Think small

Plus, the key to a happier relationship

“Being so inwardly focused on your own anxieties makes it so difficult for you to recognize what the situation really is.” – Vanessa Bohns, social psychologist at Cornell University. 

BRAIN WAVES

  • The blame game. Want to improve your relationship? Perhaps the key is to recognize the outside stressors that may be undermining it. And it’s a lot easier to do this when major events, like the COVID-19 pandemic, are the source of your stress. A new study found that people had happier relationships when they blamed their problems on the pandemic rather than on their partners. “As expected, people generally were more blaming of the pandemic for their current problems than they were blaming of their romantic partner,” says Lisa Neff, one of the study’s co-authors. This habit made for better relationship dynamics. “Individuals who were more blaming of the pandemic were more resilient to the harmful effects of stress,” Neff added.

  • Think small. In last week’s newsletter, we discussed how worry and rumination are disruptive. Worrying keeps you up at night, drains your energy, and can even lead to anxiety and depression. And the way we deal with worry is often counterproductive, says Pia Callesen, a metacognitive therapist and author of Live More Think Less. “Common strategies for controlling anxiety and worry, such as threat monitoring, seeking answers and reassurance, and excessive planning, are unhelpful,” she argues. Callesen says we overthink our worries, which undermines our ability to control the situation and only leads to more worry. One strategy she suggests to combat rumination? Schedule “worry time.” Designate a time of day to indulge your worries, then limit them to that time. Callesen offers more tips to keep your overthinking in check.

  • Ever felt as if someone else was writing your personal narrative? Controlling what you do, shaping how you act? We bring you a surreal tale about a woman who became a reluctant character in someone else’s love story. Listen to learn more.

ON THE PODCAST

June 28: Think about the last time you asked someone for something. Maybe you were nervous or worried about what the person would think of you. Chances are that you didn’t stop to think about the pressure you were exerting on that person. This week, we explore a phenomenon that psychologists refer to as “egocentric bias,” and look at how this bias can lead us astray.

July 5: You probably made some resolutions this year. Did you decide to read more? Work out more often? Quit smoking? If you’re like most people, you probably abandoned those resolutions by February. Change is hard. In this week’s episode, how we can use the mind to combat the limitations of the mind. 

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MIND GAMES

A number of children are standing in a circle. They are evenly spaced and the 6th child is directly opposite the 20th child. How many children are there altogether?

LAST WEEK’S PUZZLE

Take the words below and make a pair of synonyms by moving a single letter from one word to the other. (For example, for “Boast - Hip,” you would move the 's' from 'Boast' to 'Hip' creating the synonyms: Boat - Ship.)

Inks - Tiles

Gaze - Freed

Snail - Pike

Snag - Cold

The Answer:  Links - Ties; Graze - Feed; Nail - Spike; Nag - Scold

FROM THE TWITTERATI…

A MOMENT OF JOY

An ode to caffeine…

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