The dangers of apophenia: not everything happens for a reason

Humans love patterns. Sometimes that’s helpful, but other times… Not so much. Apophenia is the common tendency to detect patterns that do not exist. Also known as “patternicity”, apophenia occurs when we try to make predictions, or seek answers, based on unrelated events. Apophenia can lead to poor decision-making. For instance, many people choose their …

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The psychology of negative thinking

Of course, we all have negative thoughts from time to time. After all, our thought processes are affected by what we experience around us, and it’s normal to experience both good and bad times. However, when negative thinking becomes the norm, it can contribute to mental health problems including social anxiety, low self-esteem, and even …

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Productivity addiction: when we become obsessed with productivity

The business and productivity app market is worth billions of dollars. Every day, there is a new productivity tool popping up, a book about productivity being published, and millions of people reading and sharing content related to personal productivity. It started as a measure of efficiency for the production of goods and services. Somehow, along …

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The danger of emotional reasoning and using our emotions as proof

Cognitive distortions are thought patterns that can affect our perception of reality. One such distortion is emotional reasoning. This is a thought pattern in which our emotional reactions, or our feelings, lead us to believe that something is true even when the empirical evidence tells us otherwise.  Emotional reasoning is very common in the workplace. …

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Gratitude traps: why we should be critical of gratefulness

Gratitude is an efficient way to increase the appreciation we have for the things that we could otherwise take for granted. Practising gratitude might make us feel more thankful for the circumstances we find ourselves in, such as where we live, the work we do, the people we have in our lives, and the gifts …

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Mental filtering: when we focus on negative details

Do you tend to focus on negative details? Mental filtering is a cognitive distortion that leads us to magnify the negative details of a situation, while filtering out the positives. Also known as selective abstraction, this bias for dwelling on your shortcomings could lead you to focus on one piece of negative feedback, while disregarding …

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The science of self-love: the evidence-based benefits of loving yourself

Self-love is seen by many as a futile, even narcissistic pursuit. With influencers urging you to love yourself without much substance to their advice, the concept of self-love may seem like an empty one. However, there is lots of scientific evidence suggesting that self-love can have a positive impact on your mental health, self-esteem, and …

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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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