Getting curious about things outside your field boosts the quality of your ideas.

A window with the words Your Ideas Matter
A window with the words Your Ideas Matter
People who are open to a range of interests produce better ideas. Image by Mika Baumeister via Unsplash.

Innovators have a way of being interested in everything. In childhood they were always getting called on by their teachers for being distracted. If we could listen in on their thoughts, it might go, “Ooh, a squirrel. Hey, look at that! Shiny.”

In a culture that sells us on the idea that success comes from a focused pursuit of our one passion, innovators have a way of forgetting to focus. Instead, they play with a range of interests. It’s nicknamed the ‘squirrel method.’ In adulthood, innovators still find themselves distracted by shiny objects or passionately chasing squirrels. …


Coronavirus attacking the brain
Coronavirus attacking the brain
The S1 protein crosses the blood-brain barrier and causes an inflammatory storm in the brain. Image courtesy of Alice Gray.

William A. Banks has been studying HIV for years. He’d done a lot of work on the gp120 protein in HIV-1, the protein that is responsible for the brain fog so common in HIV. That’s because gp120 crosses the blood-brain barrier and is likely toxic to brain tissues. So when Banks started hearing about the long-term brain fog happening in people who’ve had COVID-19, he said in a news release, “it was like déjà vu.”

Banks began wondering if the spike protein in SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, behaved similarly to gp120. …


New research finds that people adapt best to a chaotic world when they learn from what they get right more than what they get wrong.

Happy man celebrating success.
Happy man celebrating success.
People adapt to chaotic environments faster when they focus on what worked for them in the past. Image by Bruce Mars via Unsplash.

Sonia Bishop had been doing work on anxiety when she heard about her colleague’s research. He had shown that people can learn one environment and then adapt quickly when that environment suddenly becomes volatile. The findings were getting a lot of buzz, but all Bishop could think is, “Anxious people are going to have a problem doing that.”

Now, in a new study Bishop and her fellow researchers have shown just that. People who were anxious or depressed had difficulty adjusting to a rapidly changing environment. On the other hand, what the researchers called ‘resilient’ people did adjust well, especially…


Image for post
Image for post
Image by Bady Abbas via Unsplash

Zach’s mom was at her wit’s end. Even after three months of trying, she could not leave Zach alone in the room with his father for even a moment without Zach crying. During the coronavirus pandemic, she’d been alone with Zach most of the time, and her husband’s demanding job kept him from spending much time with them. But he wanted to play with his fifteen-month-old son, and she wanted five minutes to herself. Due to Zach’s crying, his mom couldn’t even get that.

It is normal for kids to be attached to their mothers in the toddler years, but…


Enhance openness to experience in children

paintbrushes and a palate of paints
paintbrushes and a palate of paints
Creativity is a core competency for careers in both the arts and sciences. Image by Liza Pooor via Unsplash.

What makes someone a creative person? For most of us, the first thing that comes to mind is the arts. How many of us use the term creative to describe a person who is good at math? But new research calls that perception into question, finding that the same amazing human creativity is at the root of both.

The myth (and it is a myth) that the arts are creative and the sciences are quantitative shapes the way we approach education. …


Man and woman at work laughing
Man and woman at work laughing
Whether people are happy at work has more to do with who they work with than with what they do. Image by You X Ventures via Unsplash

As adults, we spend the majority of our waking hours at work. That means our experience at work determines a great deal of our happiness, or not. We teach our kids that finding their passion, finding the job they will love is the path to a happy life. If we can work on what we find interesting, we will have successful lives. But is the belief supported by science?

Maybe not. A new study from the University of Houston joins a growing body of research findings that job satisfaction has a lot more to do with the people we work…


Being a mother means feeling guilty all the time, but it doesn’t have to.

Mother on laptop while baby plays on the floor
Mother on laptop while baby plays on the floor
Mothers in America feel acutely guilty for never doing enough. Image by Standsome Worklife via Unsplash.

Motherhood means a daily experience of guilt and anxiety about our kids, especially for working moms in America. It is so universal that we don’t question it: being a mom means feeling guilty all the time. But Caitlyn Collins wants mothers to know that they have a right not to feel this guilty.

In her paper published in Qualitative Sociology, Collins asks whether mom guilt is a cross-national experience. By looking at four wealthy Western nations, Collins found that feeling guilty is considered part of being a good mother in each of the countries. However, U.S. mothers felt guiltier. …


Masks help people feel safe at work.

woman wearning mask at her computer.
woman wearning mask at her computer.
Employees feel fear and anger when managers ignore CDC guidelines. Image by Erin Akyurt via Unsplash.

It was big news when Amazon warehouse employees went public about unsafe working conditions early in the coronavirus pandemic. Workers accused the company of downplaying safety precautions meant to reduce their risk of getting sick with Covid-19.

Or there was Tyson Foods, where managers allegedly bet on how many employees would get Covid-19. Several Tyson plants had significant coronavirus outbreaks and some workers died. One lawsuit alleged that supervisors were instructed to deny the existence of confirmed cases of Covid-19. …


emojis
emojis
New research shows that feeling your emotions builds more resilience than toughing it out. Image by Domingo Alvarez E on Unsplash.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Or do they? For many of us, our standard response to stress is to avoid our emotions, tough it out and just keep going. That works in the short term, but compartmentalizing leads to burnout when stress drags on indefinitely. Instead, researchers point out in a new paper, staying in touch with our emotions actually reduces pandemic stress.

The key to lowering our stress is in our psychological flexibility. When we can face adversity and then do the hard thing by feeling our feelings, we actually reduce our stress.

How many…


How empathy makes room for innovation.

neon lights saying Work Harder
neon lights saying Work Harder
Photo: Jordan Whitfield/Unsplash

The economic impact of the pandemic has highlighted an important question of strategy for organizations: lean in hard or make time for self-care? Anecdotally, many leaders are reacting to the stress by asking employees to work more hours than ever, even as those employees admit that they are already burning out.

To survive the pandemic, organizations need agility, innovation and high levels of productivity. Pushing hard is a solid method in the short term, but it stops making sense in a pandemic that is predicted to impact the world economy for years to come. …

Alison Escalante MD

How can we take effective action under pressure? Forbes Contributor | TEDx Speaker | Pediatrician | PsychToday | ShouldStorm.com

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