Psych stuff – September 2020

Regular readers will know that, from time to time, I scour posts and articles about psychology, particularly in the workplace. It’s an interesting time – and one that psychology can really help us with.

Are we happy all our lives?
It seems our happiness levels change throughout our lives. The Society for Personality and Social Psychology reports on a huge study (1.5 million respondents, from 150 countries) how happiness changes with age. The four predictors of happiness are worth reflecting on, as is the role of meaning in our lives. Read about it here. ‘Meaning’ brings Maslow to mind. Here’s a watchable recap from The School of Life.

How to focus?
Darn: there I was thinking music helps me to work – but it seems that’s not backed up by psychology. This and six other insights reported by BPS (I’ll still listen to music though!). In ‘How to be indistractable’, best-selling author Nir Eyal writes a good read via Psyche (it’s a long one, but full of practical ideas and useful links).

Is having high willpower A Good Thing?
Hmmm… not always, so it seems. BBC Worklife reports on research that suggests a dark side to conscientiousness.

How emotionally intelligent are you?
Verywellmind has a quick quiz you can use to find out – and tips for boosting your score. Watch Daniel Goleman’s interview with MindValley Talks if you want to catch up.

Can we be optimistic AND Realistic in these difficult times?
Here’s my favourite recent post – ‘How to Be Optimistic and Realistic During the COVID-19 Pandemic’ from NLI’s ‘Your Brain at Work’ blog. It’s a must-read for these times. The account of James Stockdale’s fortitude as a POW is both inspirational and humbling.

And finally…
This isn’t strictly ‘psychology stuff’ in that it’s about history – but Science’s article, ’Why 536 was ’the worst year to be alive’ certainly serves up a dose of ‘count your blessings’.


Dawn is the author of ‘The Feedback Book’ and ‘How to be Zoomly at work’


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