The Psychology of Finding the Silver Lining

Finding something good in a bad situation is a common way of coping with adversity, as can be seen when we talk about clouds, silver linings, and the like. It’s also a technique that has a decent amount of evidence to back it up from the psychology literature. Psychologists talk about benefit finding, or being…

Read More

The Advantages of Unrealistic Optimism

Having a realistic view of the world might be overrated. One of the first psychology papers to explicitly make that case was published in 1988 by Shelley Taylor and Jonathon Brown, under the title Illusion and Well-being. It challenged the traditional idea that “accurate perceptions of the self, the world, and the future are essential…

Read More

Is Compassion the Key to Enjoying Sad Music?

A question that often comes up in music psychology is why so many people enjoy music that recalls negative emotions like sadness. It seems paradoxical that people would seek out and apparently experience positive feelings from music that portrays negative emotions. A new paper in the journal Frontiers in Psychology puts forward one possible explanation…

Read More

Writing Therapy to Develop “Good” Rumination

Repetitively turning over negative thoughts, or ruminating, is a behavior that has been explored as a target for therapy in conditions like depression. After all, it’s not hard to imagine that getting stuck in a cycle of replaying negative thoughts might harm mental health. So what’s the best way to stop ruminating on negative thoughts?…

Read More

Meaning in Life and Drinking

Finding sources of meaning in life sounds like neither an easy task nor one that looks the same from one person to the next. But it is one that seems to be key to mental health. From increased resilience to sharper memory, a sense of purpose in life goes hand-in-hand with a range of cognitive…

Read More

The Advantages of Having Similar Friends

Part of what defines a friendship is what that friendship is founded on. For people to be friends, something has to connect them, but the nature of that connection is different from one friendship to the next. In many cases, part of the foundation of a friendship is similarities – in terms of personality traits,…

Read More

Reflecting on Life Lessons Can Help With Aging

In a general sense, life looks the same for all of us: stuff happens to us. We learn from that stuff, sometimes. We get older. Ideally, we have a sense that there’s some progression to our lives. Learning from our past experiences helps us live our lives more effectively as we get older, and eventually…

Read More

Economic Hardship Might Increase Tendency to Help Others

If there’s an upside to adversity, it might be greater empathy for others. That idea makes a certain intuitive sense to us, and there’s some evidence to support it. Take, for example, a 2016 study published in the journal Emotion. In the study, psychology researchers collected information about how much adversity people had encountered in…

Read More

Lessons in Coping From a Teacher Who Rowed Across the Atlantic

In 2018, a biology teacher from Cincinnati named Bryce Carlson decided to row across the North Atlantic. That feat is about as difficult as it sounds. Carlson faced no shortage of obstacles on his journey, from a capsized boat to $85,000 in debt. But ultimately, he became the first American to row across the Atlantic…

Read More

When You See Your Own Emotions in Other People’s Faces

Sometimes our perceptions of others tell us more about ourselves. That can be true in how we interpret other people’s motivations, for example, and a newly published study suggests it can even be true in how we read people’s facial expressions. In the study, researchers in Germany asked 50 participants to interpret pictures of people…

Read More