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Is Humility Good for Your Relationship?

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A new study suggests that people are more satisfied with their relationships when their partners are more humble. n Western culture, we’re encouraged to be vocal about our individual successes and accomplishments. We present our ideal self on social media, at job interviews, and on first dates. But is all this self-promotion good for our long-term relationships?

Recent research published in the Journal of Positive Psychology suggests it might not be. A group of researchers found that people are more committed to and satisfied with their romantic relationship when they perceive their partner as being more humble. The researchers recruited 349 participants to fill out several online questionnaires measuring how committed they are to their relationship, how satisfied they are with their relationship, and their partner’s humility. Over half of the respondents also reported how forgiving they are towards their partner and how grateful they are in their relationship overall. To read more from JEANETTE VAN DER LEE, click here.

How Looking at Puppies Can Improve Your Marriage

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It sounds bizarre, but a new study finds that seeing happy images can affect how spouses feel about their relationship.

Being married to someone you love can be a wonderful thing. But a good marriage can also be tested over time by the stresses of everyday life—like raising children, long work hours, or chronic health problems—leading to marital distress or even divorce.

What could save marriages in trouble? According to a recent study, it wouldn’t hurt to view baby-animal pictures together. In this study, 144 married couples were surveyed about how happy they were in their marriages, and then had their individual photos taken, both smiling and unsmiling. A few days later, they each completed an “automatic associations test” using their spouse’s unsmiling photo (as well as photos of others), allowing the researchers to measure unconscious positive and negative feelings toward their spouses. Toread more from JILL SUTTIE, click here.

How to Find Joy after Adversity

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In her new book, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg recounts her journey of healing after the death of her husband. Losing a spouse is among the most devastating losses. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg knows this firsthand. She lost her husband, Dave Goldberg, two years ago when he suffered a traumatic brain injury from a fall during their vacation.

But, with the help of family, colleagues, and friends—including management professor Adam Grant of the Wharton School—she learned how to cope with overwhelming grief and has even made strides toward finding joy again.

Now, she’s written a book—part memoir and part self-help book—chronicling her journey and sharing what has helped her to cope, called Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy. Co-written with Grant, the book provides both an inside look at grief and research-based guidance on how to deal with adversity in a healthier way. To read more from JILL SUTTIE, click here.

How Microdosing on Nature Can Help With Stress

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The practice, long-popular in Japan, is gaining traction in the U.S. as a way of harnessing the health benefits of being outdoors. On first glance, it looked like a two-hour walk in the woods. Our guide had already tackled the hard part of finding a trail with minimal elevation gain and limited poison oak along its flanks. This wasn’t a hike, we were reminded. A hike usually involved clear endpoints and physical exertion. We were invited to walk slower than usual, perhaps a quarter of our normal speed. To pay attention to the different shades of green we encountered, the snapping of twigs beneath our feet, the sudden vaulting of winged life—nothing was ornamental. Everything was in its right place, including us. The forest bathers and I had come to the woods in search of peace. All of us were to be present, focused solely on the moment. Our immersion in the natural world would act not only as a balm to everyday stresses but a catalyst: According to the event description, we had gathered outside that day to emerge, as flowers might after a long winter. To read more from RAHAWA HAILE, click here.

How to Enjoy a New Relationship

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The most exciting thing about a new relationship isn’t so much that it’s them. It’s that it’s new. What is so exciting is the possibility to touch and hold someone who isn’t entirely within our reach, someone who is independent and free to walk away from us – and yet miraculously is choosing not to do so. To watch this video from The School of Life, click here.

Love and Sulking

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One of the most exciting aspects of the early days of a relationship can be the sense that a lover understands us without us needing to speak too much. With other people, we’re always having to explain ourselves at length and even when we do, they frequently struggle to grasp our drift – but a true lover on the other hand seems to get us almost immediately, even in the finer-grained aspects of our personalities. No sooner have we tried to explain, for example, our feelings towards autumn evenings or that bit in a song we like when the violins start to rise that they generously step in to say, ‘I know, I know…’, seemingly ready to confirm our every sensation and idea.

