It’s not what is the best sunscreen, but the best way to apply it

Tuesday, 21 July, 2015

As someone – fair skin red head – who wears sunscreen every day, to some extent, even with all this wintery… Antarctic vortex weather we’re experiencing, I still took time out to read this in-depth sunscreen study. And seriously now is the time, the warm, sunny, weather will be back before you know it.

I’m not familiar with the specific products reviewed, but some of the points made about the use of sunscreen bear mentioning, namely most of us probably aren’t applying it in the correct quantity, and, more should be applied after swimming, or sweating, even if the product label says this isn’t necessary.

It still washes off quite easily. Better to be safe than sorry. Better still, become semi-nocturnal like me, and not have to worry about being in the Sun at all.

After spending 25 hours on research and interviews, and many more wearing sunscreen on our bodies, we’ve determined that the best sunscreen for everyday use is the one you’ll use correctly. But most people are doing it wrong – which means you probably are, too.

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Sometimes the best way to fit in is to not at first fit in

Thursday, 28 May, 2015

Talk about turning a weakness into a strength… being an outsider, an outcast, one who has been ostracised from a social group for whatever reason, has certain advantages, namely the ability to manipulate, or wield a significant degree of influence over the emotions of others:

Throughout human history, note Northwestern University psychologists Elaine Cheung and Wendi Gardner, ostracization has been personally painful, and sometimes life-threatening. Finding a way back into the safety of one’s tribe (or, perhaps, a way to attach yourself to a different social unit) is imperative. Their research, published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, suggests this desperate need somehow activates our latent ability to display a key component of emotional intelligence. In short, it enhances our ability to make people like us.

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Would an instruction manual make better sleepers of us all?

Monday, 25 May, 2015

Instructions for falling asleep, because sometimes I think we all need a refresher on the topic. So, no smartphones or tablets after lights out, that’s one step for ensuring a good night’s sleep.

Not a big problem for me though. What I really need is to shut off the flow of thoughts and ideas that churn through my mind. But moving on.

Here’s one for people who feel they fall into the insomnia category, don’t sweat the potential loss of sleep, just lie back, relax, and let sleep happen. Probably easier to say than do, but perhaps there’s something in it:

But sleeping better is not just about those presleep moments, the “falling” part. It requires a certain degree of daylong mental and physical discipline. Above all, beware the psychology of insomnia, which Winter describes as a self-¬≠perception problem of this sort: “Ed from accounting is the tall guy, Joanne is the cute girl, and I’m the one who does not sleep.” Sleep is not a bus stop; if your 10 p.m. bedtime passes by and you’re still awake, don’t fret. Trust that sleep – an innate physiological need, like hunger and thirst – will come. No one, especially children, should be given the impression that they are “bad sleepers,” Winter says.

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Most people are not mind readers. Most people forget this

Thursday, 7 May, 2015

Frequently we fail to articulate our thoughts fully enough, or sometimes even just merely outline them, in the belief that others already know what we’re thinking, or what we want. How’s that meant to work anyway?

It’s something called the “the transparency illusion”, and it means many of us do not realise we are not making ourselves as understood as we thought we were, says US psychologist Heidi Grant Halvorson.

Most of the time, Halvorson says, people don’t realize they are not coming across the way they think they are. “If I ask you,” Halvorson told me, “about how you see yourself – what traits you would say describe you – and I ask someone who knows you well to list your traits, the correlation between what you say and what your friend says will be somewhere between 0.2 and 0.5. There’s a big gap between how other people see us and how we see ourselves.” This gap arises, as Halvorson explains in her book, from some quirks of human psychology. First, most people suffer from what psychologists call “the transparency illusion” – the belief that what they feel, desire, and intend is crystal clear to others, even though they have done very little to communicate clearly what is going on inside their minds.

Over do the communication is one solution. At least others will understand you far better that way. And people who communicate clearly tend to be generally happier as a result.

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I don’t want your bling, I just want some of your time

Monday, 4 May, 2015

Turning up, or being here, or more precisely, taking the time to turn up, or be there, is giving someone far more than you could possibly imagine, after all, what else is scarcer than time?

