TIME psychology

5 Things You Need to Know About Habits

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Eric Barker writes Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

5 tips with links to the research that backs them up:

  • The secret to breaking bad habits is to not try to eliminate them but to replace them.

For more on the scientific way to build good habits, click here.

This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

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TIME society

How the Legacy of Slavery Affects Black Americans Today

Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church
David Goldman—AP The steeple of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church stands as a pedestrian passes early on June 21, 2015, in Charleston, S.C.

There is increasing evidence that repressing feelings associated with acts of white racism may be psychologically damaging

On July 22, in announcing the federal indictment of Charleston killer Dylann Roof, Attorney General Loretta Lynch commented that the expression of forgiveness offered by the victims’ families is “an incredible lesson and message for us all.”

Forgiveness and grace are, indeed, hallmarks of the Black Church.

Since slavery, the church has been a formidable force for the survival of blacks in an America still grappling with the residual effects of white supremacy.

This was eloquently illustrated in the aftermath of the Charleston church massacre. Americans rightly stood in awe of the bereaved families’ laudable demonstration of God’s grace in action.

But what about the psychic toll that these acts of forgiveness exact?

Events like Charleston put a spotlight on the growing body of literature that looks not only at the United States’ failure to have authentic conversations about slavery and its legacy but also at the mental health impact of forgiving acts of white racism and repressing justifiable feelings of anger and outrage – whether these are horrific acts of terrorism or nuanced microaggressions.

I am a social work educator and practitioner with 25 years of experience in the field of mental health. I teach at one of the nation’s leading schools of social work, committed to preparing its graduates to work with racially and ethnically diverse populations. It is time, I believe, to bring this new field of inquiry into the mainstream.

The church as buffer

In his seminal book, Mighty Like A River, the Black Church and Social Reform, sociologist Andrew Billingsley asserts that the Black Church is the only African-American institution that has not been reenvisioned in the image of whites.

His research illuminates the role of religion in building the resilience that allows blacks as a people to overcome the various forms of terrorism and oppression endured over centuries that sustain doctrines of white supremacy.

Indeed, in his analysis of the African-American family, Billingsley concludes that it is “amazingly strong, enduring, adaptive and highly resilient.”

But as we pay homage to church and family in buffering blacks against the full effects of white racism, we must not obscure or diminish racism’s impact on the mental health that few blacks – irrespective of educational, social or economic status – will escape.

There is increasing evidence that repressing feelings associated with acts of white racism may be psychologically damaging and lay the foundation for future mental health problems and behaviors symptomatic of post-traumatic stress syndrome.

Evidence of racism’s impact on mental health

Harvard psychiatrist Alvin Poussaint asked why suicide rates among black males doubled between 1980 and 1995.

In his co-authored book, Lay My Burden Down: Suicide and the Mental Health Crisis among African-Americans, which takes its title from a Negro spiritual describing the hardships of the slave system, he argues that one of the reasons for this increase is that African-American young men may see the afterlife as a better place.

Terrie M Williams is a clinical social worker in New York. In her book, Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We’re Not Hurting, she uses powerful personal narratives of blacks from all walks of life to illustrate the high toll of hiding the pain associated with the black experience on mental health.

Joy DeGruy, Portland State University researcher and scholar, has developed “post-traumatic slave syndrome” as a theory for explaining the effects of unresolved trauma on the behaviors of blacks that is transmitted from generation to generation.

DeGruy’s argument may be controversial, but the questions she asked are surely relevant as we try to make sense, for example, of research released this July that shows suicide rates among black elementary school pupils significantly increasing between 1993 and 2012.

Moving to the mainstream…slowly

The fact is that from my perspective at New York University’s Silver School of Social Work, these publications have yet to move into mainstream literature. They have low visibility in the curricula and training programs for mental health professionals.

Nor have the questions these scholars and practitioners raised led to the kind of research that is needed to support race-conscious and culturally appropriate practices for the mental health programs and agencies working with African-American families.

