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Super Bowl LVI: Whether your team won or lost, there’s a positive link between sports and mental health

Super Bowl LVI attracted nearly 100 million viewers this year. As America’s most popular sport, even those who aren’t diehard fans watch the spectacle.  Yet where does our emotional investment in the outcome of a sporting event come from? Some psychologists theorize it dates back to pre-history, with roots in…

Music therapy: How the “Encanto” soundtrack and other forms of music can help us to process our emotions

With people everywhere falling head over heels for Disney’s “Encanto,” it’s the perfect opportunity to highlight the emotional impact of music on our lives.  Even science is proving that our love for music is a genetic trait, a uniquely human experience.  Though the “Encanto” soundtrack is quickly becoming beloved, under…

What is character bonding? Exploring the connection we feel with fictional characters

Character bonding is when we start to emulate the personality traits of fictional characters that we admire and/or feel drawn to. There’s nothing inherently harmful about character bonding; just remember that there is a distinction between them and you.  While people may be drawn towards different fictional characters based on…

How to deal with toxic friends: Tips for identifying friendship red flags and maintaining boundaries

Red flags in romantic relationships are a popular subject—but what about our friendships?  Friendship red flags are real and can be an indication that your friendship is toxic or at least needs some work.  If you spot manipulative or controlling behavior in your friendships, it’s important that you set boundaries….

Is “post-Disney depression” worse than normal vacation withdrawal?

It’s not unusual for vacationers to suffer from depression or withdrawal when they return to their daily routines. The immersive environment at Disney theme parks seems optimized to impart happiness, causing some guests to feel post-Disney depression after their visits. Disney parks use color psychology, UX design, scents, and novelty…

Restorative vs. reflective nostalgia: Learn to spot the differences and combat memory distortions

Nostalgia is a familiar feeling, but there are actually two different types—reflective and restorative nostalgia. Restorative nostalgia involves happy memories and associations with the past. When we feel restoratively nostalgic, we’re likely to feel motivated to seek out new and rewarding experiences. Conversely, reflective nostalgia may often make us feel…

Does willpower exist? Ego depletion theory explained, plus ways to exercise better self-control

Though the idea that each of us has a “reserve” of willpower is an attractive notion, current psychological research doesn’t put much stock in the idea. Psychologists are instead asking the question: Does willpower exist?  Believing in willpower is part of ego depletion theory—the belief that without enough willpower, we…

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