t think I would have enrolled in scho
Nautilus
1 min read
Self-Improvement

The Pernicious Myth of Willpower

I often find myself on the cusp of doing something productive, and then decide not to. Even though I say to myself, in such circumstances, “Hey, you’re procrastinating,” I still witness myself rationalizing putting that productive thing off. It’s a bewildering feeling you may find familiar. If only I had more willpower, I’d think. Then I wouldn’t experience this embarrassing inability to do what I want to do—whether it’s working out, writing, or planning. But it turns out “willpower” is not a valid psychological construct—there’s no mental resource or mechanism that answers to this term. What