At the same time, however, the original thinking of authors like Poussaint and DeGruy is very much in sync with the new emphasis on trauma-informed care in social work across all fields of practice.

As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded in a May 2014 research report, undiagnosed childhood neglect or trauma is widespread among American adults and is the root cause of mental health and behavioral problems in adulthood.

Indeed, it is now the recommendation of the National Council for Behavioral Health that trauma-informed care be integrated into all assessment and treatment procedures.

This emphasis on trauma provides a new lens for developing research into the impact of slavery – and its legacy of structural and institutional racism – on black mental health today.

A difficult topic of conversation

The problem is, no one likes to talk about slavery.

For blacks descended from slaves, the subject evokes feelings of shame and embarrassment associated with the degradations of slavery. For whites whose ancestry makes them complicit, there are feelings of guilt about a system that is incongruent with the democratic ideals on which this country was founded.

Cloaked in a veil of silence or portrayed as a benevolent system that was in the best interest of blacks, slavery – much like mental illness – has become shrouded in secrecy and stigma.

Associated emotions are pushed away.

Anger, however, is a healthy emotion, as even the Scriptures acknowledge.

The God of the Old Testament is angry and vengeful. In the New Testament, Jesus vents his anger in driving the money changers from the Temple.

As research (including my own) has shown, when anger is internalized and driven deep into the unconscious, contaminated by unresolved pain, it becomes problematic.

So what happens to the anger felt by people discriminated against and, in extreme cases, physically targeted because of their race?

Not enough is known about the relationship between clinical depression and race. But there are extensive findings (including reports by the Surgeon General) that attribute racial disparities in mental health outcomes for African Americans and whites to clinician bias, socioeconomic status and environmental stressors (such as high rates of crime and poor housing). And there is evidence of a link between perceived racism and adverse psychological outcomes such as increased levels of anxiety, depression and other psychiatric symptoms.

The numbers tell a story. According to the Minority Health Office of the Department of Health and Human Services, black adults are 20% more likely to report serious psychological distress than white adults and are more likely to have feelings of sadness, hopelessness and worthlessness than do their white counterparts.

And yet there continues to be reluctance to forthrightly confront the impact of racism on mental health. Some of my colleagues, for example, say that content on race and racism is the most challenging content for them to teach. Authentic dialogue on race is constrained by the fear of being “political incorrect.” It takes less effort to promote the more inclusive liberal view that we live in a “color-blind society.”

It may be easier to allow everyone to remain in their comfort zone. But today as the U.S. faces what would appear to be an epidemic of race-based attacks committed by whites, it is time to examine how our history of racism affects the mental health of African Americans as well as that of whites.

This article originally appeared on The ConversationThe Conversation

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Books

39 Books to Help You Make Decisions in Life

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Shane Parrish writes Farnam Street

At Re:Think Decision Making in February, I asked participants to offer up some books on decision making. (If you’d like to be one of the first to know when I open up registration for Re:Think Decision making 2016 in Austin, TX , join the list.)

The crowd at the event was, in the words of one participants, the finest crowd you’ll find at a public event. These people are paid to make decisions for a living and want to find every edge they can. So when I asked them what books on decision making they read and recommend, you can bet they had a lot to say.

Here’s the list:

Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work
By: Chip & Dan Heath

How to Measure Anything
By: Douglas Hubbard

How to Make Sense of Any Mess: Information Architecture for Everybody
By: Abby Covert

Wiser: Getting Beyond Groupthink to Make Groups Smarter
By: Cass Sunstein & Reid Hastie

The Surprising Power of Liberating Structures: Simple Rules to Unleash A Culture of Innovation
By: Henri Lipmanowicz & Keith McCandless

Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers, and Changemakers
By: Dave Gray, Sunni Brown & James Macanufo

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion
By: Jonathan Haidt

Yes or No: The Guide to Better Decisions
By: Spencer Johnson

The Little Book of Talent
By: Daniel Coyle

The Worry Solution: Using Breakthrough Brain Science to Turn Stress and Anxiety into Confidence and Happiness
By: Martin Rossman

