Talk to yourself

Plus, the link between gossip and Game of Thrones.

"[Y]our country really does need you to do something. And it's not going to be following Twitter. It's going to be talking to your neighbors, building a community, getting organized, moving policy." — Political scientist Eitan Hersh 

BRAIN WAVES

  • Talk to yourself. You might feel weird talking to yourself out loud, but there are benefits to this behavior. For example, one study found that basketball players passed the ball faster when they talked through the task out loud. In another study, led by Ethan Kross at the University of Michigan, people talked about themselves in the second or third person (so, “You can do this,” or “Jimmy can do this,”) while gearing up to give a speech. Not only did this exercise make them less anxious, but they also performed better. It might sound silly, but this type of “distanced self-talk,” as Kross calls it, can help you view challenges as more doable.

  • No spoilers! From Orange Is the New Black to The Crown, “binge-watching” a television series has become a beloved pastime. It’s satisfying to be able to consume an entire storyline in one sitting — no cliffhangers needed. But Noël Carroll, professor of philosophy at the CUNY Graduate Center, argues that something is lost when we watch TV this way. Remember how much fun it was to speculate about what might happen on Game of Thrones? Having an interval of time between episodes allows us to wonder what might happen next. And in watching TV this way, we get to talk to friends and peers about what we think of the characters: what they should do, what their motives are, and whether they’re good or bad people. “The sequential pacing allowed for gossip, in other words, albeit about fictional characters,” Carroll argues. Gossip can be a nasty habit, but it also allows us to connect with others. Talking about television lets us experience the intimacy of gossip without experiencing the drawbacks of talking smack. Kind of makes you appreciate your favorite shows in a whole new light.

  • C’mon, get happy...We think we know what will make us happy: more money. A better job. Love. But happiness doesn’t quite work like that. We explore why happiness often slips through our fingers, and how to savor — and stretch out — our joys. Listen to learn more.

BIG NEWS

Don’t forget to subscribe to our new podcast, My Unsung Hero! You can hear the trailer and subscribe on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. And if you have your own story of an unsung hero, we want to hear about it! Go here to find out how to record and share it with us.

ON THE PODCAST

Sept 27: Many Americans feel an obligation to keep up with political news. Political scientist Eitan Hersh says there’s a rise in “political hobbyism” in the United States. We treat politics like entertainment, following the latest updates like we follow our favorite sports teams. Instead, he says, we should think of politics as a way to acquire power and persuade our neighbors to back the issues we support.

Oct 4: When we want something very badly, it can be hard to see warning signs that might be obvious to other people. This week, we bring you two stories about how easy it can be to believe in a false reality — even when the facts don’t back us up. 

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MIND GAMES

A man got into a ship and could see more than four continents at the same time. How is this possible?

LAST WEEK’S PUZZLE

14,500 people are sitting in a stadium. One of them is picked out. What are the chances that that person's birthday is on a Sunday?

The Answer:  One out of seven. The number of people in the crowd is irrelevant to the odds that any one of them will have a birthday on a Sunday.

FROM THE TWITTERATI…

A MOMENT OF JOY

Happy anniversary to this video. If you don’t know Nathan Apodaca’s story, read it here.

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