How to experience more bliss
Plus, the subtle effect of fake news
“When that negative inner voice takes hold, that is all we can hear because it is consuming our attention.” –psychologist Ethan Kross
A bit of bliss. Who doesn’t want to feel more blissful? A new study explored the Buddhist principle of caring for sukha. “The Buddhist tradition of sukha talks about a true or genuine happiness that is lasting and, unlike pleasure, does not depend on specific times, places, and circumstances,” said the study’s lead author Myriam Rudaz. This gives people more control over dealing with the ups and downs of life. The researchers looked at data from hundreds of university students, asking how much they practiced various concepts, like self-compassion and gratitude. They also measured how blissful these students felt, using four criteria: ability to find happiness in the moment, ability to find happiness with oneself, appreciating what one has, and following one’s deepest desires. The results? When students engaged in simple practices like expressing gratitude, they were more likely to experience bliss in their everyday lives. It just goes to show how impactful these small practices can be. Self-compassion comes with a handful of other benefits, too!
Fake but effective. We like to think misinformation doesn’t influence our thinking. But new research suggests otherwise. Even when it’s debunked, fake news shapes what we believe. “My research addresses whether misinformation we already recognize as misinformation can still change our beliefs and attitudes,” said study author Max Hui Bai, a researcher at Stanford's Polarization and Social Change Lab. Bai and his colleagues found that even when people were told that an article they were about to read about a smoking ban was false, that article still affected their attitudes days later. The study’s volunteers overestimated how much Democrats supported the ban, for instance, or how much Republicans opposed it. “If we are affected by misinformation we already know is false, then the media’s repeated debunking of misinformation might be ineffective, or worse, backfire,” Bai said. It’s even more evidence that facts and data alone don’t change people’s minds.
What we gain from pain. We’ve all heard the saying, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” But is there any truth to this idea? We explore the concept of post-traumatic growth. Listen to learn more.
ON THE HIDDEN BRAIN PODCAST
Aug 1: This week we kick off our annual summer series, You 2.0. All through the month of August, we’ll bring you stories that will help you see yourself and the people around you with fresh eyes. We begin by examining that nagging, looping voice inside your head – where it comes from, and what you can do to make it work for you.
ON THE MY UNSUNG HERO PODCAST
Aug 2: This week on My Unsung Hero, Rick Mangnall recalls a moment in 2008, when he got into a car accident, and a stranger pulled over to help him.
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.
Three men are lined up behind each other. The tallest is in the back – he can see the heads of the two men in front of him. The middle man can see the one man in front of him. The man in front can’t see anyone. All men are blindfolded and hats are placed on their heads, picked from three black hats and two white hats. The extra two hats are hidden and the blindfolds are removed. The tallest man is asked if he knows what color hat he’s wearing; he doesn’t. The middle man is asked if he knows; he doesn’t. But the man in front, who can’t see anyone, says he knows. How does he know, and what color hat is he wearing?
LAST WEEK’S PUZZLE
The day before two days after the day before tomorrow is Saturday. What day is it today?
The answer: Friday. The “day before tomorrow” is today; “the day before two days after” is really one day after. So if “one day after today is Saturday,” then it must be Friday.
FROM THE TWITTERATI…
A MOMENT OF JOY
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