Shantaram: A Novel
By: Gregory David Roberts

The Art of Living
By: Epictetus

The Education of a Value Investor
By: Guy Spier

Devil Take the Hindmost: a History of Financial Speculation
By: Edward Chancellor

Click: The Art and Science of Getting from Impasse to Insight
By: Eve Grodnitzky

The Dictator’s Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics
By: Bruce Bueno de Mesquita

The Back of the Napkin & How to Solve Problems and Sell Ideas
By: Dan Roan

Crossing to Safety
By: Wallace Stegner

Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less
By: Barry Schwartz

Streetlights and Shadows: Searching for the Keys to Adaptive Decision Making
By: Gary Klein

The Social Animal
By: David Brooks

The Laws of Simplicity
By: John Maeda

Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth and Happiness
By: Richard H. Thaler

Reminiscences of a Stock Operator
By: Edwin Lefevre & Roger Lowenstein

This Will Make You Smarter
By: John Brockman

A more Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas
By: Warren Berger

Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice
By: Bill Browden

The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat
By: Oliver Sacks

Imprudent King: A New Life of Philip II
By: Geoffrey Parker

Seeking Wisdom
By: Peter Bevelin

Mastery
By: Rober Greene

Synchronicity: The Innes Path of Leadership
By: Joseph Jaworski

The Culture Map: Breaking Through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business
By: Erin Meyer

Ubiquity: Why Catastrophes Happen
By: Mark Buchanan

Family Fortunes
By: Bill Bonner

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
By: Robert Cialdini

Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder
By: Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Poor Charlie’s Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger
By: Peter D. Kaufman & Charlie T. Munger

The Brain that Changes Itself
By: Norman Doidge

And there you have it — a list of books on decision making that should give you a great starting point.

This piece originally appeared on Farnam Street.

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TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Business

5 Things You Need to Know Before Changing Jobs

Eric Barker writes Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

5 insights with links to the research backing them up:

For more on how to find the perfect career for you, click here.

This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

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How To Stop Being Lazy And Get More Done – 5 Expert Tips

How To Get People To Like You: 7 Ways From An FBI Behavior Expert

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TIME psychology

The Trick to Memorizing an Entire Foreign Dictionary

Practice makes perfect

New Zealand’s Nigel Richards, who doesn’t speak French, has won the French-language Scrabble world championships. In the Scrabble world, Richards is considered to be the best player ever, having won the English world Scrabble championships three times, the U.S. national championships five times and the U.K. Open six times. His latest remarkable feat was achieved after reportedly memorising the entire French Scrabble dictionary in just nine weeks.

Richards is not the only person who has wowed the world with exceptional memory skills. Dave Farrow is the Guinness World Record holder for greatest memory. In 2007 he spent around 14 hours memorising a random sequence of 59 separate packs of cards (3,068 individual cards), looking at each card once. In 1981, Rajan Mahadevan recited from memory the first 31,811 digits of pi, a record that was astonishingly broken by Hideaki Tomoyori in 1987, who recited 40,000 digits.

For those of us struggling to remember what happened a couple of days ago, such innately superior memory capacity is remarkable. The question of whether these people are born with exceptional memory ability or acquire it by deliberate practice has interested both scientists and the general public alike for hundreds of years.

Memory genius comes with practice

Many books were published in the 1980s and 90s on the topic of genius and exceptional performance, with pioneering research comparing the superior performance of chess experts over beginners.

What became apparent, however, is that, although some people were able to recall large amounts of information seemingly effortlessly, their memory was truly exceptional only for materials that were specific to their expertise. In one study in the 1970s, William Chase and Herbert Simon at Carnegie Mellon University had world chess experts recall the configuration of chess pieces on a chessboard. When the chess experts were shown an actual chess positioned board, their recall of the pieces was far superior to novices. However, with random chessboards, players of all skill level had the same poor recall performance.

In order to answer the question of how to achieve exceptional memory performance, Chase, alongside K Anders Ericsson, developed the “skilled memory theory” which proposed three basic principles.

