The opposite of schadenfreude
Plus, the psychology behind “wiping the slate clean."
“Why are people in this situation? Why are they making these choices and importantly what can we do as a society to make things better?” – economist Sarah Heller
Splish, Splash. Ever feel calmer after taking a shower? You’re not alone. In a new study, cleaning made people feel less anxious. Researchers made people watch an anxiety-inducing video of a woman about to take a bungee jump. Some of the study volunteers were then pulled to watch another video – an instructional one about hand-washing. (Others watched a video on how to draw a circle or how to peel an egg). The people who watched the hand-washing video reported lower levels of anxiety after the experiment. In a follow-up, people also reported lower levels of stress when instructed to simply imagine themselves being cleaned. “When we engage in cleaning behavior, it involves separating residues from our body,” the study’s author told PsyPost. The researchers think this ritual triggers “a more psychological form of separation,” meaning we can separate past experiences from the present. In other words, the ritual of cleaning might help you look at those stressful experiences with some distance – hence the term wiping the slate clean.
We’ve all heard of schadenfreude: taking joy in the misfortune of others. Have you ever experienced the opposite? In The Daily Laws, author Robert Greene writes about the concept of mitfreude (“joying with”), a term coined by Nietzsche to describe the opposite of schadenfreude. Greene writes, "Instead of merely congratulating other people on their good fortune, try to feel their joy, as a form of empathy.” He urges readers to “Internalize other people's joy. In doing so, we increase our capacity to feel this emotion in relation to our own experiences."
We often assume that we see ourselves and the world around us accurately. But our perceptions are always filtered through our mindsets — and these mindsets shape our lives in subtle but profound ways. Listen to learn more.
ON THE HIDDEN BRAIN PODCAST
Sept 5: Homicide, robberies and other kinds of violent crime have been spiking in many big cities in the United States in recent years. What should we do about it? This week, a subtle psychological insight that could radically transform our approach to crime.
ON THE MY UNSUNG HERO PODCAST
Sept 8: After teacher Brandon Martell learned that his new niece was delivered stillborn, his entire school was informed of the loss. None of his students talked to him the next day — except for one young student named Marissa.
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I am your mother's brother's only brother-in-law. Who am I?
LAST WEEK’S PUZZLE
You are at an unmarked intersection. One way takes you to the City of Lies. The other, the City of Truth. Citizens of the City of Lies always lie. Citizens of the City of Truth always tell the truth.
A citizen of one of those cities, you don't know which is at the intersection. What question do you ask to get to the City of Truth?
The answer: You ask: "In which of those two directions do you live?" A Citizen of the City of Lies will point to the City of Truth. A Citizen of the City of Truth will point to the City of Truth. [source]
FROM THE TWITTERATI…
A MOMENT OF JOY
This librarian who saves items found in library books:
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