Reading Corner

Links related to the weekly posts.


This week, we wrote about the importance of play in your life and relationships. Here are some pertinent articles sharing research and ideas on this topic.

The Importance of Play in Adulthood “Play allows us to learn how to be creative and helps nurture critical thinking, personality development, and adaptive pathways for us in childhood. The benefits of play are far-reaching, but we often give up play as adults for more serious pursuits such as our careers, our relationships, and our families—all of which are valid pursuits.”

Is Recess Important for Kids or a Waste of Time? Here’s What the Research Says “A 2009 study found that 8- and 9-year-old children who had at least one daily recess period of more than 15 minutes had better classroom behavior. The study also found that black students and students from low-income families were more likely to be given no recess or minimal recess. That report reinforced the results of a 1998 study, which found that when 43 fourth-grade students were given recess, they worked more or fidgeted less than when they were not given recess.”

The Benefits of Play for Adults “In our hectic, modern lives, many of us focus so heavily on work and family commitments that we never seem to have time for pure fun. Somewhere between childhood and adulthood, we stopped playing. When we carve out some leisure time, we’re more likely to zone out in front of the TV or computer than engage in fun, rejuvenating play like we did as children. But play is not just essential for kids; it can be an important source of relaxation and stimulation for adults as well.”

Tagged with:

This week, we wrote about how looking at similarities rather than differences improves your relationships. To our surprise, this was the subject of many interesting recent studies focusing on the idea of looking at similarities rather than differences.

The world is much more alike than different “The cornerstone of discrimination is the belief that other people, including people of other races from other countries, are different. They experience life differently; they react differently. What if research could demonstrate that’s not true? A new study from UC Riverside asserts the world population may have much more in common than it has differences. ‘Even though individuals within the same country have more similar experiences than those in different countries, the differences are barely noticeable,’ said Daniel Lee”

The dangers of focusing on differences (and what we can do about it) “We group others according to markers like species, age, apparent sex, skin colour, weight, facial features, and clothing. When we use these cues, we will perceive another as being similar or different. Human enterprises such as the media and the social sciences also rely on sorting information according to similarity and difference. The end result is that we are constantly exposed to information through the lens of social groups, and more often than not, in terms of “us and them.” The problem is that once things are categorised into social groups, there is a bias towards focusing on difference rather than similarity.”

A New Way to Look at the Data: Similarities Between Groups of People Are Large and Important “On average, the amount of similarity between 2 groups (e.g., high vs. low educated or different countries) was greater than 90%…. Here, we suggest that quantitative social science may be inadvertently helping to foster [racism] by focusing on differences between groups and neglecting to highlight stronger and important similarities. For instance, if social scientists were comparing two groups of people with respect to moral attitudes, the researchers could describe either the differences or the similarities between the groups—or, indeed, both. Historically, the focus of social science research in general and psychological research in particular has been on the description of differences between groups.”

Tagged with:

This week, we wrote about how mindfulness practices will help you with your relationships. Here are three articles describing the details of what mindfulness is and how to practice it.

Thich Nhat Hanh on The Practice of Mindfulness “Mindfulness is the energy that helps us recognize the conditions of happiness that are already present in our lives. You don’t have to wait ten years to experience this happiness. It is present in every moment of your daily life. There are those of us who are alive but don’t know it. But when you breathe in, and you are aware of your in-breath, you touch the miracle of being alive. That is why mindfulness is a source of happiness and joy.”

Mindfulness “To live mindfully is to live in the moment and reawaken oneself to the present, rather than dwelling on the past or anticipating the future. To be mindful is to observe and label thoughts, feelings, sensations in the body in an objective manner. Mindfulness can therefore be a tool to avoid self-criticism and judgment while identifying and managing difficult emotions.”

What Is Mindfulness? “‘Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.’ This is the off-cited definition from Jon Kabat-Zinn, well-known author and founder of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts (who is careful to add that it is an operational definition and leaves out some aspects of mindfulness).”

Tagged with:

This week, we wrote about why it’s important to be open and share yourself in your relationships. Here are some articles that use different terms – vulnerability, opening up, self-disclosure – to discuss this issue.

Why Vulnerability in Relationships Is So Important “No matter what type of relationship we’re talking about—be it friendship, familial, or romantic—vulnerability is key to fostering a closer, deeper, and more authentic bond with another person. It keeps us honest with each other and ourselves, breaks down walls, eliminates the potential for miscommunication and misunderstandings, and allows us to be wholly ourselves.”

Opening Up Emotionally: Why Do I Struggle & How Can I Overcome My Fears? “Opening up is very difficult for many people. Letting your guard down, allowing yourself to become vulnerable for even a second can seem like too much to handle. Why deal with the potential consequences of a negative emotional aftermath and pain? It seems a lot easier to simply remain distant and detached for some.”

What Is Self Disclosure in Relationships – Benefits, Risk & Effects “Self-disclosure in relationships may make some people feel uncomfortable out of fear of sharing too much personal information. While this may be a valid concern, there are also benefits of self-disclosure, especially when it is done correctly. Learning what self-disclosure is and how it helps relationships is important.”

Tagged with: ,

This week, we wrote about how to work out solutions for differing needs in your relationship. Here are some other authors who have a variety of things to say on this subject.

What To Do If You and Your Partner Want Different Things “Even in the strongest relationships, getting on the same page about big questions can feel impossible at times. For instance, it’s common for partners to have different wishes, beliefs, or ideas about where to live, whether (and how!) to get married, how to balance work and personal commitments, whether to have children or not and how many, how to navigate other relationships with friends and family, and how to manage finances.”

How to Improve Your Relationships With Effective Communication Skills “Healthy communication is crucial for sustaining long-term relationships. One study found that effective communication increased relationship satisfaction for couples. Healthy communication can increase intimacy in relationships as well. The way you and your partner communicate with each other often determines how you resolve conflicts. If you use healthy methods of communicating, you are likely to find common ground even during a disagreement.”

How to Identify & Express Needs to Revive Connection in Your Relationship “We know that effective communication in relationships is essential for satisfaction and long-term connection, but you may feel like something is missing in your relationship. Communication in relationships is key, but to communicate effectively, you need to know what you need. By identifying, expressing and meeting each other’s relationship needs you foster friendship and intimacy.”

Tagged with: