Learned optimism: how to cultivate a talent for positive thinking

Are you more of a glass half full or half empty kind of person? Those who develop the ability to see the world from a positive point of view can reap significant benefits including improved health, lower stress levels, increased career success, and even a longer lifespan. This is the surprising power of learned optimism. …

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The boredom paradox: how to turn boredom to your advantage

When did you last feel bored? Was it during a never-ending Zoom call, or one hour into a mind-numbing dinner party conversation?  Although many assume boredom reflects our increased leisure time and reliance on technology, people have complained about boredom since ancient times. For instance, the Roman philosopher Seneca wrote of the restlessness of boredom, …

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Decision anxiety: how to make decisions when feeling anxious

Have you noticed that sometimes you can make decisions in an instant, but at other times the choice feels overwhelming? Anxiety can reduce your willingness to take risks, leading to a phenomenon known as decision anxiety. Decision anxiety causes a fear of making the wrong choice and later suffering the consequences. This may cause you …

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How to harness the power of self-affirmation

What are your values? Who are you? Such complex questions, and yet, few people spend enough time defining their sense of self. As a result, they answer with polite conversation ice-breakers, perhaps providing their name and their occupation. Beyond knowing yourself better, a strong sense of self has many benefits, including better performance and better …

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Fear of judgement: why we are afraid of being judged

If you have ever worried that poor performance in an evaluation will lead to a friend or colleague developing a negative opinion of you, then you are not alone. Fear of judgement by others is common. Athletes may fear judgement if they do not win a race, students may dread the disappointment of others upon …

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The psychology of regret: how inaction affects our sense of self

We all have experienced regret, perhaps after making a hurtful comment or acting in a way that later turns out to be harmful. Regret is a feeling of sadness, repentance, or disappointment at something that you have done, or failed to do. Psychologists Shai Davidai and Tom Gilovich have investigated the psychology of regret, illuminating a …

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Life management: a holistic approach to make the most of your life

If you are interested in personal development, you are most likely familiar with a variety of methods to effectively manage your time, energy, relationships, and career. These tools are designed to get the most out of each part of your life. But when you are blinkered into looking at each area in isolation, you might …

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Functional fixedness: when we stick to what we know

Surely, a knife is made for cutting things. And you can only use a cotton swab to clean your ears — right? Functional fixedness is a form of cognitive bias which makes us automatically narrow down the function of each tool. Although functional fixedness offers great mental shortcuts, it can present barriers to working to …

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The science of eureka moments

A eureka moment is that magical epiphany when the solution to a problem seems to appear out of nowhere. Also known as an “Aha!” moment, little beats the sudden clarity you feel at solving a puzzle or finally understanding a previously unfathomable concept. Eureka moments can lead to creative discoveries, the triumphant completion of a …

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