Shared pain brings people together

[This story is based on materials provided by Association for Psychological Science; follow this link:]

What doesn't kill us may make us stronger as a group, according to findings from new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Going through painful experiences together can change a group’s behavior, promoting bonding and solidarity.

The research suggests that, despite its unpleasantness, pain may actually have positive social consequences, acting as a sort of “social glue” that fosters cohesion and solidarity within groups:

“Our findings show that pain is a particularly powerful ingredient in producing bonding and cooperation between those who share painful experiences,” says psychological scientist and lead researcher Brock Bastian of the University of New South Wales in Australia. “The findings shed light on why camaraderie may develop between soldiers or others who share difficult and painful experiences.”

Bastian and colleagues Jolanda Jetten and Laura J. Ferris of the University of Queensland examined the link between pain and social bonding in a series of experiments with undergraduate students.

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The spiritual person: Alcohol releases the “beast within.”

Often, research findings reflect the scientist's and the public's expectations. Sometimes, they come close. Other times, research results simply astound everyone.

Case in point is the recent research of Professor Peter R. Giancola of the psychology department of the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences. He, and his former graduate student, Aaron Duke, have found an unexpected relation between spiritual beliefs, violence and alcohol consumption.

“Oversimplifying – in many cases the more religious someone is, the more aggressive they will become after drinking alcohol,” Giancola said.

Read more: The spiritual person: Alcohol releases the “beast within.”

Fantastic Names

John Algeo – USA

Names are inherently fantastic, both literally as “marked by extreme individuality” and metaphorically as “conceived by unrestrained fancy” or “ingenuous, clever in contrivance and use.”

One of the remarkable facts about name study is the extent to which it serves as a link between otherwise diverse disciplines and activities. Geography, history, genealogy, sociology, folklore, linguistics, etymology, literary criticism, anthropology, lexicography, encyclopedia texts, dialectology, manufacturing terminology, trade-naming, marketing, criminology, legal studies, scientific terminology, psychology, astronomy, philosophy, and pop culture are some of the motley crew that join hands in the study of names (that is, onomastics).

Harry Potter

Read more: Fantastic Names


Leo Babauta – USA

A simplicity manifesto in the Age of Distraction: Part eight

“It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The
question is, what are we busy about?”

Henry David Thoreau

How not to live in your inbox

Many of us do this — we have our email inbox open most of the day, and most of the time, our work is right there, in the inbox. It’s where we live, communicate, keep track of tasks, do our work, organize ourselves.

Unfortunately, it’s not the best way to live and work. You’re constantly getting interrupted by new messages, and so we’re at the mercy of the requests of others. A new email comes in, and so we must stop what we’re doing to check the new email, and possibly respond. Even if we don’t respond right away, whatever we were just doing was interrupted.

Read more: Focus

Integrating Meditation With Science

Mindfulness meditation produces personal experiences that are not readily interpretable by scientists who want to study its psychiatric benefits in the brain. At a conference near Boston April 5, 2014, Brown University researchers will describe how they've been able to integrate mindfulness experience with hard neuroscience data to advance more rigorous study.


Read more: Integrating Meditation With Science


Lao Babauta – USA

A simplicity manifesto in the Age of Distraction: Part seven

Let go of the need to stay updated


Many of us are slaves to the news, to the need to keep updated with what’s happening in the world, in our business niche, with our friends.

Read more: Focus

Place of Last Retreat

Joshua M. Greene – USA

In the aftermath of John Lennon’s murder, there was only one place George Harrison could go for shelter.

George Harrison
George Harrison

Recently, a student in my university course on mysticism waited until everyone had left the room before coming up to my desk. “Professor Greene,” she said, “you know that point in class about how levels of meditation can be compared to different levels of love? I wanted you to know that really touched me. I’d never thought about meditation as a way to deepen love for another human being. Sothanks.” This from a twenty-three-year old who rarely said anything in class, all the action going on below the surface. She tossed her backpack over her shoulder and sauntered out. It was the kind of payoff for a teacher that makes up for months of academic trivia.

Read more: Place of Last Retreat

Meditation for Anxiety, Depression?

Some 30 minutes of meditation daily may improve symptoms of anxiety and depression, a new Johns Hopkins analysis of previously published research suggests.

medley meditation 2

A lot of people use meditation, but it’s not a practice considered part of mainstream medical therapy for anything,” says Madhav Goyal, M.D., M.P.H., an assistant professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and leader of a study published online Jan. 6 in JAMA Internal Medicine. “But in our study, meditation appeared to provide as much relief from some anxiety and depression symptoms as what other studies have found from antidepressants.” These patients did not typically have full-blown anxiety or depression.

Read more: Meditation for Anxiety, Depression?

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