Photo by Hybrid

Is kindness magic? Can you really get happy by giving? Are people happier when they give to others and perform random acts of kindness?

The answer to all of these questions is: hell yeah! It’s true, putting good out into the world creates a ripple effect of positive emotions.

Acts of kindness can make you feel better and make someone else’s day. Your selfless act will give you both a hit of oxytocin, which is the hormone that helps social bonding.

Giving also turns on the parts of your brain that are responsible for pleasure, rewards, and trust. That means…

*Spoiler alert* They are seriously bad for your health

Photo by averie woodard

We all have negative people in our lives. But did you know that negativity can be contagious and harm your health? It can cause stress, anxiety, heart disease, and it can even rewire your brain.

Why negative social connections are bad for you

Friendships, relationships or family ties with people who are negative will bring you down. Here’s why:

You adopt their thinking style. People are natural mimics. From the time we are babies, we subconsciously repeat movements and gestures of those around us. There have been studies that show we trust people who mimic and mirror us more than those who don’t. …

Photo by Andrey Zvyagintsev

Rejection sucks. Most people do anything they can to avoid it. But here’s the thing: you need to get rejected.

Did you know that physical pain and pain from rejection light up the same part of your brain? Even when it’s something as passive as just seeing pictures of strangers with expressions of rejection.

WTF, right? I know. But it’s not a neurological mistake; your brain is actually functioning like it’s supposed to.

(Check out this study for more details about the similarities between emotional and physical pain)

So what can we do about rejection if our brains are hard-wired…

A poem

A stranger told me I was beautiful today.

He meant it
I could tell by the genuine way his voice wrapped itself around the words
Like folded arms, protecting something fragile.

I smiled
But I didn’t smile for him.

His compliment made me think
Of the way your eyes used to well up when you
Felt happy enough to say the same thing to me.

Usually in the morning
When “mess” was the kindest way to describe my hair
And the leftover black from last night’s makeup
Was smeared against my cheek.

I thanked him for his words
For taking…

Photo by Patrick Hendry

A poem

I was made in a minor key
Baptized by my mother’s tears
Not from joy, but from exhaustion
My song was the silence between her sighs
“Not another child”

The world did not stand up to meet me
I had to tap it on the shoulder
I had to demand to be seen
I am still demanding

You were made the same
I know that some place deeper than my bones
I hear your song; it’s in the urgency of your laugh
In the hope you cloak with sarcasm
It’s in the relief when you speak my name

The world…

On burning brightly and finding artistic validation in death

The British Library

It’s time to revel in some early 19th century English romance with the poster boy of tragedy and posthumous artistic validation.

John Keats, the bright star, was the very personification of a young romantic. He was everything the poet stereotype brings to your mind: boyish, indulgent, fragile, star-crossed, and exceptionally talented.

And perhaps there’s a close association because Keats is so widely regarded as one of the greatest poets of all time. His work and, quite frankly, his tragic death, have influenced so many of poetry’s powerhouse writers, like T.S. …

Why you have to break up with your mental illness

I think about our first date often. It was a warm summer evening and I sat across from you at the front table of a barcade. I told you stories. Your eyes were on fire the entire night. I could have read the technical manual for a 90s model copy machine but I know the light in your eyes wouldn’t have flickered, even for a moment.

We played arcade games after dinner. I pretended to be competitive so I could brush my arm against yours and jokingly elbow you when you repeatedly kicked my ass at Tetris. …

Associated Press

What Brooks taught the world about the beauty of community and being a black woman in America

Gwendolyn Brooks is an earthy, plainspoken, unpretentious American legend. She won countless awards including a Pulitzer prize and is known around the globe as Chicago’s First Lady of Poetry. She is a big deal. But more valuable than that, she was a teacher who shared her love of poetry with anyone — especially any child — who asked.

Let’s learn more about what made this poet so extraordinary.

Don’t want to read? Listen to this story and hear a reading of “my dreams, my works, must wait till after hell” on the tiff loves words podcast.

A young poet

Gwendolyn Elizabeth Brooks was…

Take a closer look at the Irish playwright’s life and the fashionable, indulgent myth he built up around himself

Even though the Picture of Dorian Gray is an extremely well-known classic work of fiction, the Importance of Being Earnest is one of the most frequently produced plays, and he’s literally the most quoted person, according to the Oxford Dictionary, it’s not very common knowledge that Oscar Wilde wrote poetry.

Don’t want to read? Listen to this story and hear a reading of “Hélas” on the tiff loves words podcast.

Oscar Wilde was a world-famous writer, playwright, and man of society. He was one of our first real celebrities. …

Tiff Reagan

Author of Be Happy, B*tch. Tiff is a storyteller, a poet and a public servant. She loves summer in Oregon, her dog Roosevelt and the smell of old books.

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