Positive Psychology News Digest | No. 04/2017

mappalicious_news_digest_2017My favorite news and blog articles covering Positive Psychology and adjacent topics from (roughly) the last seven days.

Scientific American: Power of a Meaningful Life by Gareth Cook


New York Magazine: What Makes Your Life Meaningful? by Melissa Dahl & Allyson Young


Times HigherEd: Happiness expert advises UK’s first ‘positive university’ by Jack Grove


Center for Positive Organizations: Soft Skills Training Boosts Productivity by Greta Guest


BBC: How to be wiser by Claudia Hammond


Guardian: Quick steps to mindfulness: the running Treatment by William Pullen


The Positive Organization: Living on the Upward Spiral by Robert Quinn


The Federalist: These New Yorkers Rediscovered Meaning By Serving Their Neighbors by Emily Esfahani Smith


The Economist: Walk in your own shoes: The case for compassion, not empathy, no author


Science Daily: Where belief in free will is linked to happiness, no author

Positive Psychology News Digest | October – December 2016

mappalicious_news_oct_dec_17My favorite pieces covering Positive Psychology and adjacent from the last three months.

New York Magazine: Success Depends on Your Personality More Than IQ by Drake Baer


New York Magazine: The 4 ‘Spaces’ Cities Need to Make People Happier by Drake Baer


New York Magazine: What Good Is Hope? by Drake Baer


Positive Prescription: Looking for Purpose? Ask Yourself These 5 Questions by Samantha Boardman


Huffington Post: Helping others is the key to longevity, study finds by Carolyn Gregoire


Greater Good Science Center: What Will the Theme of Your Life Be in 2017? by Kira Newman


New York Magazine: To Feel More Productive, Take a Break to Do Something Selfless by Cari Romm


New York Magazine: In 2017, Pursue Meaning Instead of Happiness by Esfahani Smith & Jennifer Aaker


Psychology Today: Applying Psychological Science to Meet Your Goals by Erlanger Turner


CNN: How to become more optimistic, no author


Bakadesuyo: Stoicism Reveals 4 Rituals That Will Make You Mentally Strong by Eric Barker


Guardian: Why time management is ruining our lives by Oliver Burkeman


Scientific American: One Skeptical Scientist’s Mindfulness Journey by Scott Barry Kaufman


New York Times: What the West Can Learn From Japan About the Cultural Value of Work by John Lanchester


Psychology Today: Why Wellbeing Is Harder Than It Looks by Michelle McQuaid (Interview with Peggy Kern)


Gallup: The Damage Inflicted by Poor Managers by Marco Nink & Jennifer Robison


Big Think: Compassion Is Weaved Throughout Our Nervous System, Researchers Have Found by Philip Perry


Fast Company: Try This Exercise In Radical Empathy To Minimize Conflict by Elisabeth Segran


CCARE: A Compassionate Resolution for this Season by Monica Worline & Jane Dutton


New York Magazine: Why Danes Think They’re Always The Happiest Country by Drake Baer


The Week: 4 ways to bring more meaning into your life by Eric Barker


Guardian: Are you too old to find success? by Oliver Burkeman


Atlantic: Praise is a consolation prize (about Carol Dweck’s work in growth mindset) by Christine Gross-Loh


Atlantic: Awesomeness Is Everything by Matthew Hutson


Guardian: Happiness depends on health and friends, not money, says new study by Phillip Inman


Washington Post: Leaders are more powerful when they’re humble, new research shows by Ashley Merryman


Psychology Today: Want Your Work to Flourish? Link Strengths and Goals by Ryan Niemiec


New York Magazine: To Be More Productive, First Figure Out Your Productivity Style by Cari Romm


Science Daily: People’s energy in the workplace is key to staff retention, no author


Greater Good Science Center: Is Your Empathy Determined by Your Genes? by Summer Allen


Psychology Today: The Happy Brain by Mark Banschick


Wall Street Journal: The perils of empathy by Paul Bloom


New York Times: How to Choose Happiness by Marie Kondo


Redlands Daily Facts: President Obama — our positive psychologist-in-chief: Guest commentary by Sonja Lyubomirsky


