Summary of “Don’t worry about feeling sad: on the benefits of a blue period”

Negative moods correlated with low life satisfaction only in people who did not perceive adverse feelings as helpful or pleasant.
In a study published in 2017, Bastian and his colleagues conducted two experiments examining how this societal expectation to seek happiness affects people, especially when they face failure.
After completing the task, all the participants took a worry test that measured their responses to failing the anagram task, and filled out a questionnaire designed to evaluate whether societal expectations to be happy affected how they processed negative emotions.
‘The idea is that when people find themselves in a context where happiness is highly valued, it sets up a sense of pressure that they should feel that way,’ Bastian told me.
In the second experiment, 202 people filled out two questionnaires online.
The second – in which people were asked to rate sentences such as: ‘I think society accepts people who feel depressed or anxious’ – measured to what extent societal expectations to seek positive feelings and inhibit negative ones affected their emotional state.
As it turns out, people who thought that society expects them to always be cheerful and never sad experienced negative emotional states of stress, anxiety, depression and sadness more often.
‘The point is that when we try and avoid sadness, see it as a problem, and strive for endless happiness, we are in fact not very happy and cannot enjoy the benefits of true happiness.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The 10/10/10 Rule For Tough Decisions”

When people share the worst decisions they’ve made in life, they are often recalling choices made in the grip of visceral emotion: anger, lust, anxiety, greed.
How would you feel about that decision 10 minutes from now? “I think I’d be nervous but proud of myself for taking the risk and putting myself out there.”
How would you feel about it 10 months from now? “I don’t think I’ll regret this. I don’t. I mean, obviously, I really would like this to work. I think he’s great. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?”.
What we’re feeling now is intense and sharp, while the future feels fuzzier.
10/10/10 forces us to shift our spotlights, asking us to imagine a moment 10 months into the future with the same “Freshness” that we feel in the present.
Of course, we don’t check our emotions at the door of the office; the same emotion rebalancing is necessary at work.
If you’ve been avoiding a difficult conversation with a coworker, then you’re letting short-term emotion rule you.
If you’ve been chasing a hotshot job candidate, 10 minutes after you decide to extend an offer, you might feel nothing but excitement; 10 months from now will you regret the pay package you’re offering her if it makes other employees feel less appreciated? And 10 years from now, will today’s hotshot have been ?exible enough to change with your business?

The orginal article.

Summary of “Cruel to be kind: should you sometimes be bad for another’s good?”

If positive encouragement doesn’t work, you might reverse strategy, making your friend feel so bad, so worried, so scared, that the only strategy left is that he starts studying like mad. Sometimes, the only way to help someone seems to be a cruel or nasty approach – a strategy that may leave the ‘helper’ feeling guilty and wrong.
Numerous studies of interpersonal emotion regulation – how one person can change or influence the emotions of another – emphasise the value of increasing positive emotions and decreasing negative ones.
Prior to play, participants were asked to read a personal statement ostensibly written by their opponent about a painful romantic breakup.
After practising alone for five minutes, participants were asked to decide how the game should be presented to their opponents.
Our study shows that the tendency to make another feel bad to help him succeed is far more prevalent when the provocateur feels empathy.
The participants’ actions were absolutely altruistic: they chose to induce emotions that they knew would be beneficial for their opponents to perform well in the games, while reducing their own chance of a prize.
Finally, what are the limits of affect-worsening – and can even the most well-meaning, altruistic person end up doing harm? It might be that being cruel is not necessary, and that we are mistaken to think that the other person needs to feel bad in order to achieve long-term wellbeing.
Even if cruelty is effective, is it really the most effective strategy of all? In our original study, participants did not have the option to induce positive emotions in the ostensible opponent.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How to Recover from Romantic Heartbreak”

