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Dread can be a powerful motivational tool

Positive and negative anticipation

Positive and negative anticipation

A study from the University of British Columbia analyzed the effects of positive and negative anticipation.

The conclusions show that we tend to want a yummy snack immediately but prefer to delay paying our bills. This seems to make intuitive sense, but the researchers wanted to dig deeper into the role of anticipation.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

Dread can be a powerful motivational tool

Dread can be a powerful motivational tool

https://bigthink.com/personal-growth/dread-motivational-tool

bigthink.com

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Key Ideas

Positive and negative anticipation

A study from the University of British Columbia analyzed the effects of positive and negative anticipation.

The conclusions show that we tend to want a yummy snack immediately but prefer to delay paying our bills. This seems to make intuitive sense, but the researchers wanted to dig deeper into the role of anticipation.

Anticipation asymmetry

Anticipation pushes against our natural tendency to want good things now and bad things later.

We'd rather get negative experiences over with to avoid the dread of waiting. Yet this desire is not as powerful as wanting positive experiences immediately.

Subjective magnitude

We weigh negatives twice as heavily as positives. This is similar to loss aversion: We prefer avoiding losses than acquiring equivalent gains.

Loss aversion focuses narrowly on losses and gains, however, while subjective magnitude broadly considers positive and negative events.

Using dread as a motivator

That idea was put forward at Fast Company: "Don't want to do something? Tell yourself that it will be horrible. The worst. A godforsaken burden."

Immediate gratification is more strongly woven into our DNA than dread. Yet dread can be a motivational tool as well. Cognitive reframing can stop procrastination in its tracks.

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Count your blessings

Spend 5 to 10 minutes at the end of each day writing in detail about three things that went well that day, large or small, and also describing why you think they happened.

Mental subtraction

You don’t know what you’ve got till its gone. 

Consider the many ways in which important, positive events in your life—such as a job opportunity or educational achievement—could have never taken place, and then reflecting on what your life would be like without them.

Savor

We have a tendency to adapt to pleasurable things—a phenomenon called “hedonic adaptation”—and appreciate them less and less over time. 

We can interrupt this process by trying the Give it Up practice, which requires temporarily giving up pleasurable activities and then coming back to them later, this time with greater anticipation and excitement.

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Limit your use of social media
Limit your use of social media

Commit to not checking social media during meals with family and friends, and when playing with children or talking with a partner. 

Make sure social media doesn’t interfere with ...

Have “detox” periods

Even a five-day or weeklong break from Facebook can lead to lower stress and higher life satisfaction

Publicly declare you are on a break. And delete the apps for your favorite social media services.

You can also cut back without going cold turkey: limit your use of social media to 10 minutes a day for three weeks and you'll see improvements in your mental health. 

Pay attention to how you use social media

Experiment with using your favorite online platforms at different times of day and for varying lengths of time, to see how you feel during and after each session. 

You may find that a few short spurts help you feel better than spending 45 minutes exhaustively scrolling through a site’s feed. 

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Have ‘detox’ periods

Schedule regular multi-day breaks from social media. 

Pay attention to how you feel

Experiment with using your favorite online platforms at different times of day and for varying lengths of time, to see how you feel during and after each session.

You may find that a few short spurts help you feel better than spending 45 minutes exhaustively scrolling through a site’s feed. 

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Unrealistic Optimism
Unrealistic Optimism

The tendency to over-expect the probability of good things happening while negating the likelihood of anything bad happening is a common human trait.

Studies consistently ...

The Advocates for Pessimism

Pessimism, or having a bias towards a negative outcome, has a fan base too, as it seems that pessimists are immune to disappointment.

Their view of life already considers the worst possible outcome as the default one, and anything better than that can only improve it.

Loss Aversion

Losing something we already have is twice as much pain than gaining the same. This skewed feelings towards loss is known as loss aversion.

Expectations always dampen the feelings of happiness, always setting us up in advance for a dose of disappointment.

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Reframe or divert

The first step in approaching a negative situation with an optimistic outlook is to accept what you can’t change.

Once you’ve done that, you have 2 options: reframe ( look ...

Savor the good

Noticing and savoring the pleasant moments and thinking, "Wow, this is really great "can strengthen positive emotions.

In general, we tend to dwell on the negative side and not notice the positive things we experience.

Set reminders

Write yourself a message on a sticky note and attach it to your computer screen at work (an inspirational quote, a reminder to smile, etc).

Small reminders like these help keep positivity front and center in your life.

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Motivation
Motivation

Motivation is not a switch. Motivation is a flow. 

If you can create a self sustaining motivation engine, you’ll not only be able to find more meaning and purpose in your life, bu...

Motivation Engine in 3 parts
  1. Core. Your purpose. It is sustained by two things: Having Meaning, and Forward Movement.
  2. Support. What enables your goals. They can magnify the motivation core you have, or speed up the momentum that you build.
  3. Surface. Any type of external recognition that might give you motivation.
Jumping Into Conclusions
Jumping Into Conclusions

It is a form of cognitive distortion which generally gravitates towards the negative. This happens without any justifiable cause or reason and is not based on any fact.

It ...

Two Types Of Cognitive Distortion
  1. Fortune Telling: When one believes that the negative outcome is already a confirmed fact. The baseless assumptions are a reality inside the mind of a fortune teller. In most cases, things that seem to be a big worry have nothing to do with reality.
  2. Mind Reading: Instead of focusing on probable bad situations, a mind reader creates unverified negative assumptions about people. These can be about people not respecting you, or about not getting acceptance from someone.
Why People Visit Fortune Tellers

The basic psychology about visiting a fortune teller is that the mind is cognitively distorted and needs reassurance. When a fortune teller tells you that everything is going to be ok, the negative thoughts start to diminish.

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The struggle with anticipation
The struggle with anticipation

The anticipation of an event is almost all the time more emotionally powerful than the actual event (in good situations and in bad ones as well).

The panic of talking with your superior...

The obstacles we create

Our minds can deceive us so much so that the idea of something becomes more satisfying than the thing itself. And that's why we stop at the idea, before even transforming it into reality.

It’s easy to dream. But that’s where most people stop. And the very act of dreaming stops us from achieving our dreams.

The illusion of action

We usually think about the things we desire in such detail, that we become happy enough and we trick ourselves into believing that we have actually done something productive.

So, when we try to act towards our desires, we immediately hit a stone wall of resistance and quickly distract ourselves from the discomfort with some form of momentary pleasure.

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Spend time with furry friends

Play fetch with Fido or sneak in a few cuddles with your kitten. 

Interacting with your pets can release oxytocin in the brain ― you know, the “warm and fuzzy” hormone ― resulting...

Count your blessings

There’s nothing like a little thankfulness to boost your mood. Research shows expressing gratitude can make you happier

Try writing down three things you’re thankful for at the end of each night.

Remind yourself how great you are

 Studies show self-acceptance is crucial to a happier life, but it’s a habit we barely practice.

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Relationship Apocalypse

The Four Horsemen of The Relationship Apocalypse:

  • Criticism: is staging the problem in a relationship as a character flaw in a partner.
  • Defensiveness: res...
Building "Love Maps"

It means getting to know your partner really well, including his/her internal psychological world.

Ask questions, deep and personal ones. Get past“When will you be there?” or “Don’t forget to pick up milk.”

Show Admiration

Admiration is about the story you tell yourself about your partner.

Masters see their partners as better than they really are. Disasters see their partners as worse than they really are.

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