Gallup: What Strengths Tell Us About Men and Women by Jane Miller and Amy Adkins


Creativity Post: 3 Foolproof Ways to Prevent Work Burnout, Backed by Science by Emma Seppälä


Greater Good Science Center: Would the World Be Better Off without Empathy? by Jill Suttie


USA Today: Key to money happiness may be in how you spend it by Russ Wiles


Positive.News: Why now is the time for serious optimism by Seán Dagan Wood


Atlantic: Self-Control Is Just Empathy With Your Future Self by Ed Yong


Heleo: Beyond Grit: The Science of Creativity, Purpose, and Motivation (feat. Angela Duckworth & Adam Grant), no author


New York Magazine: It’s Possible to Train Yourself to Be More Optimistic by Drake Baer


Bakadesuyo: 4 Easy Tricks That Will Make You Productive by Eric Barker


APA: Motivate Employees By Supporting Their Autonomy by Christopher Budnick


Psychology Today: Thinking Errors in Depression by Neil Burton


Greater Good Science Center: How to Only Do Things You Actually Want to Do by Christine Carter


Psychology Today: How to Remain Optimistic Through Change by Susanna Halonen


Quartz: Can money buy happiness? by Catherine Jansson-Boyd


Psychology Today: Is Positive Psychology Proven? (Interview with my Capstone advisor Margaret “Peggy” Kern) by Michelle McQuaid


Harvard Business Review: How to Bring Mindfulness to Your Company’s Leadership by Megan Reitz & Michael Chaskalson


New York Magazine: To Be Happier, Do One Creative Thing Every Day by Cari Romm


Greater Good Science Center: Why Is It So Hard to Make Positive Changes? by Jill Suttie


Guardian: Reasons to be cheerful: how putting other people first will make you happy by Dan Ariely


New York Magazine: The Chinese Word for Anger Shows the Best Way to Get Mad by Drake Baer


Guardian: Why rewards can backfire by Oliver Burkeman


Science for Work: Trust: does it impact team performance… or not? by Wendy Hirsch


Psychology Today: Can We Simplify Wellbeing? (Interview with Aaron Jarden) by Michelle McQuaid


Psychology Today: The Impostor Syndrome and How To Handle It by Adam Molinsky


World Economic Forum: Do you trust your boss? Your answer may depend on where you live by Joe Myers


Wall Street Journal: Civility at Work Helps Everyone Get Ahead by Christine Porath


World Economic Forum: 10 companies that are great at empathy by Stéphanie Thomson


New York Times: Actually, Let’s Not Be in the Moment by Ruth Whippman


New York Magazine: Yes, Quitting Facebook May Make You Happier by Drake Baer


Psychology Today: Can You Be Vulnerable at Work? by Megan Dalla-Camina


Center for Positive Organizations: For a better workplace, make first moments matter feat. Jane Dutton


Harvard Business Review: If You Can’t Empathize with Your Employees, You’d Better Learn To by Annie McKee


Guardian: The pursuit of happiness: could a ‘happy city index’ end Bristol’s blues? by Arit Niranjan


The Positive Organization: Repairing Relationships at Work by Robert Quinn


New York Times: How Exercise Might Keep Depression at Bay by Gretchen Reynolds


Greater Good Science Center: How the Growth Mindset Can Increase Cooperation by Alex Shashkevich


Psychology Today: 7 Ways to Be Awe-Inspired in Everyday Life by Andy Tix


Psychology Today: Neuroscience Research Shows How Mood Impacts Perception by Susan Krauss Whitbourne


New York Magazine: How to (Kind of) Master Your Neuroticism by Drake Baer


New York Magazine: People Really Are Happier When the Sun Is Out Longer by Drake Baer


Psychology Today: Positive Thinking? Overrated by Samantha Boardman


Entrepreneur: 11 Habits of Truly Happy People by Travis Bradberry


New York Magazine: Power Reveals Who You Really Are by Melissa Dahl


Creativity Post: LinkedIn + Positive Psychology: Applying Science To The Way We Work by Stephanie Harrison


Huffington Post: Can You Create Positive Changes From The Bottom Up? (Interview with Chris White) by Michelle McQuaid

Greater Good Science Center: Five Science-Backed Strategies to Build Resilience by Kira Newman


