|When it comes to teen alcohol use, close friends have more influence than peers
||A recent study by an Indiana University researcher has found that adolescents’ alcohol use is influenced by their close friends’ use, regardless of how much alcohol they think their general peers consume. Jonathon Beckmeyer, assistant professor in the Department of Applied Health Science at the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington and author of the study, [...]The post When it comes to teen alcohol use, close friends have more influence than peers appeared first on PsyPost.
|Bad marriage, broken heart? Marital quality and heart disease
||Older couples in a bad marriage — particularly female spouses — have a higher risk for heart disease than those in a good marriage, finds the first nationally representative study of its kind. The findings suggest the need for marriage counseling and programs aimed at promoting marital quality and well-being for couples into their 70s [...]The post Bad marriage, broken heart? Marital quality and heart disease appeared first on PsyPost.
|Business culture in banking industry favors dishonest behavior
||In the past years, there have often been cases of fraud in the banking industry, which have led to a considerable loss of image for banks. Are bank employees by nature less honest people? Or does the business culture in the banking sector favor dishonest behavior? These questions formed the basis for a new study [...]The post Business culture in banking industry favors dishonest behavior appeared first on PsyPost.
|People who are good at recognizing the emotions of others earn more money in their jobs
||Attending to and caring about the emotions of employees and colleagues – that’s for wimps, not for tough businesspeople and efficient performers, right? Wrong! An extensive international study has now shown: The “ability to recognize emotions” affects income. The corresponding author of the study is Professor Dr. Gerhard Blickle of the Department of Psychology at [...]The post People who are good at recognizing the emotions of others earn more money in their jobs appeared first on PsyPost.
|E-cigarettes significantly reduce tobacco cravings
||Electronic cigarettes offer smokers a realistic way to kick their tobacco smoking addiction. In a new study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, scientists at KU Leuven report that e-cigarettes successfully reduced cravings for tobacco cigarettes, with only minimal side effects. Electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) were developed as a less harmful [...]The post E-cigarettes significantly reduce tobacco cravings appeared first on PsyPost.
|High heels may enhance a man’s instinct to be helpful, study finds
||If it’s help a woman needs, maybe she should wear high heels. That’s the message from Nicolas Guéguen of the Université de Bretagne-Sud in France, after he observed how helpful men are towards women in high heels versus those wearing flat, sensible shoes. The study, published in Springer’s journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, is the [...]The post High heels may enhance a man’s instinct to be helpful, study finds appeared first on PsyPost.
|Residential treatment may be first-line option for opioid-dependent young adults
||Residential treatment may be an appropriate first-line option for young adults who are dependent on opioid drugs – including prescription painkillers and heroin – and may result in higher levels of abstinence than does the outpatient treatment that is currently the standard of care. A study from the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Center for Addiction [...]The post Residential treatment may be first-line option for opioid-dependent young adults appeared first on PsyPost.
|Mindfulness techniques can help protect pregnant women against depression
||Pregnant women with histories of major depression are about 40 percent less likely to relapse into depression if they practice mindfulness techniques–such as meditation, breathing exercises and yoga–along with cognitive therapy, according to a new study led by the University of Colorado Boulder. About 30 percent of pregnant women who have struggled with depression in [...]The post Mindfulness techniques can help protect pregnant women against depression appeared first on PsyPost.
|Teens who mature early at greater risk of depression, study says
||Youth who enter puberty ahead of their peers are at heightened risk of depression, although the disease develops differently in girls than in boys, a new study suggests. Early maturation triggers an array of psychological, social-behavioral and interpersonal difficulties that predict elevated levels of depression in boys and girls several years later, according to research [...]The post Teens who mature early at greater risk of depression, study says appeared first on PsyPost.
|Overweight and Invisible- part2
||Carrie: “It seems like I’ve just been going through the motions for some time.” Therapist: “Since your sister Tori was born?” Carrie: “I don’t remember not having a sister I was only 18 months old when she was born.” Therapist: “What is the first thing you remember?” Carrie: “I remember...