First, individuals need to rely on prior knowledge and patterns to encode and store the material in long-term-memory – what they called the “encoding principle.” Second, encoded information needs a “retrieval structure” – meaning it is associated with a cue when first seen so that it can be triggered during retrieval from long-term memory. And third, with additional practice people become more proficient in their encoding and can store the same amount of presented information in less time – the “speed-up principle.”

Techniques to try

What this is referring to is a mnemonic strategy. We are all capable of using such strategies although some of us are more skilled at it then others. The oldest and most common method is the method of loci (Latin for “places”). In the method of loci, the mnemonist first creates a series of places, imagined rooms (the encoding principle), then puts what is to be remembered in said rooms, and finally walks from room to room in a fixed order, to recall the material (retrieval structure principle).

The more familiar and elaborate the detail of the imagined place is, the faster they will be able to place and retrieval material (the speed-up principle). Many mnemonic methods such as loci require such visualisation. For example, digit sequences can be associated with word links. If 59 is “lip” and 47 is “rock”, then 5947 can be remembered by an interactive image of “lips kissing a rock.” Other mnemonic techniques include a digit-consonant system or converting digits into syllables (based on the Japanese language) which are then regrouped into words.

Although Richards is a somewhat reclusive figure, so we can’t say for certain what techniques he used, it is more than likely that he is highly skilled at mnemonic strategies, along with having an exceptional mathematical talent to play scrabble. He, and others like him are able to utilize mnemonic strategies beyond our comprehensible understanding. However, whether it is his dedication to practice or some innate superior memory that is responsible for this ability is still under scientific investigation.

This article originally appeared on The ConversationThe Conversation

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME psychology

8 Powerful Things That Will Inspire You

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Eric Barker writes Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

Eight ways to inspire yourself to get to the next level in life, with links to the research behind them:

  • To have meaning in your life you need a story. You need to reflect on how things could have been and why they turned out the way they did. Seeing that things had a direction and a purpose provides meaning.
  • Need something to help you act in line with your beliefs and values? To make sure you stay you? Buy a mirror.

For more on the best way to be both happier and more successful, click here.

This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

Join over 195,000 readers. Get a free weekly update via email here.

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How To Stop Being Lazy And Get More Done – 5 Expert Tips

How To Get People To Like You: 7 Ways From An FBI Behavior Expert

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TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Mental Health/Psychology

Premature Babies Are More Likely to Develop This Personality Type

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Whether babies are born early can affect the personality traits they develop later, suggests the latest research

How gregarious you are, whether you tend to be anxious all the time and how responsible you are for your own actions certainly depend on a myriad of factors. Genetics, your home and school environment during childhood, as well as early life experiences, all contribute to the type of person you become.

But in a study published in Archives of Disease in Childhood (Fetal & Neonatal Edition), scientists in the UK report that there may be another more surprising contributor to your personality traits—whether you were born prematurely.

The researchers studied a group of 200 people who were either born when they were less than 32 weeks old or with very low birth weight, both of which have been linked to other health issues in previous studies. These 200 people were compared on personality traits to 197 others born to term and of normal birth weight when all of the people in the study were 26 years old. The group of people born early or of low birth weight were more likely than the controls to fit into what the authors call a socially withdrawn personality; these people scored higher on traits of introversion, neuroticism and autistic features, while scoring lower on risk taking and agreeableness.

MORE: Some Premature Babies Can Survive After Only 22 Weeks, Study Says

All told, premature birth accounted for about 11% of the personality assessment, the researchers say. That’s just a fraction of the different experiences that make up personality, but it’s possible that early birth can set children up for certain traits for a number of different reasons. Biologically, it’s possible that the premature birth exposes infants to a potentially traumatic environment in a neonatal intensive care unit that’s very different from the nurturing, calm experience of babies born to term who are immediately allowed to bond both physically and emotionally with their parents. Second, premature babies may be exposed to certain treatments, including corticosteroids, that can change their metabolic and hormonal development, priming them to be more sensitive to stress and anxiety, for example. And concerned parents of premature infants may tend to be over-protective of their children throughout childhood, contributing to the child’s tendency to avoid risk and worry more.

