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What do you usually do when you feel sadness, stress, or frustration?

This information is part of one of the editions of Heuristics Lab's newsletter "Atajos Mentales". This is a new channel where we share behavioral science highlights with our community. Each edition includes an idea and a recommendation of a book that should be in your collection. Behavioral sciences can contribute to improving our mood and overall well-being. For this edition, the Heuristics Lab team selected three scientific studies that demonstrate how simple actions (performing 10 minutes of physical exercise, smiling, or practicing a special breathing technique) can improve our emotional well-being.

Three important studies

  1. A study of 4,500 people in the United Kingdom found that doing about 10 minutes of moderate to intense exercise each day improves memory, executive processes such as planning, and organizational skills.

  2. A research from Stanford University has found that structured breathing exercises are effective in reducing anxiety and improving mood, even surpassing the practice of meditation. The most effective method is to inhale twice quickly, followed by a prolonged exhalation, and repeat.

  3. An aleatorized controlled trial with 2,384 people, revealed that meditating with the support of the Headspace application reduces stress and anxiety; with effects similar to those of in-person therapy. In addition, it improves performance in cognitive tasks and the decision-making process.

An idea

"When I am asked what is the first thing a person interested in behavioral science should learn, my answer is always: the concept of expected utility. Only by knowing this idea very well is it possible to understand in a solid way the rest of the theories and applications that you find in behavioral sciences. For example, if you have wondered what behavioral economics means by irrationality, in essence, it is making decisions that are not aligned with one's expected utility".

behavioral sciences
Pedro Del Carpio: Founder and Director of HeurísticaLab

A book

This week we recommend:


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