Let’s get Boys to Feel More Things

In adults we know that having the ability to feel a range of emotions to be a good thing, it allows us to better appreciate the world around us. Yes, even feeling bad can actually be good for you in the long term. We tend to want feelings and experiences that make us feel better (like relaxing instead of working) and we send those feelings to our offspring. We want our kids to also have a pleasurable life instead of a hard one, but should we? New research is showing that we really need boys to feel a ride range of emotions.

If having lots of different emotions is good for our health as adults, then shouldn’t we be fostering the experience of a diverse range of emotions in young children as well? And yet the research suggests we are not fostering emotional diversity from a young age, especially when it comes to raising young boys. As early as infancy, boys’ and girls’ emotional landscape differs. One study reported that when watching an infant being startled by a jack-in-the-box toy, adults who were told the infant was a boy versus a girl were more likely to perceive the infant as experiencing anger, regardless of whether the infant was actually a boy. Gender differences in the diversity of emotion words parents use in conversations with young boys and girls also emerge. Another studyexamining conversations between mothers and young children, mothers interacting with daughters employ emotion vocabulary of greater density and depth, whereas conversations with sons tended to focus primarily on a single emotion—you guessed it, anger. Regardless of whether gender differences in adult behavior arise from conscious or unconscious psychological processes, one thing is clear: boys grow up in a world inhabited by a narrower range of emotions, one in which their experiences of anger are noticed, inferred, and potentially even cultivated. This leaves other emotions—particularly the more vulnerable emotions—sorely ignored or missing in their growing minds.

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Thanks Delaney!

Volunteering Improves Your Mental Health

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Volunteering is good for others, and it’s good for the volunteers too. People all have difference reasons for volunteering in their communities and whatever motivates them clearly helps others too. What’s really interesting is that it turns out that volunteers are rewarded by better mental health. Yes, volunteering can help people deal with depression and provide a clearer purpose in life.

It’s generally understood that helping out others makes a person feel nice, but that experience goes beyond just the feel-good glow of altruism. Studies have found that helping others has tangible benefits, both mental and physical, from lowering your blood pressure to reducing feelings of depression. And research hasn’t found any significant difference in the types of volunteering—any kind of helpful act can create benefits.

“Research has shown that there’s evidence volunteer work promotes that psychological well being you’re talking about,” Rodlescia Sneed, a public health research associate at Michigan State University who has studied the impacts of volunteering. “In my own work I’ve shown it’s linked to improvements in factors like depressive symptoms, purpose in life, and feelings of optimism.”

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I Swear This is Good for You

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An explicative can do way more than just add spice to your sentence, it can improve your life. Emma Byrne argues in her new book that swearing is a social good and we should be happy about it. In the book, Swearing Is Good For You: The Amazing Science of Bad Language, she shows the benefits of a little foul language while adventuring through life.

What’s really neat is that chimpanzees also swear and use the word for dirty in “creative” ways.

Children follow a similar pattern.

Soon after they are toilet trained, their more outwardly violent behaviour, such as hitting or throwing massive temper tantrums, will often start to diminish, replaced by potty language, Byrne explains.

“That switch to something that is linguistically powerful rather than physically harmful is a huge advantage to us as a society.”

Read more (and listen).

Feeling Stiff? Squat!

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Hang loose my friends, it’ll help you live longer. Staying limber can help you not only feel young but live more life. A simple way to figure out if you should go to yoga (or stretch more) is to trying squatting. Go ahead and try it now. Don’t worry if you’re not good at it as many of us are pretty bad squatters.

Let’s all try to be better squatters in life.

“You really don’t understand human bodies until you realize how important these postures are,” Beach, who is based in Wellington, New Zealand, tells me. “Here in New Zealand, it’s cold and wet and muddy. Without modern trousers, I wouldn’t want to put my backside in the cold wet mud, so [in absence of a chair] I would spend a lot of time squatting. The same thing with going to the toilet. The whole way your physiology is built is around these postures.”

A healthy musculoskeletal system doesn’t just make us feel lithe and juicy, it also has implications for our wider health. A 2014 study in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology found that test subjects who showed difficulty getting up off the floor without support of hands, or an elbow, or leg (what’s called the “sitting-rising test”) resulted in a three-year-shorter life expectancy than subjects who got up with ease.

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The Best Interrogation Technique is to Listen

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Over the course of the last decade interrogation techniques involved violence, yelling, and trying to “outsmart” the person being interviewed. Sadly that’s how interrogations were shown in entertainment and in reality at places like Guantanamo (which is still running).

This bizarre approach to information gathering bothered psychologists Emily and Laurence Alison so they set out to review what interrogation techniques actually work. The answer: don’t assault the person you’re hoping will give you information, instead treat them as a person and they will tell you all they know. This adds to the already established thinking that coercive interrogation techniques don’t work.

The Alisons’ analysis of the terrorist tapes confirmed this. One of their most striking findings is that suspects are likelier to talk when the interviewer emphasises their right not to. “The more pressure you put on a person, the less likely they are to speak to you. You need to make them feel responsible for their choices,” said Laurence. “You can’t bullshit, you’ve got to mean it.” He slips into character. “Ian, you don’t have to speak to me today. Whether you do or not isn’t up to me. It isn’t up to your solicitor. It’s up to you.

“These are powerful tools to get inside someone’s head,” said Laurence. “But they’re not tricks. You have to be genuinely curious. There’s a reason this person has ended up opposite you, and it’s not just because they’re evil. If you’re not interested in what that is, you’re not going to be a good interrogator.”

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