MORE: Extremely Premature Babies Face Developmental Issues, Study Says

While personality can’t be traced to one particular experience or event, the scientists suggest that prematurity should be investigated further as a potentially important aspect of personality development. “Defining a general personality profile and understanding its aetiology are important because this higher order personality factor may help to partly explain the social difficulties [prematurely born] individuals experience in adult roles, such as in peer and partner relationships and career,” the authors write.

TIME Research

Here’s How Sexy Advertising Backfires

Researchers say that titillating content can, in fact, hurt sales‚ not help them

The first nude print ad was published in 1936 for Woodbury Soap. It featured an undressed woman lazily lying at the beach, her arm positioned at just the right angle to shield her breasts from view. It followed the old advertising adage that sex sells.

But that no longer holds true, according to a new study released by the Psychological Bulletin. Brad Bushman, a communications professor at Ohio State University and a co-author of the study, says it’s not that sex and violence don’t grab our attention—of course they do. In fact, paying attention to such things are evolutionary responses that are necessary for survival (being attuned to safety threats prepares people to protect themselves; finding opportunities for mating keep the species going).

But just because they grab our eye doesn’t mean the ad translates into sales.

“[A]dvertisers think sex and violence sell, so they buy advertising time during sexual and violent programs, and in turn producers continue to create sexual and violent programs that attract advertising revenue,” the authors write. But when a person is being shown a product—say, laundry detergent—with a sexy backdrop, it’s not the detergent that’s capturing the attention so much as the action onscreen. Sex is distracting, Bushman says. “We have a limited capacity to pay attention to cues.”

Bushman and his co-author, Robert Lull, found 1,869 articles in two databases that had historically studied consumer response to sex and violence. Researchers weeded out studies that didn’t directly address consumer response, didn’t have a control group, and didn’t look explicitly at the effects of sex and/or violence on the consumer.

“In the best case scenario, sex and violence doesn’t work,” Bushman told TIME. “For advertisers, it can actually backfire, and people will be less likely to remember your [product]. They might report being less likely to buy your product if the content of your program is violent or sexual.”

No surprise, some demographics respond differently to sexy or violent ads. Women tend to remember products from provocative ads; men tend to be distracted by sex or violence and not remember the product. Older participants were turned off by violence and sex; younger consumers were more likely to respond to it.

Still, taken together, the researchers conclude this: “Brands advertised in violent contexts will be remembered less often, evaluated less favorably, and less likely to be purchased than brands advertised in nonviolent media.”

TIME psychology

How to Avoid Getting Tricked By the Past

Shane Parrish writes Farnam Street

The fact that new information exists about the past in general means that we have an incomplete road map about history. There is a necessarily fallibility … if you will.

In The Black Sawn, Nassim Taleb writes:

History is useful for the thrill of knowing the past, and for the narrative (indeed), provided it remains a harmless narrative. One should learn under severe caution. History is certainly not a place to theorize or derive general knowledge, nor is it meant to help in the future, without some caution. We can get negative confirmation from history, which is invaluable, but we get plenty of illusions of knowledge along with it.

While I don’t entirely hold Taleb’s view, I think it’s worth reflecting on. As a friend put it to me recently, “when people are looking into the rear view mirror of the past, they can take facts and like a string of pearls draw lines of causal relationships that facilitate their argument while ignoring disconfirming facts that detract from their central argument or point of view.”

Taleb advises us to adopt the empirical skeptic approach of Menodotus which was to “know history without theorizing from it,” and to not draw any large theoretical or scientific claims.

We can learn from history but our desire for causality can easily lead us down a dangerous rabbit hole when new facts come to light disavowing what we held to be true. In trying to reduce the cognitive dissonance, our confirmation bias leads us to reinterpret past events in a way that fits our current beliefs.

