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Most people don’t need too much convincing that happy relationships are the key to a successful life. After all, when Harvard researchers followed 268 men for more than 70 years, the study’s founding director summed up its finding with a single sentence: “Happiness is love. Full stop.”

But if you feel the need for a hard-nosed business case for working on your relationships, it exists. Studies show that warm, loving relationships improve your physical health and positively influence job satisfaction and income. Good friends are the best stress buster available, according to science. …


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It doesn’t take a PhD to figure out that sleep is essential. Anyone who’s struggled to get through the next day after a late night out can tell you that.

But researchers are constantly adding interesting new additions to the long list of reasons we sleep, from cementing new learning, to scrubbing the emotional charge from painful memories, to preventing you from having crabby fights with your partner (yes, this has been scientifically proven).

And now a team out of Boston University has added yet another reason to the list, and it’s particularly bad news for those who don’t manage…


School smart and real-world smart are, as we all know, not the same thing. It’s perfectly possible to ace every test in college and struggle in life after you graduate. So if academic grades aren’t enough to prove a person is smart, how do the world’s most successful people spot the truly, practically intelligent?

Jeff Bezos looks for the ability to change your mind frequently. Elon Musk is all about examining skills over credentials. Steve Jobs, however, took another approach.

The legendary Apple co-founder laid out how he defines real intelligence in a talk to the Academy of Achievement way…


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As I write this, I am sitting next to my little shelter dog, Phoebe. Before I started typing, we had a chat about how she’s getting stinky and needs a bath. We decided, however, to wait for the weather to warm up a bit. Am I crazy to be having conversations about hygiene (or anything else, really) with my pet?

Happily for me and the many, many pet owners out there who regularly hold one-sided conversations with their furry family members, the answer according to science is no. …


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Are gut instincts the brilliant distillation of all our wisdom and experience, or just an expression of our brain’s laziness and biases? Do they lead us to oversimplify and stereotype or help us avoid danger before we can even fully process the threat?

These questions are the stuff of heated academic debate. Malcolm Gladwell famously laid out the pro-intuition case in his bestseller Blink, while Nobel prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman summed up the position of intuition skeptics in Thinking, Fast and Slow.

But while the experts argue, the rest of us have to go on and make real world decisions…


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It’s natural for parents to want their children to be successful. That’s why so many of us encourage our kids to study hard and master valuable skills. But research suggests that maybe we should all focus less on IQ and more on EQ.

Studies show that emotional intelligence is not only easier to impact through effort than innate intelligence, but it’s also incredibly valuable for career success. One study determined that higher EQ leads to higher pay, and another showed emotional skills are more important for group success than sheer brainpower.

In short, even if you put aside concerns about…


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We tend to think of emotions as simple, hard-wired responses. You see a hungry lion, you feel fear. You smell a pile of rotting garbage, you feel disgust. But according to fascinating new science, emotions are actually much more complicated than that.

Sure, physical responses like a pounding heart or a wrinkled nose are a big part of emotions. But so are the words your language provides you for your feelings, as well as your cultural beliefs about what different sensations mean and what emotions are expected in certain situations.

This isn’t just some abstract academic point. Understanding how the…


NewhouseSU via Flickr

A lot of career advice boils down to various ways to fit in with whatever group you aspire to join. That’s why people tell you to “dress for the job you want, not the job you have,” to network with those you admire, and to police your tone to sound more “professional,” among tons of other tips along these lines.

But at least two incredibly successful women have exactly the opposite take. Sure, being mindful of others and the norms of your industry is always a good idea. But, according to these two titans, the real secret to career advancement…


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When it comes to maintaining happy relationships (both romantic and professional), you may have heard of the magic 5:1 ratio. Developed by famed couples therapist John Gottman, the rule states that if you want your relationship to thrive, make sure you and your partner have five positive interactions for every negative one.

Why is the proportion of happy times to sad ones so lopsided? The rule is rooted in a wider truth about human psychology: we’re wired to be biased toward the negative. …


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“Across the country, everyone is looking for a cure for what ails them, which has led to a booming billion-dollar industry — what I’ve come to call the Wellness Industrial Complex,” reported performance couch Brad Stulberg for Outside Magazine

From “detox IVs” to “crystals for better energy,” Stulberg goes on to document the mania for any trick, technology, or outlandish practice that might make us feel a little happier and healthier despite the world’s many worrying ills.

But there’s one big problem with these interventions. …

Jessica Stillman

Top Inc.com columnist/ Editor/ Ghostwriter. Book lover. Travel fiend. Nap enthusiast. https://jessicastillman.com/

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