Plus, are there perks to sarcasm?
“One of the things that happens when you apologize is you are relinquishing a bit of power and control.” –psychologist Tyler Okimoto
Happy happy, joy joy. If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, what does a daily moment of joy do for your health? New research from the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley found that people who engage in daily "micro-acts" of joy are 25 percent happier over the course of a week. In what researchers are calling the BIG JOY project, study volunteers took surveys about their emotions, stress levels and social habits. Then, for a week, they committed to daily “micro-acts” of joy, such as meditation, gratitude lists, and random acts of kindness. Not only were people happier after the week-long intervention, but some volunteers felt they had stronger relationships. They also felt more in control of their happiness. "We're really excited," said Emiliana Simon-Thomas, science director of the Greater Good Science Center. "What we're really focused on is understanding impact and the potential for change in people's lives.”
Yeah, right. Can a bit of cutting wit be good for relationships? Even though sarcasm involves saying the opposite of what you really mean, researchers hypothesize that it might help people understand each other better. They suggest that sarcasm can make people more open to someone else's perspective by activating the brain’s abilities for deliberate thinking and open-mindedness. Sarcasm might actually be useful in relationships because it shows that you remember what the other person thinks. However, the authors also point out that sarcasm can be harmful, especially if the speaker is being too critical, if the recipient is in a bad mood, or if there are other issues in the relationship.
The variability of grief. You’ve probably heard that people who lose a loved one may go through what are known as the “five stages” of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. But what happens when your own experience doesn’t fit this paradigm? Listen to learn more.
ON THE HIDDEN BRAIN PODCAST
The Power of Apologies: Why is it so hard to say ‘I’m sorry’? We talk with psychologist Tyler Okimoto about the mental barriers that keep us from admitting when we’ve done something wrong, as well as the transformative power of apologies.
ON THE MY UNSUNG HERO PODCAST
Oliver Meunsterer’s Story: Minutes before an important job interview, Oliver realized he'd forgotten his dress shirt. A stranger offered a kind and unexpected solution.
Don’t forget to send us the story of your unsung hero! Record a voice memo on your phone and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
ON HIDDEN BRAIN+
Your Questions Answered: Kristin Neff on Self-Compassion: Do you have a harsh inner critic? This week, self-compassion researcher Kristin Neff answers listener questions about how to treat ourselves with a little more kindness. Only on Hidden Brain+.
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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
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A girl was ten on her last birthday. She will be twelve on her next birthday. How can this statement be true?
LAST WEEK’S PUZZLE
Connor, Emma, Russell, and Taylor are celebrating Thanksgiving together. To save money, each of them is bringing a different side dish (cranberry sauce, green beans, mashed potatoes, or yams). Each of them is also bringing a different dessert (apple pie, chocolate cream pie, pumpkin pie, or sugar cookies). With the help of the clues below, can you puzzle out who brought which side dish and which dessert?
1. Emma didn’t bring the green beans, but she did bring pumpkin pie.
2. Connor brought the cranberry sauce, but he didn’t bring chocolate cream pie or apple pie.
3. The person who brought the yams also brought the chocolate cream pie.
4. Taylor brought the green beans.
Emma brought the potatoes and pumpkin pie.
Connor brought the cranberry sauce and sugar cookies.
Russell brought the yams and the chocolate cream pie.
Taylor brought the greens beans and apple pie.
MAKING YOUR LIST, CHECKING IT TWICE
Looking for the perfect holiday gift for the brainiac in your life? Check out the Hidden Brain shop, where you’ll find hoodies and tote bags and tees — oh my! It’s also a great way to support the work we do.