research

Self-Control

Click the image to read "Self-Control Is Just Empathy With Your Future Self" in The Atlantic.

Click the image to read "Self-Control Is Just Empathy With Your Future Self" in The Atlantic.

Researchers at the University of Zurich have found that a part of our brain - the right temporoparietal junction - is not only responsible for empathy, but also has a role in modulating self-control.   

"Empathy depends on your ability to overcome your own perspective, appreciate someone else’s, and step into their shoes. Self-control is essentially the same skill, except that those other shoes belong to your future self—a removed and hypothetical entity who might as well be a different person. So think of self-control as a kind of temporal selflessness. It’s Present You taking a hit to help out Future You."

I imagine that this could potentially have some interesting clinical implications.  For example, if we engage in activities that might foster empathy - such as volunteering or immersing ourselves in different cultures - might that also help to enhance self-control?  If we work on being compassionate to others, will we then have a greater ability to treat our future-selves with that same kindness?  It will be interesting to see the future directions of this research.  

"Just Relax..."

Click the image to read "Relax! You'll Be More Productive" by Tony Schwartz.  

Click the image to read "Relax! You'll Be More Productive" by Tony Schwartz.  

When it comes to anxiety, the well-intentioned advice to "just relax" often falls quite short.  It's not that simple.  This article provides some more tangible ideas that may help to curtail perfectionism and anxiety.  The over-arching idea: less can sometimes be more.  Counterintuitively, the best results can sometimes be found, not by constantly working, but by taking care of yourself and allowing some time to relax.  Carving out time to exercise, sleep, take breaks, and even vacation can all lead to increased productivity.