Psychology Today: Positive Emotions and Wellbeing by Marianna Pogosyan


New York Times: The end of Relaxation by Sadie Stein


Huffington Post UK: Have More Conversations That Matter by Mark Williamson


APA.org: Growth after Trauma by Lorna Collier


Guardian: The placebo effect: is there something in it after all? Steve Connor


New York Magazine: Empathy Is Nice, But It’s Not Exactly Necessary by Melissa Dahl


New York Times: Behind Our Anxiety, the Fear of Being Unneeded by The Dalai Lama & Arthur Brooks


New York Post: Are Mormons the happiest people in America? by Mackenzie Dawson


New York Times: Nudges That Help Struggling Students Succeed by David Kirp


Vox: The myth of self-control by Brian Resnick


Psychology Today: How to Have a Positive Powerful Presence by Marcia Reynolds


Psychology Today: Why Don’t We Trust Each Other More? by Nan Russell


Psychology Today: Emotions and Rationality in Leadership by Eyal Winter


New York Magazine: 3 Ways to Get Over ‘Status Quo Bias’ at Work by Drake Baer


Forbes: The Psychology Of Professional Purpose: How To Follow Your Calling by Caroline Beaton


Psychology Today: The Happiness Myth: Why the pursuit of Happiness will make you miserable by Atalanta Beaumont


Atlantic: How to Build a Happier Brain by Julie Beck


Guardian: Want to ‘train your brain’? Forget apps, learn a musical Instrument by Mo Costandi


New York Magazine: By the Way, You Don’t Have to Stop Power Posing by Melissa Dahl


Psychology Today: 3 Fascinating Discoveries About Laughter by Todd Kashdan


Quartz: Scientists explain how happiness makes us less creative by Ephrat Livni


Quartz: Google’s former happiness guru developed a three-second brain exercise for finding joy by Lila MacLellan


The Positive Organization: The Choice to be Transformational by Robert Quinn


New York Magazine: Want to Make Better Decisions? Try ‘Temptation Bundling’ by Jesse Singal


Pursuit (University of Melbourne): Positive Psychology much more than Happyology by Katerine Smith (Interview with my MAPP Capstone advisor Peggy Kern)


Quartz: The Japanese practice of ‘forest bathing’ is scientifically proven to improve your health by Ephrat Livni


Quartz: Positive psychology is rooted in the radical idea that you are not a problem to fix by Tim Lomas


Guardian: Our children are paying a high price for society’s vision of success by Tim Lott


Forbes: Five Behaviors Of People Who Are Happy At Work by Rebecca Newton


GQ: The World’s Happiest Man Wishes You Wouldn’t Call Him That by Michael Paterniti


Psychology Today: The Secret to Achieving Your Dreams No One Tells You About by Emma Seppälä


Mindful.org: How to Free Yourself from Your Personal Stories by Bob Stahl & Steve Flowers


Greater Good Science Center: People Who Trust Technology Are Happier by Deborah Yip


Heleo: Nir Eyal and Monica Worline on Why Cultivating Compassion is Crucial for Success in Business, no author


Science Daily: In the workplace, incivility begets incivility, new study shows, no author


BBC: School league tables ‘should show well-being’ by Sean Coughlin


New York Magazine: A Little Loneliness Can Be a Very Good Thing by Melissa Dahl


Psychology Today: Stoic Truths for a Digital World by John Sean Doyle


The Conversation: Can money buy you happiness? It’s complicated by Cathrine Jansson-Boyd


Inc: The Negative People in your Life are literally Killing you by Jessica Stillman


New York Times: The Art of Making (and Not Making) Plans by Verena von Pfetten


Fast Company: Science-Backed Ways To Build Confidence When You Feel Like You’re Out Of Your League by Stephanie Vozza


Huffington Post: In Defense of Doers by Chris White


Scientific American: Depressed? Do What You Love by Daisy Yuhas


Yahoo Finance: 99 Percent of Employees With High Well-Being and Organizational Support Say Their Employer Is a Good Place to Work, no author


New York Magazine: A Smart Sense of Humor Helps People Survive Being Alive by Drake Baer


Bakadesuyo: This Is How To Unlock Meaning In Life: 4 Proven Secrets by Eric Barker