Simply turning up, ringing up, listening and being there is now the biggest compliment you can ever pay anyone. I remember one guest famously saying when asked whether he had bought a present for a celebrity’s birthday, “I’m here, that’s enough isn’t it?” It is. The next time someone turns up on your doorstep give them a big hug and say “Thanks”. Time. The most valuable asset on earth and the most generous of gifts. Give it, waste it, use it or lose it.

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People are generally happier in cooler countries, is that a surprise?

Friday, 1 May, 2015

Sunshine and warm temperatures. Two vital elements, together with a job paying a salary of seventy thousand dollars, for a happy life?

Don’t be so sure, says this year’s World Happiness Report, people resident in places with cooler climes, seem to be more content than those in warmer regions.

According to its ranking, the 10 happiest countries are Switzerland, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Canada, Finland, Netherlands, Sweden, New Zealand, and Australia. Except for war-torn Syria and Afghanistan, the 10 unhappiest countries are all in Saharan or sub-Saharan Africa.

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You might just live happily ever after if you win big in the lottery

Friday, 3 April, 2015

It has always been said that those who win big lottery prizes tend to end up miserable. I’ve always had trouble making that compute though. If you struck it lucky, and sought sound financial advice, surely you’d end up far better off than you might have been before?

Now it turns out these sorts of pessimistic conclusions were based on incomplete research, often carried over a relatively short period of time. A large windfall can in fact make a positive difference to your life, as you’d surely expect it to.

The curse of the lottery was further debunked in a survey of more than 400 Swedish lottery winners by Anna Hedenus, a sociologist at the University of Gothenburg. She found that most winners refrained from splurging, preferring to save or invest the prize money, and that most reported being quite content. “The story about the unhappy, squandering winner primarily functions as a cautionary tale,” Dr. Hedenus says. “But this is not the common reaction to the lottery windfall.”

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When life’s complete, but there’s something missing still

Thursday, 5 March, 2015

Getting out of a bad place, some thoughts from New Zealand based programmer, writer, and entrepreneur, among other things, Derek Sivers. With a to-do list that’s been weighing a tad too heavily in recent times, I’m finding this to be good stuff:

When I’m upset, I don’t feel like doing anything but wallowing in it. But despite feeling that way, I brush, floss, go to the gym, make healthy meals, take the kid out to play, do the dishes, clean the house, pick up clutter, vacuum, pay my bills, answer my emails, take my vitamins, do the laundry, play with the kid some more, brush and floss again, turn off the computer early, turn off the phone, and get to bed early. It’s so mundane, but it really helps to feel on top of things. Things in life well-sorted so I don’t need to worry about them.

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Happiness is a skill, not something that might just happen

Tuesday, 24 February, 2015

To be happy, you have to work at being happy, you have to become skilled in being happy, this from gaming website Polygon:

I’ve often heard that happiness is a skill, not a feeling, and I realized how little time I was spending working on the skill of happiness, while waiting passively for the feeling to reach me.

And then there’s this:

If you have a large family or simply many obligations in life – and this is just about everyone – setting concrete, workable goals for what games you want to play or books you want to read and chipping away at the list in an organized manner may make a huge difference in how you approach your free time. These things became fun again, instead of feeling like obligations that waited for me at the end of every day.

Listing out everything you need to do, and almost rationing time to action said objectives, may not result in a life that’s particularly spontaneous, but it is about the only way to do everything. But don’t worry about that lack of spontaneity, we live in far too chaotic a universe for there to be a great many dull moments.

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All things in moderation, including anxiety

Thursday, 19 February, 2015

As if we could avoid it… anxiety, however, or a certain, limited I would think, amount of it, can be beneficial, it seems:

This picture of anxiety as a dark and pernicious force certainly has illustrious supporters. Even so, I believe that it is mistaken. It goes against the grain to say this, but anxiety can be a good thing. Indeed, I hope to persuade you that it is central to our ability to successfully navigate moral and social life. I won’t go as far as to say that we need more of it, but we should cultivate it. Worry is important; we should get it right.

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