Like to Help Other People? Be Careful. It Could Be Hazardous to Your Health.

I tend to be a pretty empathetic sort.  In high school my parents used to always criticize me because I was forever taking the side of the forgotten (or bullied) kid and they wanted me in the popular crowd.  Guess they saw how that turned out.

But now a new study is saying that walking a mile in another's shoes may wind up being hazardous to your health, according to


A University of Buffalo researcher says it's how we arrive at empathy that counts.

When it comes to empathy, the idiom that suggests “walking a mile in their shoes” turns out to be problematic advice, according to new research published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology.

“That’s because there are two routes to empathy and one of them is more personally distressing and upsetting than the other,” says Michael Poulin, an associate professor in the University at Buffalo Department of Psychology and co-author of the study led by University of Pennsylvania psychologist Anneke E.K. Buffo…

Stop Talking About the Election at Work: It's Hurting You

Admit it. You're sick to death of the election.  And yet people at work are still talking about it at the water cooler (and in the lunchroom and the bathrooms and walking in and out of the front doors).  Now a new study says it's hurting workers and causing stress.

American workers are more likely to say they are feeling stressed and cynical because of political discussions at work now than before the 2016 presidential election, according to survey results released today by the American Psychological Association, according to

The survey found that 26 percent of full-time and part-time employed adults said they felt tense or stressed out as a result of political discussions at work since the election, an increase from 17 percent in September 2016 when they were asked about political discussions at work during the election season. More than one in five (21 percent) said they have felt more cynical and negative during the workday because of political talk a…

Have a Good Memory? You May Tire of Your Experiences More Quickly

So you're smiling pretty smugly because you just remembered where you saw that woman who said hello to you.  But guess what?  Having a great memory may just make you tire of experiences more quickly.


"People with larger working memory capacities actually encode information more deeply," quotes Noelle Nelson, lead author of this research published in the Journal of Consumer Research. "They remember more details about the things they've experienced, and that leads them to feel like they've had it more. That feeling then leads to the large capacity people getting tired of experiences faster."

The new study provides a window into how memory could be the key to becoming satiated, especially on products or habits they hope to quit, such as eating unhealthy foods.

"Our findings suggest that if they can enhance their memory for the other times they've eaten these foods, they may feel satiated and then not seek out those unheal…

Want More Self-Control? It May Zap Your Confidence

I don't know about you but I hate it when I'm not in control, of the world or myself.  I arrive minutes early (it enrages my son) for just about anything, because I like to get the lay of the land.  And I check my email a thousand times (well, maybe more like a hundred) times before I go out because I don't want to miss anything.

Now a new study says that wanting more self-control can actually hinder our efforts to obtain it.  

Huh? Haven't we all been programmed to strive for self-control? Whether it's wanting that extra piece of chocolate cake (Donald Trump, I'm looking at you) or unwise spending habits (that's me), going after that extra bit of self-control can, well, maybe harm us rather than help us, in the end. reports that new research points out that, ironically, wanting to have more self-control could actually be an obstacle to achieving it (regardless of one’s actual level of self-control). The study, done by Bar-Ilan University, in…

And . . Grant Your Low-Level Employees Some Autonomy. You May Be Surprised by the Results.

In keeping with my earlier blog on autonomy in the workplace, another study has now found that, to innovate, large firms should let their employees choose how to do their jobs.

But we're not just talking managers. reports that companies that can quickly respond to external changes are more likely to achieve long-term success, and by this measure, small firms already  excel.

New research by New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) School of Management assistant professor Radoslaw Nowak suggests a fix for this drawback: empowering low-level employees, according to the website.

An organization’s capacity to absorb new information and to implement corresponding changes, known as “absorptive capacity,” declines as it gets bigger. In this sense, large companies are advised to take a cue from comparatively laid-back start-ups. “As they grow,” says Nowak, “organizations tend to become more political and bureaucratic. That creates structural barriers to communication.”

Have Some Control at Work? It's Better Than a Raise

It's no surprise.  Autonomy in the workplace makes us, well, feel better.

Now a new study is saying that having control over our jobs enhances our well-being and job satisfaction.  I've even read that it may help us to stay well!

I know you've probably read, like I have, how people who have to work under totally controlled situations (and sometimes at night) are more prone to frustration, anger, even cancer, in some cases.

The study, conducted by the University of Birmingham, reported that those working in management reported the highest levels of autonomy in their work, with 90% reporting ‘some’ or ‘a lot’ of autonomy in the workplace.

Professionals surveyed report much less autonomy, particularly over the pace of work and over their working hours. For other employees, 40-to-50% of those surveyed experienced much lower autonomy while around half of lower-skilled employees experience no autonomy over working hours at all.

"The positive effects associated with in…

Are You About to Have an Epiphany? A New Study Says You Can Tell When Someone's Going To

I remember where I was exactly.  Waiting for my son to return from track in the rain and darkness, while all the other kids hopped into their parents' cars and took off.  I tend to be an alarmist, by nature (and also, by husband), so I started panicking and thinking of all the things that could have gone wrong to make him be so late to the car.

Was there a fight in school?  Did someone go after him in the locker room?  Was a teacher holding him hostage?  (I know, I know, I'm a bit dramatic.)

But having experienced some trauma in life, serious illness, childhood abuse, and always -- sadly -- expecting more, I couldn't help fearing something bad had happened to him.

And then I saw him sauntering out of the gym, and I realized, he can take care of himself.

It's not that I haven't stopped worrying.  But I had an "aha" moment, sitting in the car. And now researchers are saying that they can tell when you're about to have one.

According to, sci…