Yes, time helps, as does social support, but new studies are verifying that there are all kinds of other steps we can and should take to soothe the emotional pain we feel and expedite our recovery.
The premise of the study was that to recover from heartbreak we need to diminish our feelings of love for our ex-partner.
The goal of the study was to examine three kinds of emotional regulation strategies to see which of them would help heartbroken subjects reduce their love feelings.
In the second condition they were asked to reframe their loving feelings as less problematic.
The researchers found that only negative reappraisals were truly effective in reducing love feelings.
It is those very feelings of “Unpleasantness” that make it challenging to use negative reappraisals as a way to recover from heartbreak.
As a clinician, I’ve found that there are two things we can do to minimize these feelings of unpleasantness and thus feel freer to practice negative reappraisals of our ex.
To do so, we have to assert control and consciously and willfully prevent ourselves from making mistakes that will set us back and encourage ourselves to take steps that might feel unpleasant or counter-intuitive, but that will ultimately diminish our emotional pain and expedite our recovery.

The orginal article.

Summary of “What Does Immersing Yourself in a Book Do To Your Brain?”

Drama makes more visible what each of us does when we pass over in our deepest, most immersive forms of reading.
These are the learned capacities that help us become more human over time, whether as a child when reading Frog and Toad and learning what Toad does when Frog is sick or as an adult when reading Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Colson Whitehead’s Underground Railroad, or James Baldwin’s I Am Not Your Negro, and experiencing the soul-stealing depravity of slavery and the desperation of those condemned to it or to its legacy.
What will happen to young readers who never meet and begin to understand the thoughts and feelings of someone totally different? What will happen to older readers who begin to lose touch with that feeling of empathy for people outside their ken or kin? It is a formula for unwitting ignorance, fear and misunderstanding, that can lead to the belligerent forms of intolerance that are the opposite of America’s original goals for its citizens of many cultures.
“What will happen to young readers who never meet and begin to understand the thoughts and feelings of someone totally different? What will happen to older readers who begin to lose touch with that feeling of empathy for people outside their ken or kin?”.
In what is surely one of the more intriguingly titled articles in this research, “Your Brain on Jane Austen,” the scholar of 18th-century literature Natalie Phillips teamed with Stanford neuroscientists to study what happens when we read fiction in different ways: that is, with and without “Close attention.” Phillips and her colleagues found that when we read a piece of fiction “Closely,” we activate regions of the brain that are aligned to what the characters are both feeling and doing.
In related work, neuroscientists from Emory University and from York University have shown how networks in the areas responsible for touch, called the somatosensory cortex, are activated when we read metaphors about texture, and also how motor neurons are activated when we read about movement.
Oatley and his York University colleague Raymond Mar suggest that the process of taking on another’s consciousness in reading fiction and the nature of fiction’s content-where the great emotions and conflicts of life are regularly played out-not only contribute to our empathy, but represent what the social scientist Frank Hakemulder called our “Moral laboratory.” In this sense, when we read fiction, the brain actively simulates the consciousness of another person, including those whom we would never otherwise even imagine knowing.
This emerging work on empathy in the reading brain illustrates physiologically, cognitively, politically, and culturally how important it is that feeling and thought be connected in the reading circuit in every person.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Is compassion fatigue inevitable in an age of 24-hour news?”

There’s a clinical name for what Apathetic Idealist and many of us are feeling: it’s called compassion fatigue.
Psychologist Charles Figley defines compassion fatigue as “a state of exhaustion and dysfunction, biologically, physiologically and emotionally, as a result of prolonged exposure to compassion stress”.
As historian Samuel Moyn recently put it: “Compassion fatigue is as old as compassion.” And the anxieties that come with our awareness of compassion fatigue go back just as far.
Not long after compassion fatigue emerged as a concept in healthcare, a similar concept began to appear in media studies – the idea that overexposure to horrific images, from news reports in particular, could cause viewers to shut down emotionally, rejecting information instead of responding to it.
“The troubles blur. Crises become one crisis.” The volume of bad news drives the public to “Collapse into a compassion fatigue stupor”.
There is no compassion fatigue without compassion: the caregivers at risk see somebody suffering, and they want to reduce that suffering.
Shouldn’t we fight compassion fatigue because we worry that paralysis and apathy will make the world worse? I don’t hope to increase my empathy for its own sake, especially by way of nearby tragedies.
For her part, believed fatigue was a reasonable response to a barrage of terrible images: “Someone who is perennially surprised that depravity exists, who continues to feel disillusioned when confronted with evidence of what humans are capable of inflicting in the way of gruesome, hands-on cruelties upon other humans, has not reached moral or psychological adulthood.” In this view, compassion fatigue is a coming of age.

