See if this is familiar: You post a picture on your social media account, maybe of your vacation or of the meal you prepared, or of your pet doing something so adorable that it puts videos of other people’s grandchildren to shame. Your few dependable “likers” are the first to acknowledge your post with the requisite “thumbs up” or heart. You put your mobile device away to work on that project that’s due at the end of the week, or to eat the meal you just prepared and showed off online. But then you start checking in with your social media account to see if any new reactions have come in. Maybe you pull out your phone during the dinner, or you get stuck on a section of the project and think, Well, I’ll just go back online to check my social media account, see what others are up to. In the meantime, maybe another “like” or reaction has come in, and then you see a fascinating article, or a video, or a friend’s post, and you find yourself responding, and all of a sudden, three hours of your life have gone by and you haven’t gotten anything done.
In January of 2017, over a thousand psychologists convened at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology’s annual conference to discuss the recent uptick in the public’s rejection of scientific data, especially regarding man-made climate change, vaccine safety, and even Darwin’s 150-year-old theory of evolution. Despite the years, decades, and even centuries of research and data and the almost universal scientific backing, so many people are denying the validity of scientific discovery at rates so extreme that the psychologists have termed this the “Anti-Enlightenment Era.”
Many people who practice yoga, whether as a lifestyle or as a means of staying fit by taking weekly classes, swear by the positive effects yoga has on them. For some, the benefits of yoga include increased fitness, while others practice yoga for the calming, destressing effects. But new research is showing that yoga may do more than just offer a general feeling of well-being after a class.
One of the constants of the end of the year, especially during the holiday season, is the expectation that comes with all the possibilities for a life change or reward. Society sells the holiday season as a magical time in which wishes and miracles are granted in a Frank Capra-esque ending because everyone is looking out for everyone else. While propagating an image of harmony is helpful in bringing feelings of goodwill toward others, thereby bettering your own mood, seeking a wish fulfillment cure-all is likely to set you up with unhealthy expectations, only to be let down by even greater disappointment.
Since the election on November 8, the tension and conflicts that have been simmering (or outright roiling) across the country have not abated. There are two distinct sides, but it is important to realize that each of those sides has more offshoots and subheadings than a March Madness bracket.
Earlier this year, Neal Gabler wrote a watershed article published in The Atlantic, entitled “The Secret Shame of Middle-Class Americans.” The author and screenwriter described the moment in which he read a poll conducted by The Federal Reserve that revealed that a staggering number of Americans—46%—did not have the financial savings to cover an emergency of $400 or more, and Gabler realized that he was one of those people.