History is not stagnant — we only know what we know currently and what we do know is subject to change. The accepted beliefs about how events played out may change in light of new information and then the new accepted beliefs may change over time as well.

This piece originally appeared on Farnam Street.

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TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME psychology

How to Help Others the Right Way

Eric Barker writes Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

I’ve posted a number of times about how helping others makes you happier. But I know this leaves some people scratching their heads:

How much should I help others? How often? Will I be exploited? Will I end up resenting people I love if they don’t reciprocate?

We all know selfless givers who are taken advantage of and taken for granted. Nobody wants to feel like a sucker.

So this simple thing doesn’t seem so simple — and it feels safer to just be selfish no matter what fancy research and your conscience might tell you.

Adam Grant has a wonderful book, Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success, which directly tackles this issue and provides some firm answers grounded in research. To help others the right way, give these tips a shot.

 

Constant Selfless Giving Is Not The Way

Being a martyr stresses you out and is actually bad for your health.

Via Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success:

Research shows that on the job, people who engage in selfless giving end up feeling overloaded and stressed, as well as experiencing conflict between work and family. This is even true in marriages: in one study of married couples, people who failed to maintain an equilibrium between their own needs and their partner’s needs became more depressed over the next six months.

 

Chunking Beats Sprinkling

Want to be happier? Do all your giving one day a week.

Via Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success:

The chunkers achieved gains in happiness; the sprinklers didn’t. Happiness increased when people performed all five giving acts in a single day, rather than doing one a day. Lyubomirsky and colleagues speculate that “spreading them over the course of a week might have diminished salience and power or made them less distinguishable from participants habitual kind of behavior.”

And this is exactly why selfless givers end us stressed out and overloaded.

Via Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success:

…selfless givers are more inclined to sprinkle their giving throughout their days, helping whenever people need them. This can become highly distracting and exhausting, robbing selfless givers of their attention and energy necessary to complete their own work.

 

So How Much Should You Give?

Remember The 100 Hour Rule. One hundred hours a year — in other words, 2 hours per week.

Via Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success:

One hundred seems to be a magical number when it comes to giving. In a study of more than two thousand Australian adults in their mid-sixties, those who volunteered between one hundred and eight hundred hours per year were happier and more satisfied with their lives than those who volunteered fewer than one hundred or more than eight hundred hours annually. In another study, American adults who volunteered at least one hundred hours in 1998 were more likely to be alive in 2000. There were no benefits of volunteering more than one hundred hours. This is the 100-hour rule of volunteering. It appears to be the range where giving is maximally energizing and minimally draining.

A hundred hours a year breaks down to just two hours a week. Research shows that if people start volunteering two hours a week, their happiness, satisfaction and self-esteem go up a year later.

 

What’s The Best Kind Of Giving To Do?

A kind that is meaningful to you. No, you can’t fake it if you want the benefits.

Via Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success:

Psychologists Netta Weinstein and Richard Ryan have demonstrated that giving has an energizing effect only if it’s an enjoyable, meaningful choice rather than undertaken out of duty and obligation.

 

Sum Up

Breaking it down:

  1. To be happier and healthier you need to give to others.
  2. Don’t be a martyr. Constant selfless giving is not the answer.
  3. 100 hrs a year is the minimum to increase happiness, so do about 2 hrs per week or a little more.
  4. You need to do it because you want to, so find a way to help others that is meaningful to you.
  5. It’s better to cluster those activities than to spread them out.

What do I personally plan to do? I’m going to designate a DAY OF GIVING per week and make sure I’m clustering my 2hrs of meaningful helping.

In a few weeks I’ll post my results. Please give it a try yourself and let me know how it works for you. You can write me here.

This is going to be fun. :)

This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

Join over 195,000 readers. Get a free weekly update via email here.

Related posts:

How To Stop Being Lazy And Get More Done – 5 Expert Tips

How To Get People To Like You: 7 Ways From An FBI Behavior Expert

New Harvard Research Reveals A Fun Way To Be More Successful

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

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