The orginal article.

Summary of “5 Things Only Serious Writers Do”

There are five fundamental things that set serious writers apart from the rest.
She reminded me that serious writers don’t wait for the muse to visit them before they start, and this is echoed by many famous writers I’ve spoken with over the years.
The power of simply starting is an incredible psychological tool for serious writers.
All serious writers know that small, incremental steps are the only path to achieving great work, and that you can’t edit a blank page.
All serious writers know that every inspired or brilliant page is typically preceded by a dozen shitty ones.
The award-winning creator, producer, and host of the megahit Lore podcast, TV show, and book series, Aaron Mahnke, came on the podcast to discuss his writing regimen and share some advice for serious writers.
All serious writers meet their deadlines with ease, and they don’t sweat it because they have the tools at hand to keep the cursor moving until the job is done.
Only serious writers have the ability to focus on what’s important and tune out what’s not.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The age you feel means more than your actual birthdate”

Imagine, for a moment, that you had no birth certificate and your age was simply based on the way you feel inside.
Most people felt about eight years younger than their actual chronological age.
Feeling between 8 and 13 years older than your actual age resulted in an 18-25% greater risk of death over the study periods, and greater disease burden – even when you control for other demographic factors such as education, race or marital status.
It may be a direct result of those accompanying personality changes, with a lower subjective age meaning that you enjoy a greater range of activities as you age.
The result could be a vicious cycle, with psychological and physiological factors both contributing to a higher subjective age and worse health, which makes us feel even older and more vulnerable.
This switches at around 25, when the felt age drops behind the chronological age.
Some psychologists have speculated that a lower subjective age is a form of self-defence, protecting us from the negative age stereotypes – as seen in a nuanced study by Anna Kornadt at Bielefeld University in Germany.
Given its predictive power – beyond our actual chronological age – Stephan believes that doctors should be asking all their patients about their subjective age to identify the people who are most at risk of future health problems to plan their existing health care more effectively.

The orginal article.

Summary of “New research explains why sports fandom makes us less happy”

Millions of French soccer fans are feeling great right now.
Most sports fans will tell you that following their team is agony.
“Loss aversion,” a key theory in behavioral economics, may partly explain why being a sports fan stinks so much.
Data from a new study suggests that loss aversion also describes the life of a sports fan.
To examine the impact of sports, the researchers looked at the reported happiness of people they identified as soccer fans before and after matches during the British and Scottish seasons between 2011 and 2013.
As loss aversion predicts, losing makes you feel worse than winning makes you feel better.
So if it’s so hopeless, why do so many people still follow sports teams? The researchers don’t really have an answer.
As a sports fan myself, I would guess that, like most long-term relationships, fandom is not about happiness.

The orginal article.

Summary of “What Is the Most Nostalgic Song of All Time?”

Ever since he died, this odd thing has been happening in which a song will come on that reminds me of him – perhaps it’s even a song I don’t ever remember hearing – and I’m suddenly overwhelmed by such an intense wave of nostalgia, I literally have to stand still and catch myself.
I don’t even remember my father playing that song.
Again, I had to stop what I was doing and play the song twenty times.
As one of them, I posted it to my Twitter account, curious if any other people locked in their cells felt this way about nostalgic songs.
A simple question, posed at eight o’clock on a Saturday night: What is the most nostalgic song of all time? I suggested “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac.
By the time we got onto “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd and “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” by Roberta Flack, it was a raging discussion – people posting lyrics and memories and suggestions for new songs, new genres.
Someone even made a Spotify playlist inspired by the thread. So many people talked about the relief they felt to simply sit like teenagers in a room, listening to music and talking about what the songs meant to them – the connection, to the past, to the lost Atlantises, the buried treasures in our minds, to each other.
His current favorite song is “Burning Down the House” by Talking Heads.

The orginal article.