|Confessions of a Stage-Four People-Pleaser
||My junior year of college, I bought a used computer for $100. It was cheap because the thing was as huge as it was heavy. The challenge was to walk with this cumbersome piece of technology across campus to my dorm. I was finally to the steps of Holy Cross...
|Cushing’s abandoned brains
||I’ve just found a great short documentary about the abandoned brain collection of pioneering neurosurgeon Harvey Cushing. The video describes how Cushing’s archives, which genuinely involved hundreds of brains in jars, as well as rare slides and photos of the early days of brain surgery, were rediscovered in the basement of Yale University and restored […]
|The 7 Laws of Impatience
||When does impatience cost us dearly, and when does it serve us well?
|What Things Exacerbate ADHD?
||I’ve seen my ADHD symptoms fluctuate. And I’ve seen other’s symptoms fluctuate as well. The first thing that happened to me when I was diagnosed was my thinking “Ah, that explains … everything.” My follow up thoughts seemed to orbit around the idea that I should be able to compensate...
|How to Practice Radical Gratitude
||If you’re a reader of Greater Good, you’ve probably heard a lot about why and how to practice gratitude—and you’re especially likely to hear all about it in the days leading up to Thanksgiving.
But for many of us regular gratitude-practicers, our practice can become a bit, well, routine. And research suggests that when a practice starts to become too rote, its benefits start to wear off.
If you need a gratitude challenge this Thanksgiving, here are three ways to take your appreciation to a totally new level.
1. Contemplate your own death. There’s nothing like facing death to make us appreciate our lives—and sure enough, research finds that when people visualize their own death in detail, their gratitude increases.
You can follow the instructions for this Tibetan death meditation, or simply set aside some time to really reflect on the following questions (which come from Enric Sala via Greg McKeown’s blog). Take each question one at a time, and try journaling an answer to each question before moving on to the next one.What would I do if I only had a week left to live?
What would I do if I only had a month left to live?
What would I do if I only had a year left to live?
What would I do if I only had five years left to live?
What would I do if I only had a life left to live?
2. Throw a gratitude party. One day, in the midst of planning her own 25th birthday, my good friends’ daughter Kate realized that her birthday party might not live up to her expectations. She wanted her party to be special, and she wanted to feel celebrated. She wanted the right people to come to the party, and the right food to be served. She wanted good music, and dancing, and for her friends to spontaneously make heartfelt toasts ... to her, about her.
And then it hit her: If she kept thinking about herself so darn much, she was bound to feel disappointed. (She might even cry at her own party, as the cliched song goes.) So she radically changed course. Here is the gist of the email I got from her:
Hello my parents’ dearest friends!
First of all, THANK YOU for befriending my parents! You have given them love, acceptance, and friendship. You’ve inspired them to grow, and shared your beautiful light with them in a way that has changed their lives (and thus, mine) for the better. Thank you for that, from the very center of my heart.
I’m writing you because I’m on a mission! As you probably don’t know, my 25th birthday is coming up, and rather than going the traditional route and having a blowout party for myself, I’m going to throw a SURPRISE party for my parents. It’ll be a kind of “Thank You for My Birth(day)” party. I cannot wait!
My vision is to surround them with gratitude and love. I’m grateful to them for putting up with me for a quarter century, and so I want to show them in a dramatic way. What does that look like?
Here’s what I imagine: their favorite people showing up with huge smiles. Dancing. Laughter. Sharing of stories. Drinking. Some food (but I’m on a tight budget, so I may have to get creative here). A video of those who couldn’t make it. I’m open to your suggestions!
The party was better than anyone ever dreamed—for Kate and her parents, but also for all the guests. Kate gave us all the incredibly powerful gift of extreme gratitude.
3. Don’t just think about what you are grateful for, really feel it. Another extreme form of gratitude is neuropsychologist Rick Hanson’s “taking in the good” practice. Here’s how to do it:
First, actively think of a positive experience for which you feel grateful. For example, the leaves in my neighborhood look so pretty at this time of year, and I’m grateful to have enjoyed a hike this afternoon among all the fall color.
