What if?

How to worry less – plus, the perks of being a pessimist.

“An apology is an opening. It's the first step towards real reconciliation.” –Tyler Okimoto

BRAIN WAVES

  • What if? Sometimes worrying feels useful. It’s a way to prepare for worst-case scenarios. But often, our worries can become destructive. One recent study found that 91.4% of the things that people worried about didn’t come to pass. And even when they did, worrying didn’t improve the situation. Lucas LaFreniere, one of the study’s authors, said that “worry might help people anticipate possible problems, but it isn’t helpful for solving those problems.” To combat your worrying habit, try to challenge your worrisome thoughts. “This might include determining the realistic probability that the worry will come true,” LaFreniere says, “and/or your means and likelihood of coping if it did.” Read on to keep your worry in check.

  • Humbug! The secret to a longer life? Keep your expectations low. In a study published in Psychology and Aging, older people who had low expectations for the future lived longer and healthier lives. “Pessimism about the future may encourage people to live more carefully, taking health and safety precautions," said researcher Frieder R. Lang. The study offers insight into how our perspectives shape not only our minds but also our health. It may also explain why vampires are so grumpy.

  • Can’t let go of your vintage comic book collection? In this episode, we explore the hidden value of our possessions. What do the things we own say about who we are? And why is it so hard to let them go? Listen to learn more.

ON THE PODCAST

June 21: It’s hard to admit you’re wrong. But an apology is a way to repair relationships and heal psychological wounds. In the second part of a two-part series on forgiveness, we learn how to apologize better – and why we should.

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.

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MIND GAMES

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

LAST WEEK’S PUZZLE

There are three boxes. One contains only apples, one contains only oranges, and one contains both apples and oranges. The boxes have been labeled incorrectly, and no label correctly identifies the contents of its box. You must open just one box and take out one piece of fruit without looking at the contents of the box. By looking at the fruit you’ve picked, how can you label all of the boxes correctly?

The Answer: The box labeled Apples and Oranges contains only one or the other, since it’s mislabeled. Pick one fruit from that box. If it’s an orange, then label the box as orange. Then you’ll know the box that’s labeled Oranges actually contains apples, and the remaining box contains both.

FROM THE TWITTERATI...

A MOMENT OF JOY

Inside a sloth sanctuary in Costa Rica: 

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