8 Things You Need To Know Today (January 16, 2018)

Photo by Gary Parker

1. If you're anxious, you might literally see the world in a worse way.

As if being anxious wasn't bad enough, a new study has found that people with social anxiety have a negativity bias that causes them to see the world in a worse light. "While most non-anxious people have a positivity bias in updating their self-image and self-esteem (e.g., they update more based on positive social feedback), socially anxious people do not have this positivity bias—instead they may even learn more from negative social information," explained the study's author. "This could potentially explain their overall negative self-views and feelings." Not great news, but the more we know, the more we can use that information to change for the better! (PsyPost)

2. Facebook is making a huge change to its algorithm to make sure you see posts from friends and family.

For the first time in years, Facebook is changing its algorithm to prioritize content from your friends and family over "passive content" from brands. Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, told the Times this is to serve up more "meaningful content," which comes in the wake of allegations against Facebook for being purposefully addicting. (NYT)

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3. Biophilic design is reshaping our urban environment.

Biophilic design takes LEED a step further by saying that the most productive, healthy buildings are the ones that mimic nature. CookFox Architects is one company putting this idea into practice, and its recent projects in Manhattan feature green walls, natural materials, and plenty of light. (NYT)

4. Want to give your child a sense of power over their own life? Try a "yes" day.

Most parents are all-too-familiar with the word "no," but some experts in the parenting field suggest that one of the best things you can do for your child is give them a day devoted entirely to the word "yes." "[Yes day] is a way to be respectful and to acknowledge, early on, that this is his [or her] life," says neurospychologist Bill Stixrud. "Kids have a brain in their head, and they have a sense of how they want their lives to work. Parents should start there and support that, instead of thinking we are supposed to make (our children) a certain way." (CNN)

5. This AI can save lives.

When someone goes into cardiac arrest, diagnosing it and getting to the hospital as quickly as possible are both critical. Scientists in Copenhagen have developed an AI that can recognize cardiac arrest from descriptions over the phone about 95 percent of the time, which is better than relying on 911 dispatchers alone. (Fast Company)

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6. Self-awareness is more elusive than we realized.

Researchers studying nearly 5,000 participants concluded that despite most people's beliefs, only 10 to 15 percent met the scientists' criteria for true self-awareness. Breaking down self-awareness into internal and external varieties, they found that those who scored high in both categories were by far the most successful and satisfied. How can you get into that 10 to 15 percent? By switching your introspective questions from why to what. The next time you feel terrible, instead of asking yourself why you feel that way, ask what are the situations that made me feel this way, and what do they have in common? (Harvard Business Review)

7. One man has suggested we're looking at depression treatment the wrong way.

Johann Hari took antidepressants for 13 years. In a new article published in the Guardian, he suggests that depression may not be a chemical imbalance after all and that antidepressants are essentially a marketing ploy. His theory is tied to autonomy in work and in life and postulates that you're happier if you have it. But many experts are taking issue with the gross oversimplification of what it means to be depressed. There are some things he gets right, though—it's usually a combination of internal and external factors that have to change, for example, and that antidepressants don't work for many people. (The Cut)

8. People are prioritizing wellness, even on vacation.

Vacation used to be about indulgence and excess, but nowadays people aren't willing to sacrifice their workouts and well-being for vacation's sake. In fact, self-care has become an essential part of travel. Hotels, wellness-centered retreats, and airports are adjusting their offerings. Some hotels are offering "wellness rooms" at an additional cost, and guided meditation has become a new menu option on Delta Airlines' Asanda Spa Lounges. (NYT)

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