Body language cards for the online generation

Monday, 31 August, 2015

So many body language gestures, so little time to comprehend them instantaneously. Tom Rothe and Stefan Wabner have put together sixty three cards that will help you figure out what someone is really thinking, or how they see themselves.

Comes in app form as well, so you can conduct such inquiries discretely.

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Are morning people really firmly in control of their day?

Tuesday, 25 August, 2015

Are you someone who rises at four or five in the morning? Then that makes you a morning person. I can’t say that of myself though, given I start the working day at around nine o’clock.

True morning people, however, have been at other activities, such as workouts and runs, since far earlier in the day, exertions I prefer to leave for later on. If you’re like me in this regard, then you may not be productive, or as “firmly in control of each day”, as you could be. I wonder.

Waking up early gives you time to think before the buzz of the day begins. To put it simply, the early morning is “you time” a time to lay out your priorities for the day and make progress against them, before others are demanding your time and attention. It puts you firmly in control of each day.

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How to ruin your life in a few simple steps, or not

Monday, 24 August, 2015

How to ruin your life, without even noticing that you are, by Bianca Sparacino. Thought provoking. There really ought to be a lessons-in-life course as part of the high school curriculum, and these sorts of considerations need to be part of it:

You ruin your life when you compare yourself to others. The amount of Instagram followers you have does not decrease or increase your value. The amount of money in your bank account will not influence your compassion, your intelligence, or your happiness. The person who has two times more possessions than you does not have double the bliss, or double the merit.

(Thanks Jessica)

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Could you imagine feeling no emotion at all?

Monday, 24 August, 2015

Imagine not being able to feel, or experience, any emotion, good or bad, whatsoever. Or perceive the emotions of others. That’s alexithymia for you, a condition said to be present in ten percent of the population.

In fact, Caleb claims not to feel almost any emotions – good, or bad. I meet him through an internet forum for people with “alexithymia” – a kind of emotional “colour-blindness” that prevents them from perceiving or expressing the many shades of feeling that normally embellish our lives. The condition is found in around 50% of people with autism, but many “alexes” (as they call themselves) such as Cal­­­eb do not show any other autistic traits such as compulsive or repetitive behaviour.

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A park or wilderness view, great for boosting workplace productivity

Friday, 21 August, 2015

If your workplace has an area overlooking a park, or who knows, wilderness area, then try and grab that spot, it will do your productivity no end of good, according to some recent University of Melbourne research.

The theory is that because nature is effortlessly fascinating, it captures your attention without your having to consciously focus on it. It doesn’t draw on your attention control, which you use for all these daily tasks that require you to focus. So gazing at natural environments provides you with an opportunity to replenish your stores of attention control. That’s really important, because they’re a limited resource that we’re constantly tapping.

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You can’t truly be optimistic unless you are also a tad pessimistic

Monday, 17 August, 2015

I’m all for being positive, or trying to be, but really I don’t think anyone can be truly focused unless they also consider the downsides to any given situation, proposal, or idea. Consider this point that Brett Terpstra makes, on the topic:

If a glass is half full, you’re celebrating the abundance of what the glass still contains, which leads to a more carefree approach to savoring the remaining contents. If you see it as half empty, you might savor it even more, being conscious of the fact that no matter how much is left, it’s less than you started with. I sometimes envy that realistic view.

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What holiday destinations say about personality

Friday, 14 August, 2015

Here’s a simple test to determine your personality type. When it comes to choosing holiday destinations, which do you prefer, the beach, or the mountains? If you selected the beach, it’s more likely you’re an extrovert, while opting for the mountains may suggest you’re an introvert.

Psychologists have long known that extroverts tend to enjoy arousing situations, even choosing to study in noisier environments, while introverts seek calmer, quieter environments. Past research has shown that extroverts have a greater need for “affiliation” – being with and conversing with others – and “exhibition” – getting attention from and amusing other people. Introverts need substantially less of these things.

It’s not an incontestable “test” mind you, more of an indication. To say nothing of the fact that some of the beaches on the NSW Central Coast can be so deserted that you’d have them to yourself anyway.

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Do not underestimate the utility of boredom

Wednesday, 12 August, 2015

Thankfully, I don’t experience too much boredom. At the moment anyway. I’m not sure why this is, given the amount of routine, or what looks like routine, that envelopes my schedules.

Maybe I’ve the right balance between productivity and procrastination, or it could my ability to snap into a daydream at a minute’s notice, that shields me from the grips of boredom. Still, tedium has its place. In that it signals that we need to be in another place:

Think of boredom as an internal alarm. When it goes off, it is telling us something. It signals the presence of an unfulfilling situation. But it is an alarm equipped with a shock. The negative and aversive experience of boredom motivates us – one might even say, pushes us – to pursue a different situation, one that seems more meaningful or interesting, just as a sharp pain motivates us not to put pins into our bodies.

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Travellers no longer have a home, they have many

Monday, 10 August, 2015

Walter Chang spent three years backpacking around the world. I’d caution against reading his account of these travels, or watching some of the video highlights, lest you find yourself grappling with a severe bout of wanderlust.

Traveling is necessary because at the very core it’s a reality check for those who travel and those receiving the traveler. You can see others with different eyes and the receiving party can see you with new eyes as well. Travel keeps us alert and prevents us from taking the easy close-minded way out. It’s the only way we can really mark off certain items on what David Brooks calls, our moral bucket list.

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The benefits of talking to yourself, that’s right, the benefits

Monday, 10 August, 2015

Ok, so doing things – such as going to the movies – alone, is to be encouraged, we should, from time to time, do more by ourselves. It has its upsides, and accordingly we should have little regard for others might think.

Now here’s another situation to apply your stigma breaking chops to… talking to yourself. Out loud. Doing so, like going it alone at the opera, also has benefits, quite a few it seems:

What helps me the most when I talk to myself is that I’m able to organize the countless wild thoughts running rampant through my brain. Hearing my issues vocalized calms my nerves. I’m being my own therapist: Outer-voice me is helping inner-brain me through my problems. According to psychologist Linda Sapadin, talking out loud to yourself helps you validate important and difficult decisions. “It helps you clarify your thoughts, tend to what’s important and firm up any decisions you’re contemplating.” Everyone knows the best way to solve a problem is to talk it out. Since it’s your problem, why not do it with yourself?

Now all we have to do is find somewhere to talk thus, without being seen or heard by anyone else.

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