Next, draw out—really savor—that positive experiences. According to Rick, the key is not just to hold something positive in our awareness for as long as possible, but also to remember the positive emotions that go along with it. The idea, he says, is to “turn positive facts into positive experiences.”
For example, instead of just thinking “I’m grateful for the fall color,” I also reflected on how blissful I felt while outside walking. Thinking like this evokes what was rewarding about a positive event and helps use our brain chemistry to strengthen connections associated with the memory.
Finally, let it all sink in. Take this image—“sinking in”—as if it were literal. Rick invites us to later recall the positive experience—for me, the hike and seeing all the fall color—and feel that experience “entering deeply into your mind and body, like the sun’s warmth into a T-shirt, water into a sponge, or a jewel placed in a treasure chest in your heart.”
I have so much to be grateful for this year, and I hope you do, too. This Thanksgiving, I’ll be both reflecting on and feeling the experiences that I’ve had in the past year that I appreciate, and I hope to make our Thanksgiving meal a gratitude party of sorts.
Will you help me brainstorm other ways to practice extreme gratitude during this holiday season? Please take a moment to post your idea in the comments below. This is fun: I have a thank you gift! If you leave your email address in the comments, I’ll email you a new beautifully designed poster of my happiness manifesto that you can download and print.
|Gut microbiota influences blood-brain barrier permeability
||Our natural gut-residing microbes can influence the integrity of the blood-brain barrier, which protects the brain from harmful substances in the blood, a new study in mice shows. The blood-brain barrier is a highly selective barrier that prevents unwanted molecules and cells from entering the brain from the bloodstream.
|Teens who mature early at greater risk of depression
||Girls AND boys who mature early face many risk factors that are linked with depression several years later, a researcher has concluded. Early maturation triggers an array of psychological, social-behavioral and interpersonal difficulties that predict elevated levels of depression in boys and girls several years later, according to the study.
|Why Antidepressant May Be Effective in Postpartum Depression
||An antidepressant commonly prescribed for women with postpartum depression may restore connections between cells in brain regions that are negatively affected by chronic stress during pregnancy, new research suggests.
|Mathematically gifted men and women report both being happy despite pay inequality
||Many factors go into the emotional well-being of the adults who have been studied since they were gifted teenagers.
|Gratitude Greatest Hits
||Three years ago, the Greater Good Science Center launched the Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude program, which supported 29 research projects and yielded dozens of articles and videos on the science of gratitude.
As Thanksgiving 2014 approaches, we thought we’d take the time to highlight some of the best and most interesting content from the past three years.
Why bother? Benefits of gratitude
A ‘Thnx’ a Day Keeps the Doctor Away, by Emiliana R. Simon-Thomas
Why Gratitude Works, by Christine Carter (video)
A Scientific Reason to Stop and Smell the Roses, by Stacey Kennelly
Basics of building the “thank you” habit
Six Habits of Highly Grateful People, by Jeremy Adam Smith
Tips for Keeping a Gratitude Journal, by Jason Marsh
How grateful are you, anyway? Take the quiz!
Fostering thankfulness at home, school, and work
How to Foster Gratitude in School, by Jeffrey Froh and Giacomo Bono
Gratitude 365, by Christine Carter (video)
Gratitude is for Lovers, by Amie M. Gordon
How Does Gratitude Affect Romantic Relationships? by Sara Algoe (video)
Should Women Thank Men for Doing the Dishes? by Jeremy Adam Smith
Five Ways to Cultivate Gratitude at Work, by Jeremy Adam Smith
When “thanks” doesn’t seem like the right response
Five Ways Giving Thanks Can Backfire, by Amie M. Gordon
How Gratitude Can Help You Through Hard Times, by Robert Emmons
Five Myths about Gratitude, by Robert Emmons
Can Fostering Positive Emotions Help Stop Suicide? by Jeremy Adam Smith and Devan Davison
Can’t Get Therapy? Try Gratitude and Kindness, by Lauren Klein
Can Gratitude Help People with Heart Disease? by Jeff Huffman (video)
We at the GGSC would like to thank our colleagues at UC Davis and the John Templeton Foundation, whose support made the gratitude project possible.