Greater Good Science Center: How to Teach Happiness at School by Ilona Boniwell


New York Times: Teaching Your Child Emotional Agility KJ Dell’Antonia


Harvard Business Reciew: How Microsoft Uses a Growth Mindset to Develop Leaders by Carol Dweck & Kathleen Hogan


Forbes: How To Train These Six Senses Of Happiness by Jessica Hagy


Psychology Today: The Subtle but Very Real Human Costs of Reorganizations by Victor Lipman


Psychology Today: The Science of Accomplishing Your Goals by Ralph Ryback


Psychology Today: The Top 3 Insights of Highly Innovative Leaders by Emma Seppälä


Creativity Post: You Can’t Clone Talent and Wisdom by Steve Tobak


Psychology Today: How Leaders Can Bring Calm to Chaotic Organizations by Ray Williams

Mappalicious - Positive Psychology news Digest

Positive Psychology News Digest on Mappalicious | No. 46/2016

My favorite pieces covering Positive Psychology and adjacent from (roughly) the last seven days.

New York Magazine: Yes, Quitting Facebook May Make You Happier by Drake Baer


Psychology Today: Can You Be Vulnerable at Work? by Megan Dalla-Camina


Center for Positive Organizations: For a better workplace, make first moments matter feat. Jane Dutton


Harvard Business Review: If You Can’t Empathize with Your Employees, You’d Better Learn To by Annie McKee


Guardian: The pursuit of happiness: could a ‘happy city index’ end Bristol’s blues? by Arit Niranjan


The Positive Organization: Repairing Relationships at Work by Robert Quinn


New York Times: How Exercise Might Keep Depression at Bay by Gretchen Reynolds


Greater Good Science Center: How the Growth Mindset Can Increase Cooperation by Alex Shashkevich


Psychology Today: 7 Ways to Be Awe-Inspired in Everyday Life by Andy Tix


Psychology Today: Neuroscience Research Shows How Mood Impacts Perception by Susan Krauss Whitbourne

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Positive Psychology News Digest on Mappalicious | No. 37/2016

My favorite pieces covering Positive Psychology and adjacent from (roughly) the last seven days.

Harvard Business Review: The More You Energize Your Coworkers, the Better Everyone Performs by Wayne Baker


Fast Company: 7 Science-Backed Steps To Take Before Quitting A Job That’s Burning You Out by Rachel Grumman Bender


Wall Street Journal: The More Cash People Have, the Happier They Are by Andrew Blackman


ERE Media: The Business Benefits Of Happy Employees by Karlyn Borysenko


Wall Street Journal: Get Your Children Good and Dirty by Brett Finlay & Marie-Claire Arrieta


New York Times: The Difference Between Rationality and Intelligence by David Hambrick & Alexander Burgoyne


Greater Good Science Center: Who Is Attracted to Inspiring Media? by Sophie Janicke


New York Times: Can You Have a Good Life if You Don’t Have a Good Job? by Michael Lind


Guardian: Could bad buildings damage your mental health? by Emily Reynolds


New York Times: Can Teenage Defiance Be Manipulated for Good? by Amanda Ripley


Fast Company: 7 Surprising Facts About Creativity, According To Science by John Paul Titlow


Huffington Post: Three ways to work better together by Chris White


Heleo: Mastering the Art of Pre-suasion with Robert Cialdini, no author

Mappalicious - Positive Psychology news Digest

Feedback? You´re doing fine! Just keep on going…

A good friend of mine, Vivian Wagner, has founded a non-profit organization called 1World Social Capital Program (1WSCP). 1WSCP offers mentoring to aspiring female professionals and students, helping them to grow their social capital with 12 highly regarded and successful mentors who are doing amazing work to break the glass ceiling for women all around the world.

1WSCP regularly posts short videos of leaders who share important learning experiences from the careers. For my video, Vivian asked me to specifically think about how we can elevate and uplift the people around us.

I share a story that took place while still studying Positive Psychology at Penn. The video contains a shout-out to Professor Jane Dutton from the Center for Positive Organizations who facilitated our learning experience that day. An older written account of that experience can be found here.

Share and enjoy!

Welcome to the Center for Positive Organizations

CPO_LogoSo, I’m sharing a commercial video here. Yes, that’s not the usual content on Mappalicious.