This is a profoundly beautiful and exciting discovery, but it can give rise to hugely troubling dynamics in terms of the long-term success of relationships, for the view that a good lover must intuitively understand us is – over time – one of the most dangerous suppositions responsible for a catastrophic outbreak of sulking. Sulking is a highly distinctive phenomenon within the psychology of love. Crucially, we don’t just sulk with anyone. We reserve our sulks for people we believe should understand us but happen on a given occasion not to. We could explain what is wrong to them of course, but if we did so, it would mean that they had failed to understand us intuitively and therefore, that they were not worthy of love. A sulk is one of the odder gifts of love. To read more from The School of Life, click here.

How Comforting Others Helps You with Your Own Struggles

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According to two new studies, we need practice dealing with our difficult feelings—and we get it from helping other people manage their own.

When we feel bad, we often turn to others for help and support. And when others come to us in pain, we do our best to help them feel better. This natural cycle seems to be part of the human experience.

Now, two new studies suggest that trying to make people feel better not only supports them—it allows us to practice emotional skills that may help us with our own problems. While negative emotions feel isolating and personal, the best way to deal with them may be profoundly social.

Both studies also highlighted one skill that seemed to really benefit both other people and ourselves: perspective-taking, the part of empathy that involves understanding someone else’s point of view. To read more from KIRA M. NEWMAN, click here.

Why Curious People Have Better Relationships

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Research suggests that being curious might be a social glue that strengthens our relationships.

There’s an old saying: “Curiosity killed the cat.” It implies curiosity is bad for you and leads to dangerous risk-taking behavior. But this idea of curiosity is pretty outdated—in humans, at least.

Curiosity—the desire to approach novel and challenging ideas and experiences in order to increase one’s knowledge—has long been associated with intellectual pursuit, engagement with the world, memory, and learning. Now, more recent research suggests that curiosity may also play a role in our social relationships.

Studies have found that people who are curious are often viewed in social encounters as more interesting and engaging, and they are more apt to reach out to a wider variety of people. In addition, being curious seems to protect people from negative social experiences, like rejection, which could lead to better connection with others over time. To read more from JILL SUTTIE, click here.

Feeling Lonely? Too Much Time On Social Media May Be Why

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For young adults, social media may not be so social after all.

Among people in that age group, heavy use of platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram was associated with feelings of social isolation, a study finds.

The results surprised study co-author Brian Primack. “It’s social media, so aren’t people going to be socially connected?” he says. He’s director of the Center for Research on Media, Technology and Health at the University of Pittsburgh. And while his team’s previous research connecting social media use and depression in young adults wasn’t terribly surprising, these new results seemed counterintuitive.

While face-to-face social connectedness is strongly associated with well-being, it’s not clear what happens when those interactions happen virtually. To investigate, Primack and his colleagues surveyed 1,787 U.S. adults ages 19 to 32 and asked them about their usage of 11 social media platforms outside of work. The survey also gauged social isolation by asking participants questions such as how often they felt left out. (As will happen in this type of survey, people may have lowballed their estimates of media use.) To read more from KATHERINE HOBSON, click here.

Why Is Time In A Hurry?

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We humans have this uncanny ability to tell time and create schemes to measure its passage.

Time is our greatest ally and our greatest enemy.

We exist in it, are bound by it. We all have a story, with a beginning, a middle, and an end. The beginning, we haven’t much of a choice about; it just happens, thanks to our parents. The middle, well, that’s the challenge, what to do with the decades we have allocated to us; how to live a life of meaning, given the many compromises, disputes and limitations of existence. And the end, the unspoken, the terrible finality of life, the elephant in everyone’s closet, the ultimate demonstration of our powerlessness against nature’s unrelenting force. That one we speak little of, naively believing silence equates with oblivion.

No wonder people feel time is hurrying up as they age. I hear this often, people asking whether there is some kind of astronomical phenomenon going on that’s speeding up time. This time is, essentially, the duration of a day, the precise ticks and tocks of clocks. And it turns out that, at least astronomically, the very opposite is happening. Existential time, of course, is another story. To read more from MARCELO GLEISER, click here.