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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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The Tangible Benefits of Optimism

March 3, 2013, 3:40 PM

What's the Latest Development?

Far from the aloof practitioner of new-age feel-good solutions, viewing dilemmas as opportunities rather than life-crushing problemsin a word, being optimistichas real benefits. Both your physical and psychological well-being will get a boost from optimistic thinking. "Positive emotions can...undo the effects of a stressful negative experience." In an experiment that measured participants' biological metrics while undergoing a challenging and stressful task (publicly delivering a hastily prepared speech), "the researchers found that the most resilient people were also more positive in day-to-day life."

What's the Big Idea?

The ways in which we deal with stress has become a popular topic of study for psychologists. Surprisingly, many of the things we thought helped us cope with stress, such as venting our frustrations (having a good yell, abusing a pillow, etc.) are counterproductive. "Far from being delusional or faith-based, having a positive outlook in difficult circumstances is not only an important predictor of resilience—how quickly people recover from adversity—but it is the most important predictor of it. ... Actually, doing nothing at all in response to anger was more effective than expressing the anger in these destructive ways."

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Read it at the Atlantic


The Tangible Benefits of Op...

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