Low alcohol wine? You may just neck the whole bottle!

Why low alcohol messages may not be the answer…

Over the last few years a lot of the alcohol research I have been involved in has been looking at helping people make better decisions about their alcohol consumption. Drinking too much has massive implication for society – it contributes to a generally high prevalence of people being overweight (alcohol is highly calorific) and people consuming alcohol takes a toll on society – both in terms of long term health care costs (i.e. people being at increased risk of heart and liver disease) but also in terms of alcohol related violence. Public health campaigns encouraging us to drink responsibly have met with limited success, and it’s not a problem that will go away. One possible way we could be approach this is by making low alcohol wines and beers more widely available – giving people a choice of a less calorific, less intoxicating drink. But would this work? Me and some colleagues from LSBU’s Centre for Addictive Behaviours Research teamed up with Cambridge University’s Behaviour and Health Research Unit to start finding out out…

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Feeling blue? We’re testing a new psychological help app – ‘Tomo’

Help us test the efficacy of Tomo!

If you are currently feeling low / blue and live in London, you may be interested in some research I am involved in. We are currently recruiting people to take part in trial of a new app – ‘Tomo’ which may help improve mood and psychological wellbeing.

Find out more here

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Social connections and social prescribing

The power of social connections and the rise of social prescribing

One way of dealing with stress is to draw on the positive social identities in our lives. A growing body of research suggests that the social connections we have can buffer us from the effects of traumatic events, improve mental health and also let us bounce back from physical ailments more quickly. In the guise of ‘social prescribing’, this idea is also increasingly being used to find ways to replace or compliment medicine.

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Time perspectives and wellbeing

The psychology of time perspectives

Have you ever thought about the psychology of time? Some of us think a lot about future, constantly planning and wondering ‘what if’. Often, we worry about what will happen tomorrow or next week. Others are more focused on the past, replaying and ruminating on the same event over and over. We are always hearing it is good to be ‘in the present’. But what does the study of the psychology of time tell us about all this?

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Humour and stress reduction

Humour and stress reduction

We have all heard that laughter is the best medicine, but how does humour help with stress reduction? Is all humour equal? How do we use it? Read on to find out more…

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The transactional model of stress and coping

The transactional model of stress and coping

One way of improving our relationship with stress is to understand some of the processes which underpin it, and how they influence the ways we try and cope. One way of understanding this is through the transactional model of stress and coping1. The transactional model of stress and coping argues that our experience of stress is ultimately a system of appraisal, response and adaptation.

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The downsides of positive thinking

Positive thinking

We think of positive thinking as a good thing right? Self-improving, make stuff happen, avoid doubt and feeling bad type stuff? An intriguing post I came across this week (retweeted by @amber_saying on twitter) suggests it is not quite so straight forward… Interesting and thought provoking read!

7 Brutal Truths about I learnt after I gave up positive thinking (ideapod blogpost)

 

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Psychological impact of 24/7 lifestyles

24/7 Hustle?

hustle and sleep

Work long hours? Entrepreneur? ‘Sleep is an inconvenience?’ type attitude? Maybe the number of hours you are putting in are holding you back. Hard work is important, but what is the psychology of long hours and what is the psychological effect of a 24/7 lifestyle?

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Facebook Addiction?

Facebook and social networks – pastime or addiction?

mobile-phone-426559_640I am not really a heavy social network user. I have a twitter and Facebook account, and a (slightly outdated) Linkedin account. I mostly use mine to publicise my blog and keep in touch with distant friends. I maybe make about 6 posts a week max. For most, these networks are a great way to bring people together and share views. For others, though, social networks like Facebook can become problematic or even addictive. Can the science of psychology help predict who is at risk?

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What predicts performance differences in two people with equal aptitude and prep?

What predicts performance differences in two people with equal preparation? Challenge!

Deskman

Tests, performance and stress.

We all face tests in our lifetime. As I write, all across the country people are preparing for, or sitting exams. My own students are no exception – I have 180 undergraduates who are busy revising (I hope) for a exam on social psychology next week. There are a lot of things which predict success in such tasks. Some are out of our immediate control – some people simply have an aptitude for exams and some (like me!) find them more difficult. Other things are more within our control – how much you engaged with the course when it was presented, how much extra reading you did and how thorough your revision was. But what predicts the differences between two people of equal aptitude, who have prepared similarly? The ‘edge’ the stronger person have may be less to do with how much they know or how skilled they are, and more to do with how they perceive the situation. I understand this via something called the biopsychosocial model of challenge and threat [BPSM][1]

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