"Resilience is about how you recharge, not how you endure." 
— Shawn Achor and Michelle Gielan
Kathy Caprino is a career and personal growth coach
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Many believe the nonstop onslaught of technology in their lives has made it impossible to create happiness, disengage from stress or effectively restore. But recent studies have revealed that we can shape our ability to create and access happiness.

One of these studies showed that exposure to just three minutes of negative news can increase the likelihood of having a bad day by 27%. An influx of negative information without discussion of solutions can make us feel helpless. But it turns out how we approach restoration can dramatically affect how we feel. And contrary to common belief, digital connection can also pave the way for more personal connection.

I'm committed to being more mindful about how I disengage from stress, and I have seen that we can boost our ability to stay grounded, happy and productive. Here's to more happiness for all in our digital times. –  Kathy Caprino, your guest editor for today's newsletter

Not a bot: 3 ways to be a more empathetic communicator

(Image: Shutterstock)

Automation is predicted to replace almost a quarter of available jobs by 2025, but humans still rule the workplace. Technology may have streamlined our workflow processes, but at what cost? Here are a few ways to bring some humanity back into the office.

Write like a human. Waiting days to respond to an urgent email or answering with terse, one-word replies can be a little cold. Using concise language and proper grammar will show that you've put care and attention into the issue, even if you don't have much time.

Be a storyteller. When communicating the importance of global health in their annual newsletter, Bill and Melinda Gates use personal anecdotes instead of focusing on numbers and statistics. Storytelling brings authenticity to your message and draws the audience in.

Focus on body language. We've all heard it before: Make eye contact, and don't cross your arms. The important point to recognize is that welcoming body language will open up opportunities for collaboration in the workplace and make everyone happier in the long run.

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Reduce 'mind chatter' with mindfulness meditation

Constantly being inundated with emails, projects and personal issues can give rise to a negative voice inside your head. Neuroscientists have found that the source of this prattle is the Default-Mode Network (DMN), or "monkey mind."

Researchers at the University of Southampton have found that mindfulness meditation can greatly reduce negative emotions and help you become more relaxed. The study instructed participants to pay attention to their thoughts and to acknowledge and label unwanted ideas that pop into their minds. This process aids in "letting things be as they are" and works toward "making space" for your present experiences.

While there are mobile apps like Headspace and Smiling Mind to help find some peace, there's a lot to be said for putting the screen away and staying quiet with your thoughts.

Smiling is not a universal sign of happiness, according to modern neuroscience

The TSA has spent $1 billion training airport personnel to detect terrorist-like body language, the New York Times reports, and the U.S. legal system looks for displays of remorse when deliberating on first-degree-murder trials.

However, such readings of human nature are predicated on outdated neuroscience, new research concludes.

Lisa Feldman Barrett, a Northeastern University professor of psychology, is at the forefront of the "constructed emotion" theory. In this view, emotions aren't standard across all human brains. For example: Fear does not have a specific operating location in the brain, nor does it create a universal response, like widening your eyes.

Rather, "emotions are whole-brain affairs," Barrett writes. "Emotions, and really all mental events, are constructed by your whole brain, as vast networks of neurons work together. We no longer ask where emotions live in the brain but how the brain makes emotions."

Turns out, our brains are even more unique than we thought—and may be rewriting long-held scientific understanding.

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Think you can't change others? You can (and do)

In her years as a CBS anchor, psychology expert Michelle Gielan became aware of people's abilities to influence each other—whether verbally, like the distressing effect of Donald Trump's "apocalyptic" RNC speech, or non-verbally, as in a study that found your mood can be influenced by sitting silently beside someone for two minutes.

If we can so quickly affect someone without words, imagine what the right words can do. "Positively influencing the performance of others starts by getting them to be solution-focused," Gielan says. "Moving conversations at work or home from focusing on problems to discussing solutions changes how the brain operates."

Gielan recommends "spotlighting the right." With repeated bits of positive, encouraging reinforcement, like thanking your spouse for putting a plate in the dishwasher instead of lamenting the stack in the sink, the recipient begins to rewire his or her self-image from "wrongdoer" to "helper."

Which of these nine behaviors can help you most positively influence the world?

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