The Region Beta Paradox
Image: Wikimedia Commons

Suppose you decide that you’ll walk (at 3 mph) to any destination that’s within a mile of your house, and bike (at 15 mph) to any destination that’s farther away. That’s a reasonable choice, but it has a surprising result: You’ll actually arrive more quickly at moderately distant points (1 to 5 miles away) than at most points closer to home (less than 1 mile away).

Psychologist Daniel Gilbert uses this example to illustrate a phenomenon in our reactions to stressful events: Sometimes we’ll recover more quickly from particularly distressing experiences because they’re strong enough to invoke defense processes that attentuate stress.