It’s just that so many of my academic heroes are gathered in this video (and thus, at the CPO, e.g. Robert Quinn, Jane Dutton, and Kim Cameron) that I’m actually eager to share it. The CPO is a fabulous place to learn. I know this ever since taking part in their Positive Business Conference in May.

Please also check out their fabulous website. They host a wide array of Positive Psychology resources, e.g., this extensive list of research papers on Positive Organizational Science.

Compassion and Business: How does that go together?

The word compassion sounds “soft”. It invokes images of praying Buddhist monks, nurses taking care of the feeble, or a priest administering the last rites to a dying person. What surely doesn´t come to mind is the picture of a corporate boardroom, right? But why?

When we walk into to the office in the morning and someone asks us “How are you?” we´re supposed to say something along the lines of: “Fine! How about you?” It´s part of the language game in the corporate world. We know this. At the same time, we all know that quite often, people are presenting a white lie at this point. We know this very well precisely because we do the same every once in a while. We say “I´m fine” even when things clearly aren´t fine at all.

Life can be a bitch. Our loved ones become sick or pass away. We fight with our spouses, our children, our parents, our neighbors. There are bills to pay and sometimes the end of the month is still too far away. Hell, the Warriors lose to the Cavs after a 3:1 lead in the NBA finals. It´s tough.

This emotional load – we bring it into the office, no matter if we admit it or if we decide to cover up. Most people indeed choose to cover up – as somehow, someone decided a hundred years ago that businesses ought to be rational places, spaces where emotions don´t belong or even disrupt normal functioning (whatever that is…).

The problem is: It´s just not possible. People cannot shut down their emotions at discretion. At least not for longer periods of time – and certainly not without paying a price.

There is always pain in the room.

This sentence was coined by the late management professor Peter Frost, one of the pioneers studying and advocating compassion in business settings. It´s a quite powerful proposition, even though (Or maybe: because?) it states something very obvious. Shit happens to the best of us. We suffer – and sometimes, it takes us a long time to cope. We feel pain and sorrow and those feelings don’t bother to ask us if we are currently at work or at home.

So, how should managers and co-workers react? The common rules of business tell us to ignore or downplay the issue but in most cases, that´s not what really helps.

Not showing our suffering or downplaying the suffering of our colleagues is a perfect example of what Finnish philosopher Esa Saarinen calls a system of holding back in return and advance. We don’t openly display our suffering because we expect from prior interactions that it will not be acted upon appropriately. Meanwhile, the others see no need to act compassionately as everything seems to be OK. Ad infinitum. And the longer this “non-reciprocity circle” is in place, the harder it becomes for an individual to make a first move in order to interrupt the chain of neglect.

Another way would be to act compassionately: To notice the negative feelings of our co-workers, to feel empathetic concern, and to act accordingly. Compassion does not equal to fully experiencing the same feelings as the person we´re compassionate to.

Put in a straight-forward way…

…being compassionate means to be willing to imagine how it would feel like to walk some miles in another person´s shoes – and then, upon recognizing this would probably be hurtful, trying to appropriately mitigate that pain or suffering.

That´s it. It´s not a mystic thing – and we don´t have to mediate in a cave for 20 years before we´re able to pull off that stunt.

We know how to be compassionate even before we can ride a bike. Small children act compassionately by nature. When they see another child crying, they instinctively show signs of distress – and then they try to help with their restricted means, e.g., by caressing their counterpart or sharing a toy.

But somehow, this get´s lost as we get our high school diplomas, university degrees – and then move on to become business people. Which is a pity, because businesses create a lot of pain themselves – it´s not all from our private lives. People suffer because they don’t get that promotion, because their buddies get laid off, or just because co-workers, or even worse, bosses behave in outright toxic ways. Again, we all know this to some degree.

Here´s the point: Science shows over and over again that by carelessly ignoring these emotional dynamics, businesses are hurting the bottom line. If you want to know how, I´d like to point you towards this superb review article written by science rock star Jane Dutton of University of Michigan´s Center for Positive Organizations and some colleagues (that´s also where I “stole” the graphic from):

Dutton, J. E., Workman, K. M., & Hardin, A. E. (2014). Compassion at Work. Annual Reviews of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, 1(1), 277-304.

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