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8 Secret Little Things You Can Stop Worrying About

There may be a scientific reason you crave drama more than others.

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1. Being the kind of person who creates drama for the sake of it.


If you ever get really mad about something, stop to question why you're getting so worked up, and then realise you're accidentally making a big deal out of nothing, you may score highly on the Need for Drama (NFD) scale.

According to a paper published in Personality and Individual Differences in January, some people crave drama more than others: "High NFD individuals seem to see the world as happening to them, which likely makes them reactive to perceived slights." Although scoring highly on the NFD scale isn't a serious personality disorder, researchers reckon it's definitely still ~a thing~.

So if you think you're the kind of person who creates drama when there's no need for it, don't worry: You probably can't really help it.

2. Reverting back to acting like a stroppy teenager whenever you go back home.

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You know how you sometimes can't help snapping at your mum when you go home? Everyone does that.

According to something called family systems theory, originally developed by psychiatrist Murray Bowen, we all revert back to our old ways when we hang out with the people we grew up with. So, if your mum always made breakfast when you were growing up and your dad always gave you a lift into town, it's easy to expect the same routine whenever you go back home.

In an interview with New York Magazine in November last year, Laurie Kramer, a family dynamics professor at the University of Illinois said: "Families tend to have these processes that govern the way that people relate to each other.

"It's no wonder, when we get back home, that we are pulled into the way that we have always related to some of these individuals. ... And, unfortunately, sometimes that means relating to people as if we were all at that earlier period in time when we were all younger."

Although it's possible to act like a grownup around your parents, it is harder. So don't beat yourself up about it.

3. Imagining that a task is going to be the Worst Thing Ever, and then being pleasantly surprised when it actually turns out fine.


Imagine your boss calls a surprise meeting with you in a hour's time. You'll probably spend the hour worrying about how you were late yesterday, you're underperforming, and you're absolutely, definitely about to be fired. And then the meeting will inevitably be about something minor.

Turns out we all overestimate the emotional impact of future events.

A study of 52 people which was published in Cognition and Emotion in January found that people who were asked to imagine taking part in a difficult task anticipated feeling significantly more guilt and shame than people who actually performed the task reported feeling: "Results showed a clear intensity bias, that is, forecasters predicted to experience more guilt and shame than experiencers actually experienced."

So you're probably always going to read too much into certain situations by making yourself feel guilty. Just remember that everyone else does it too.

4. Not having reached all the goals you set yourself as a teenager.

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Setting yourself high goals can make you feel unhappy if you don't reach them.

In her book Generation Me (Atria Books, 2014), Jean Twenge, a psychology professor from San Diego State University, says people who set themselves high goals feel significantly less happy than their peers when they don't achieve them: "It's the natural, if unintended, backfiring of a childhood filled with messages like, You can be anything you want to be!."

According to a paper published in Social Psychological and Personality Science in 2015, "With expectations so high, less happiness in adulthood may be the inevitable result."

Another paper published in the British Medical Journal in 2006 suggests that Denmark is the happiest nation because Danes have the lowest expectations.

So be your own HR manager and try to ~manage your expectations~.

5. Dreading an event and then unexpectedly enjoying it when it actually happens.


Imagine the scene: You're meant to meet a friend for drinks after work. A couple of things go wrong throughout the course of your day, you're hungry and tired, and you start considering cancelling on your friend in favour of going straight home and eating a bowl of pasta on the sofa. But if you actually do meet your friend, you know you'll end up having a great time.

A paper published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology last year explains that we only really appreciate how fun an activity is while we're actually doing it. When we experience something, we find it easier to digest its benefits than when we're planning or reviewing it.

Basically, if you don't know whether to bail, you probably shouldn't. Unless you have really good food at home.

6. Falling out of touch with your schoolfriends.

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A paper from Psychological Science last year found that most friendships that are formed in year 8 end before year 13. We all go through "cognitive and emotional changes [which] elevate the significance of friendships at the same time that growing independence from parents heightens interconnections between friends".

So although our school friendships mean the most to us, they're also the most likely to dissolve.

If you're still in touch with your schoolfriends, congratulations. Your friendships are really special.

7. Not having achieved as much as your peers of the same age.

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Turns out social comparison comes pretty naturally to all of us. But that doesn't mean comparing your own achievements with your peers' needs to make you feel miserable.

In their book Friend and Foe: When to Cooperate, When to Compete, and How to Succeed at Both (Crown Business, 2015), researchers Adam Galinksy and Maurice Schweitzer say: "When it comes to using social comparison to boost your own motivation, here is the key rule to keep in mind: Seek favorable comparisons if you want to feel happier, and seek unfavorable comparisons if you want to push yourself harder."

So tell yourself that if you go swimming as much as your hot friend Abi, you'll look like her in no time; and that if you really want a promotion you'll need to speak up more than your quiet colleague Dave in meetings.

8. Forgetting all the smart stuff you learned at school and university.

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A paper that was published last year in Current Directions in Psychological Science found that although older people are capable of recalling old memories, they're often reluctant to.

So don't worry; all that stuff you learned at school might still be stored in your head somewhere.