“We are at risk, without quite fully realizing it, of living lives that are less our own than we imagine.” – Tim Wu
Coveting your neighbor’s new car? Envy is a natural human emotion, but it can also be a destructive one. If your envy gets the best of you, consider this research finding: Envy doesn’t last long. In a study, people imagined a friend experiencing something desirable: a big vacation, a promotion, or buying a dream car. Some participants imagined how they would feel about these experiences in the days and weeks before they happened, while others imagined how they would feel in the days and weeks after they happened. People felt less envious after their friend got the fancy car than they did in anticipation of it. In other words, envy “stings less if they already have it,” said Ed O’Brien, one of the study’s authors. “There is something of a paradox in our reactions to people who get to have what we want.” Next time you feel envious, researchers say you can think back on something that used to make you jealous in order to keep your present feelings in check. Read the full report for more on how we can keep envy from getting the best of us.
Wish you could save more money? Even when you have the means to do so, forcing yourself to save money can be tough. Research shows that saving is good for your emotional health, so why is it often a challenge? Psychologists Kim Stephenson and Pradnya Surana say it’s our short-term thinking that gets in the way. “Humans have evolved to deal with threats via short-term thinking and to compete for status with showy resources,” they write. Saving requires us to work against that natural inclination. The key to doing this? “Spending time reflecting on what really matters to you in life, especially over the longer term,” they write. Think about what you want to save up for and why that goal matters to you. Keep reading to learn how to trick yourself into saving more.
Can’t remember names? Not sure what you did yesterday? Our memories can seem fickle and fleeting. But memory actually works in ways that are quite predictable, and this makes it possible to improve your own memory. Listen to learn more.
ON THE PODCAST
June 7: How many ads have you encountered today? In this episode, we explore how corporations have found ways to grab your attention, package it, and then make money from it.
June 14: Granting forgiveness for the wrongs done to us is one of the hardest things human beings can do. But forgiveness can also be transformative. In the first of a two-part series on apologies and mercy, we explore the benefits of forgiveness, for both the body and the mind.
What is the product of all the numbers on a telephone pad?
LAST WEEK’S PUZZLE
What one three-letter word can be placed in the blanks below to make four different words?
The Answer: END
What is your most prized possession?
A MOMENT OF JOY
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