Psychology Around the Net: April 4, 2020

This week’s Psychology Around the Net offers tips on keeping your sanity when working from home, the dangers of getting your news from social media platforms, how to use mindfulness to reduce procrastination, and more.

How to Focus On Your Work When All You Can Think About Is COVID-19: Five Simple Steps: Work can provide a productive and much needed distraction, but how are you supposed to work when all you can focus on is the latest coronavirus headline?

21 Tips to Survive Working From Home: On that note, whether you’re newly working from home amid the COVID-19 pandemic or you normally work from home but now you’re juggling work with your family being home, you might needs some ideas on how to both survive and thrive in your home office.

How Social Media Makes It Difficult to Identify Real News: Getting your news from Facebook or Twitter isn’t ideal. According to researchers out of Ohio State University, when people see both news and entertainment content on social media they tend to pay less attention to the content’s source, which means they could mistake fiction or satire for real news. Says George Pearson, the study’s lead author: “We are drawn to these social media sites because they are one-stop shops for media content, updates from friends and family, and memes or cat pictures. But that jumbling of content makes everything seem the same to us. It makes it harder for us to distinguish what we need to take seriously from that which is only entertainment.”

7 Activities Siblings Can Do Together to Improve Social and Life Skills: Your children can help each other learn teamwork, communication, problem solving, compassion, kindness, theory of mind, efficiency, and patience.

Older People Generally More Emotionally Healthy, Better Able to Resist Daily Temptations: Three times a day for 10 days, researchers from Duke University reached out to 123 study participants aged 20 to 80 years old on their cell phones to ask how them to use a five-point scale to rate how they felt at that moment — not just “fine” or “ok,” but in relation to the eight emotional states including contentment, relaxation, enthusiasm, and sluggishness, as well as whether they were desiring anything such as food, alcohol, cigarettes, sleep, sex, work, shopping, or social media — allowing them to report up to three at once. The researchers wanted to know how aging might affect a person’s positive and negative feelings and their ability to resist temptation. According to Gregory Samanez-Larkin, an assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience who co-led the study with Duke University PhD student Daisy Burr, they found that older folks are generally more stable and “less volatile in their emotions.”

Mindfulness Exercises Can Reduce Procrastination, Study Finds: Everyone has that one task (or, several tasks!) they avoid. Maybe it’s something incredibly boring and time consuming; maybe it’s something you want to do perfectly and won’t start until you can do it perfectly (or so you tell yourself…). Whatever the reason for your procrastination, mindfulness training might help reduce your intention to procrastinate.

Photo by Sarah Pflug from Burst.

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