Here are the 10 most popular Greater Good articles from the past year:
10. An Awesome Way to Make Kids Less Self-Absorbed, by Vicki Zakrzewski: Research suggests that experiencing awe helps kids focus less on themselves and more on the world around them.
9. The Power of Self-Compassion, by Jason Marsh: Kristin Neff discusses how self-compassion differs from self-esteem, why self-compassion can be hard for Americans, and the transformative effect it had on her own life.
8. Greater Good Sex Tips for Guys, by Jeremy Adam Smith: Three science-based sex tips for the emotionally intelligent gentleman.
7. When Are You Sacrificing Too Much in Your Relationship?, by Amie M. Gordon: Close relationships require sacrifice. Here are seven questions to ask yourself before you give up too much.
6. Ten Steps to Savoring the Good Things in Life, by Stacey Kennelly: We get plenty of advice for coping with life’s negative events. But can we deliberately enhance the impact of good things on our lives?
5. 12 Steps to Happiness, by Stacey Kennelly: A slideshow illustrating a dozen research-tested happiness activities you can start practicing today, based on the work of Sonja Lyubomirsky.
4. Smile! It’s Good for Your Heart, by Stacey Kennelly: A new study suggests smiles—the more genuine, the better—help you bounce back from stress.
3. Six Habits of Highly Empathic People, by Roman Krznaric: We can cultivate empathy throughout our lives—and use it as a radical force for social transformation.
2. Four Ways Happiness Can Hurt You, by June Gruber: Can feeling good ever be bad? New research says yes—and points the way to a healthier, more balanced life.
1. Can Science Make Facebook More Compassionate?, by Jason Marsh: Facebook is confronting cyberbullying and online conflict. Can a team of researchers help boost kindness among the site’s 900 million users?
What makes an article become popular?
Some pieces are just awesome, of course. But quite often, the answer has to do with how people navigate the Internet. Some articles have a built-in audience or distribution mechanism, as with our number one—people kept sharing Jason Marsh’s piece about Facebook over Facebook, and Facebook shared it over Facebook! Other pieces contain popular search terms and are thus likely to draw googling readers.
To help correct for those structural biases and highlight great content you might have missed, we polled our staff and editorial advisors on their personal favorites from the past year—and came up with fifteen more you might also consider reading, in roughly chronological order:
- Four Reminders of Human Strength and Goodness after Sandy Hook, by Jeremy Adam Smith: Are people horrible? It’s a question many Americans are asking ourselves after the horror of a school shooting.
- How Science Can Heal a Divided Electorate, by Jason Marsh: How can both parties work together after President Obama’s re-election? Psychologist Jonathan Haidt offers some hard advice for liberals and conservatives.
- How to Harness the Positive Power of Negative Thinking, by Oliver Burkeman: Can visualizing death make you happier? Research says yes. Here are four surprising ways to harness the power of negativity.
- Is Social-Emotional Learning a Luxury?, by Vicki Zakrzewski: Why SEL is a necessity for children of every background.
- Why Inequality Is Bad for the One Percent, by Jason Marsh: What Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” video reveals about the links between inequality, compassion, and happiness.
- How Self-Compassion Can Help Prevent Teacher Burnout, by Vicki Zakrzewski: Tips for keeping cool and being kind to yourself, even in the midst of a stressful situation.
- The Compassionate Species, by Dacher Keltner: The vulnerability of our children transformed human relationships, argues Dacher Keltner, and made compassion essential to our survival.
- Better Eating through Mindfulness, by Jill Suttie: Obesity has become a public health issue. New research suggests moment-to-moment awareness does a better job of helping people control their weight than any diet.
- Three Lessons from Mitt Romney about Bullying, by Jeremy Adam Smith: Mitt Romney stands accused of homophobic bullying in high school. But what positive lessons can we draw from the story?
- Toward a More Mindful Nation, by Tim Ryan: Economic insecurity. A broken health care system. Youth violence. Congressman Tim Ryan explains how mindfulness can help.
- How to Relieve Stress, by Robert M. Sapolsky: The best-selling author and researcher explains why stress can become a chronic problem—and how we can reduce the toll it takes on our lives.
- The “Good” Divorce, by Christine Carter: Twenty percent of kids are damaged by divorce. Here’s how to make kids part of the other 80 percent. (Readers interested in this topic might also see Christine’s “Is Divorce Immature and Selfish?”)
- Staying Sober through Service, by Jill Suttie: A researcher finds that helping others might be the secret weapon in the fight against addiction.
- What Mel Brooks Can Teach Us about “Group Flow,” by R. Keith Sawyer: How can comedians and jazz groups help create more creative, successful teams in the office, on the field, and beyond.
- How Childcare Boosts Social Capital, by Meera Lee Sethi: New research says mothers using childcare can reap social, psychological, and financial rewards.