Spend Your SEPTA Commute Thinking About This, Science Says

This morning, I spent my SEPTA commute — a super-short ride compared to the commutes of some of my coworkers, who train in from places like Bucks County every single day — doing what I do every morning: Listening to Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” for the trillionth time and mentally cursing the person lacking any sense of self-awareness bumping me with their backpack over and over and over again. Because there is always, always one of these backpack-wielding, spatial-awareness-lacking humans on the El at 8 a.m. on a weekday.

But a new study suggests that if you want to turn a somewhat miserable morning commute into a beneficial activity, then rather than spending your train time daydreaming about what life would be like if Beyoncé were to swoop in on a unicorn (I’m sure she owns one) and adopt you right then and there, you should think about work. Yes: Science says we should all be thinking about work on our daily commutes into the office.

I know, that sounds kind of terrible. But hear me out.

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WTF Is the Bullet Journal? (And Why Are People So Obsessed With It?) 

Bullet journals | Photos via @thebulletjournaladdict (left) @annaslettering

Bullet journals | Photos via @thebulletjournaladdict (left) @annaslettering (right)

The bullet journal has been taking over the internet lately. To wit: If you search #bulletjournal on Instagram, you will find over 200,000 photos of people’s journals — yes, THOUSANDS of people are Instagramming their journals — from all around the world.

So, WTF is the bullet journal, you ask? Well, it’s a journaling technique that was created by Ryder Carroll, a Booklyn-based digital product designer. The technique is … complicated to say the least, but it can be put into any journal and molded to fit and highlight your particular needs and priorities and organize just about everything in your life, from your eating habits to your emotions to your workouts to your to-do list. As Carroll explains in a video on the bullet journal, it’s a single place to “track the past, organize the present and plan for the future.” See the full video of Carroll explaining the journaling technique below. (It’s been viewed an impressive two million times, by the way).

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How I (Finally!) Learned to Turn My Brain Off Before Bed

Geber86/iStock.com

Geber86/iStock.com

Lately, I’ve been trying to focus on honing habits that aren’t just good for my body, but for my mind, too. And (like many other sleep-deprived Americans), refining my sleep schedule was a main priority on that list.

I know I don’t need to tell you that catching the right amount of zzzz’s per night is super important for maintaining healthy brain and bodily functions, but not everyone realizes how important it is for your mental well-being, too. When I’m sleep deprived, I turn into an emotional, irrational, short-tempered, annoying version of myself who — ask any of my family or friends — is not pleasant to be around. Caution: if you see me out rocking my under-eye bags that day, do yourself a favor and stay away. Far, far away.

Unfortunately, I wear my eye bags (not confidently) wayyy more often than I’d like. You see, sleep is one of the things that pretty much goes out the window when your schedule is packed with classes and work, forcing you to stay up until 2 (or 3 or 4) a.m. plugging away at what seems like a never-ending to-do list.

But recently, even if I DO make it to bed (also known as my favorite place on Earth) at a reasonable hour, I often lie awake for hours on end stressing about what the heck I’m going to do with my life once I graduate school or thinking other unnecessary thoughts about things totally out of my control. Sometimes my brain can really get on my nerves! Am I the only one who wishes this thing had an off switch? Like, seriously, I am trying to catch a REM cycle over here, dude.

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The Checkup: How Doing Too Much Of This Is Actually Backfiring On You

• Creativity is a highly appreciated skill, both in the workplace (hello, pitching ideas to your boss) and in social situations (hello, not coming off as a totally eye-roll-worthy guy in your Tinder profile). Which is why, if you’re looking to be creative, you should stop thinking so much all the freakin’ time — really. A new study found that people who had serious mental load (read: too much to think about) were way less creative than those who didn’t. So de-clutter your minds and quit thinking so much, people!  [Fast Company]

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What to Do When Anxiety Is Driving You Nuts (No Deep Breaths Involved)

If you never again want to hear the words “Take a deep breath” when you are freaking the f$#@ out about a work presentation — or about pitching an idea or about a first Tinder date — here are some other words of advice: Say “I am excited.” The folks over at The Atlantic just posted a video explaining how saying those three words can turn anxiety into excitement — easier than going from anxious to calm — which in turn makes you perform better at the anxiety-inducing task. Check out the video below then go put the advice into practice. (Your office mates will just have to deal with your cubicle pep talks.)
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Is Milton Hershey School to Blame for Abbie Bartels’ Suicide?

Abbie Bartels. (Photos via Twitter)

Abbie Bartels. (Photos via Twitter)

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with a statement from Milton Hershey School.

It has been three years since 14-year-old Pennsylvania girl Abbie Bartels died by suicide, and now her parents have filed a lawsuit against the prestigious Milton Hershey School in Hershey, Pennsylvania, accusing the boarding school of causing her death by expelling Bartels and barring her from eighth grade graduation after she expressed a desire to harm herself. Read more »

The Checkup: Words for All the Emotions You’ve Never Been Able to Explain

• Humans are strange creatures and our brains are filled with all sorts of odd thoughts (“I wonder what Missy Elliot is doing today”) and emotions (“I’m not sad, exactly — my heart just feels like a train ran over it, then reversed back onto it, pressed the brakes and stayed there”), many of which we have a hard time describing. To help us out, the folks over at Science of Us have created a handy list of real words  from around the world — like pronoia and malu — for emotions you never knew how to describe before. Guarantee: The list will have you saying “Ahhhhh-ha!” for a good five minutes. [Science of Us] Read more »

The Checkup: These Are the Best Cities for Fitness in America (No, Philly Did Not Make the Cut)

• Looks like D.C. is kicking our butt when it comes to the fitness game. The District was just ranked the fittest city in the country for the third year in a row by the American Fitness Index, followed by Minneapolis in second place and Denver in third. Philly came down much further on the list at number 24. Let’s work on that, shall we? [Huffington Post]
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New Study: How Taking Tylenol Can Turn You Into a Bit of a Jerk

Welp, here’s an unexpected side effect of popping a Tylenol: A new study published in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience found that acetaminophen – the most common drug in the country — can screw with a person’s ability to empathize, along with reducing pain, the Washington Post reports. In other words, taking a Tylenol can turn you into a bit of a jerk. Read more »

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