It’s hard to scare people without a visual imagination

Next time you listen to scary campfire stories, sit with a friend who has aphantasia.

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  • People who can't picture things in their minds have aphantasia.
  • If you're incapable of imagining something scary that's being described, why get frightened?
  • However, scary pictures bother people with aphantasia just as much as they bother everyone else.
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    How to think smarter about failure

    There is no success without failure, but the fear of the latter is what's really keeping you from achieving your goals.

    • What does it mean to be a failure? Failing is typically seen as moving in the opposite direction of a specific goal, when in reality, most achievements in history were made possible by a series of non-successes.
    • "The very concepts of success and failure are words that never really meant anything," says astronomer Michelle Thaller. She and others argue that successes and failures are inextricably linked, and that how we define them for ourselves is what matters.
    • As Ethan Hawke, multidisciplinary filmmaker Karen Palmer, entrepreneurs Steve Case and Tim Ferriss, executive coach Alisa Cohn, and others explain, finding personal success means taking risks, being willing to fail, and recognizing when—and why—things are not working. "Most things will fail, but that doesn't mean you're a failure," Steve Case says. "That just means that idea failed. And what can you learn from that idea and then move forward."

    The best defense against authoritarianism? More educated citizens.

    For democracy to prosper in the long term, we need more people to reach higher levels of education.

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    • It's difficult to overstate the impact of technology and artificial intelligence. Smart machines are fundamentally reshaping the economy—indeed, society as a whole.
    • Seemingly overnight, they have changed our roles in the workplace, our views of democracy—even our family and personal relationships.
    • In my latest book, I argue that we can—and must—rise to this challenge by developing our capacity for "human work," the work that only humans can do: thinking critically, reasoning ethically, interacting interpersonally, and serving others with empathy.
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    How the pandemic has affected mental health internet searches

    Did America's collective mental health get worse (and then better) after the first COVID-19 lockdown?

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    • According to a new study, there was an influx of internet searches for mental health symptoms during the beginning of the pandemic, and this has slowly trended downwards.
    • Researchers looked at whether mitigation policies correlated with Google searches for terms associated with depression and anxiety between January and June of 2020. Additionally, they monitored search terms for in-home activities.
    • While searches for antidepressants and suicide did rise when social distancing measures were being implemented, research shows the search terms exercise and cooking also rose.
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    10 things you may not know about anxiety

    Cold hands and feet? Maybe it's your anxiety.

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    • When we feel anxious, the brain's fight or flight instinct kicks in, and the blood flow is redirected from your extremities towards the torso and vital organs.
    • According to the CDC, 7.1% of children between the ages of 3-17 (approximately 4.4 million) have an anxiety diagnosis.
    • Anxiety disorders will impact 31% of Americans at some point in their lives.
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