Top Insights for 2017 from Greater Good Magazine at University of Berkeley

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We are a big fans of Greater Good Magazine and in December they released their top ten insights from 2017. All ten are fantastic:

      1. Emotional experience is much richer than we thought: The research suggests that not only do we have a lot more emotions but they exist on a spectrum from one emotion to another “This research dovetails with the emerging notion that a happy and meaningful life is not just about feeling good. In fact, experiencing a greater variety of emotions—even mixed emotions—may be key to our health and well-being.”
      2. Young people aren’t the only ones who need a sense of purpose: Hope and meaning helps older adults deal with the effects of aging. Cognitive function is higher in adults with a sense of purpose.”In combination with earlier findings that link purpose to better health and lower disease risk, these studies lend more credence to the claim that a sense of purpose is an important component of a healthy lifestyle for older adults”
      3. We know less than we thought about the impact of mindfulness and meditation: Small sample sizes and other poor research designs plague studies on the effects mindfulness.  Scientists often don’t even agree on the definition on ‘mindfulness’ or ‘meditation’. This in no way devalues its usefulness but it does push the need for truth about the practice and that more thorough research is needed before we can say we understand it.
      4. You can probably change your relationship style—and even your personality: Up until this year majority of studies suggest our attachment style is set in childhood but this year two studies suggest that this may not be true. “After the intimacy-building exercises, participants with more avoidant attachment styles rated their relationships as higher-quality than they had beforehand. And according to a survey of participants one month later, the more avoidant participants had become less so (less distanced from their partners and more willing to be close).”
      5. Music can make you a more creative, mindful person: “Our shared love of music helps connect us socially, in part by enhancing kind, helpful, generous behaviors. But recent research suggests that music has other potential benefits that we are only beginning to understand—namely, it seems to increase our mindfulness and our ability to think creatively.”
      6. Taking care of others might be good for your own resilience: A small but eye opening study suggests that helping people when they have problems acts like a stress resilience building exercise. “Helping [others] regulate their emotional reactions to stressful situations may be a particularly powerful way to practice and hone our own regulation skills, which can then be applied to improve our own emotional well-being,” the researchers write.
      7. “Phubbing” could hurt your relationships: No surprise here but because the act of snubbing someone for your phone is a recent phenomena so not many studies have been released on its effects. However last year two surveys found exactly what could be expected: Snubbing someone for your phone hurts our relationship with that person.  Interestingly the studies also suggest that being snubbed for someone’s phone feeds technology addiction “The phubbing group reported feeling more excluded in interactions with others, which (in turn) led to a greater need for attention, more intense social media use, and poorer well-being. “
      8. Kindness at work seems to be contagious: It was already widely known that kindness begets kindness but recent studies show that this can happen at the workplace as well. Even a cold, competitive environment like a corporate office can benefit from random acts of kindness that people have tendency to pay forward.
      9. Students of all ethnicities could benefit from diverse classrooms: Another study that furthered an already known fact: Diversity creates creates less racial prejudice and higher education and income levels later in life. A recent study found this to be a universal truth across all ethnicities. “As classrooms became more racially balanced, students of all ethnicities felt safer, less bullied, and less lonely.”
      10. The individual and social impact of SEL might last a long time: SEL (social-emotional learning) has been shown to improve moods, social skills, school performance…etc. Up until currently however it was not known that it could last as long as four years. “The review looked at studies of 82 SEL programs for K-12 students. Comparing students who participated in SEL programs to those who didn’t, the results showed significant benefits that persisted from one to nearly four years afterward”

I really like all of these, all show the benefits of the sciences on our ability to cope. Even this one article shows that emotion is a rich and diverse experience, everyone benefits from a sense of purpose,  caring for others is good for you too and we can always change for the better.  The entire article is worth a closer look.

 

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