Ditch your smartphone, get out in the countryside, and feel better about yourself


Nature lovers are significantly less anxious and have higher self-esteem than people obsessed with their smartphones according a recent study.

They are also more conscientious, emotionally stable and more open to new experiences than those addicted to technology.

The on-line research at the University of Derby examined people’s mobile phone use and their connection to nature. Participants were also assessed on their personality and self-esteem

It found that those most in touch with nature used their phone half as much each day as the rest of the population and were more emotionally balanced i.e. 2 hrs 15 mins each day (which seems a lot to me) compared to 4 hrs 8 mins for those less connected to nature.

They also took 87% fewer selfies but three times as many pictures of nature.  So we can probably assume that they are also less narcissistic.

Miles Richardson, head of psychology, said “Nature connectedness isn’t about going back to some halcyon days where we lived in harmony with nature. It’s about realising our place in a wider ecology here and now

I’ve posted on this topic several times over the past few years and my message is still the same. Forget the smartphone (and social media) and get a life!


Domestic abuse now a criminal offence in the UK

P1000496Controlling or coercive behaviour became a crime last week punishable by up to 5 years in prison under s76 of the Serious Crime Act 2015.

Alison Saunders, the director of public prosecutions, said “Being subjected to repeated humiliation, intimidation and subordination can be as harmful as physical abuse with many victims stating that it had a more lasting impact”

The UK government’s definition of domestic violence is “any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to psychological, physical, sexual, financial, emotional

I posted last week on this subject not realising this amendment to the law was due. India Knight wrote about it in the Sunday Times describing such psychological abuses as seeking to break (someone’s) spirit – their soul. And being the weapon of choice of the truly low.

Well that’s one way to describe these bullies. I can think of other ways to describe them. And like all bullies they need to be stood up to and this new law will perhaps add some teeth to that.

The CPS can accept evidence in e-mails, from bank accounts and witness statements from friends and family. The changes in the law have been welcomed by Women’s Groups and other campaigners.

Domestic abuse. Where does it start?

bully_picking_fight_1600_wht_11656-2Just over a year ago I posted on this topic following comments from Seema Malhotra the then shadow minister for preventing violence against women and girls.

As it’s that time of year when people often think about making changes in their lives I thought it worth re-posting with an updated checklist.

Malhotra had said that undermining someone’s self-esteem, for example, could be part of a broader pattern of behaviour, “Psychological abuse can be an indicator of physical abuse in the future or an indication of physical abuse that has happened in the past”.

It can be a part of a pattern of controlling behaviour that leaves people feeling fearful and terrorised in their own homes”.

And that could include being critical of someone’s appearance e.g. saying they look fat or their clothes are not trendy enough, or anything done to control or undermine someone.

Domestic abuse is usually thought of as something men do to women but it can be the other way round and affects people from all backgrounds and ethnicity. It’s estimated that 12 million women and 2.6 million men have been victims of domestic abuse with 30% of women experiencing it since they were sixteen years of age.

It is now the single biggest category of offence in Britain comprising almost 10% of the Crown Prosecution Service’s workload. The figures for harassment rose 13% last year (2013) but the number of prosecutions dropped as victims failed to attend court or retracted their evidence.

The government has a new initiative about abuse which you can read about here.

I reblogged a post a while ago which listed the ways you can be abused but it has disappeared. But here is a list based on one from an organisations which supports SaferLancashire. There will be similar organisations in your area.

  • Are you afraid of your partner?
  • Do you feel as if you have to walk on eggshells to avoid your partner getting angry?
  • Do you get emotional abuse such as insults, belittling comments, ignoring you, sulking or anger when you suggest doing something?
  • Are you told who you can be friends with?
  • Are you told how you should dress?
  • Does your partner try to control other aspects of your life?
  • Does your partner get jealous for no reason?
  • Is your partner physically abusive e.g. grabbing or pushing you not just hitting you, to get their own way?
  • Does your partner have extreme mood swings to the extent you have had to  modify your behaviour to avoid them?
  • Does your partner make all the financial decisions or control your money?
  • Do you find it impossible to express your own opinions and ideas because you fear an angry response?

Saying YES to 2 or more of these may mean you are in an abusive relationship.

You have a right to feel safe. Contact your local helpline in confidence NOW! Don’t let a bully ruin your life.

Sugar ‘n’ Spice v Slugs ‘n’ Snails

And the girls are winning according to research at the University of Kent.

Girls as young as 4 believe they are cleverer than boys and better behaved.

Boys try and stick up for themselves but by the age of 8 they have accepted defeat.

They accept that they are naughtier, less able to focus and not as good with their schoolwork. And what’s worse is that adults reinforce these beliefs. With those kind of expectations what chance have boys got?

The way children are taught has been blames by some experts with the emphasis on collaboration and the removal of competition alongside the risk-avoidance, health & safety culture. It’s not very PC to suggest that boys and girls are actually different and most boys would rather be chasing around being adventurous than sitting quietly and sharing.

I’ve posted before about the princess syndrome Princess on board” and parents only have themselves to blame for that aspect. Praising kids for anything they do can turn them into little egotistical monsters who run the risk of growing up to be narcissistic adults who believe everything is about them.

And teachers can be a problem too. For a start there aren’t enough male teachers in primary schools to be role models – almost 30% of primary schools have no male teachers and in nursery education it’s even worse. There are only 44 male nursery teachers teaching under-5s in this country. (Men are scared away by being thought of as paedophiles).

So with an increasing number of lone parent families and no male teachers many children are brought up without male role models. They can’t even turn to fantasy figures any more as these are seen as sociopathic and violent (see “Sexist superheroes”).

No wonder that many boys give up and underachieve – even the ones who get to university. And the current recession is only making things worse for them (see gloom for male graduates”).

Originally posted  by MikethePsych in September 2010