Mike the Psych's Blog

What if psychologists ruled the world? In real life?


Happiness means different things around the world.

In Helen Russell’s new book “The Atlas of Happiness, the global secretes of how to be happyshe describes the way different countries see happiness and contentment.

It seems the Danes haven’t got the monopoly on this subject.

  • In China it’s about finding your meaning in life or “xingfu” – the state of being happy in the sense of living a meaningful life – not just being happy in the short term.
  • In Costa Rica it’s about staying positive and socialising. “pura vida” means the pure life and is about staying optimistic and happy in the face of adversity. It involves good food, good company – especially family, good weather, and the time to enjoy those things.
  • In Japan it’s about embracing the perfectly imperfect or “wabi-sabu” or simplicity and the beauty of age and wear. An appreciation of the things the way they are and revelling in imperfections in real life.
  • In Denmark, apart from the concept of “hygge“, they also have the idea of”arbejdsglaede” or happiness at work. Working long hours is a no-no (they work 33 hours a week on average) and regular breaks  for coffee and cinnamon buns de rigeur.
  • In India the idea is to focus on solutions not the problem. “jugaad” means frugal innovation, life hacks and a commitment to get things done all in order to get a positive outcome.
  • In Finland it’s “kalsarikannit” or getting “pants drunk”. Sitting in your well-insulated house in your underpants watching TV and getting drunk. I was told in Finland that they have a drink problem but this is elevating it to a different level and there is even an emoji for it.

I can’t wait to read the rest of the book!

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Poynton High School and misplaced ideals!

And here’s a charity that didn’t begin at home, more’s the pity given the outcome.

Kindadukish's Blog - I am not a number, I am a free man (The Prisoner)

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A group of students have been sent back to the UK after Indian officials said they had the wrong kind of visa to visit a charity they were supporting. The 16 students and three staff were refused entry at Chennai Airport by immigration staff even though the school had made three previous visits.

Poynton High School head teacher David Waugh said the school and local community was “shocked and saddened”.The school said airport officials claimed the group had no rights to enter the country on their visa because they were going to be undertaking work with a non-governmental organisation.

The group had to return home with the toys and other items it was taking to the children in India.

Mr Waugh said: “They were going to play with the children they have helped and paint a mural. “The staff and students are in a state of tired shock having travelled for 48…

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LIGHT IT WITH FLOWERS

Enchanted Forests

Diwali or The Festival of Lights is a festival of Love, Joy & Sharing. Darkness is dispelled as Light enters every corner of our being, dispelling all negativity.

For many readers who are not aware of this Indian Festival, it is similar to Christmas or the Chinese New Year and accompanied with a lot of Lights, Gifts and Delicious Food.

As a departure from the years gone by we celebrated it with  “Flowers” and Lit up our home with potted flowers.( all the Marigoldsor Gaindas were potted and we avoided using cut flowers)

The terrace garden attached to the living room at home has two new floral members in Red this Diwali.

2 in red.jpg Celebrating with New Plants in Red

Poinsettia ( Scientific name is Euphorbia pulcherrima ) in the picture above is associated with Christmas Decorations and adds colour to our Home in New Delhi…

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Pity that Indian society does not favour women in most other walks of life………witness the recent rapes of female students.

Kindadukish's Blog - I am not a number, I am a free man (The Prisoner)

Indian airline GoAir to hire female-only cabin crew in bid to cut fuel bill

Low-cost airline says move could save £330,000 a year because women are 20kg lighter on average than men

Cabin crew outside Delhi airport
Cabin crew outside Delhi airport, India. Photograph: Adnan Abidi/Reuters
Budget airlines are constantly on the lookout for ways to cut their fuel bills and India’s GoAir is no different.Its latest idea is to hire female-only cabin crew, refusing applications from their heavier male counterparts in a bid to limit fuel burn.The low-cost airline has calculated that the move will save up to 30m rupees (£330,000) a year, because women 20kg lighter on average.
 
Around 130, or 40%, of GoAir’s existing crew members are male, and they will keep their jobs. But men will miss out in the future, as the airline presses ahead with ambitious expansion plans for 80 new aircraft by 2020 and around 2,000 cabin…

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Urban knitting – looking after trees

We might not be doing a good job here in the UK protecting our ash trees but over in Lithuania they are doing their bit for trees in general.

In the capital city of Vilnius, which is generously endowed with trees, the locals have been showing their love for them.

This is not about tree hugging but knitting a woollen tree covering.

I’m not sure where the idea came from but it certainly brightens up the city.

And while it’s clearly just a decorative and artistic initiative in Lithuania in India tree decoration has a more serious purpose.

100 folk artists are painting scenes from Hindu epics onto trees to save the environment. They hope that the deeply religious community will hesitate to cut down the trees to avoid incurring the wrath of the deities painted on them.

Trees are scarce in the district of Behar due to population pressures – it is India’s second most populous state and one of its poorest. The artists work for free as there is no official funding and plan to paint around 1,000 trees to save them from the loggers’ chainsaws.

In the UK a community in Leicester is using “yarn bombing” to make the area seem safer. Woollen pom-poms have been strung from trees and tree warmers knitted by a guerilla knitting group.

Residents’ reactions are mixed and some are unconvinced it will deter crime preferring better street lighting.DSC_0085

The trend seems to be spreading in the UK. A friend of mine spotted these trees trying to keep warm in Upper Mill near Oldham recently.


From Bombay to Burnley

Santander recently announced that the call centres set up in Mumbai (formerly Bombay) by building societies, which are now part of Santander, were all closed down on July 1 and since then all their call centres have been in the UK, in Glasgow, Leicester, and Liverpool.

This is in response to Santander consistently being rated the worst bank for customer service. It is now ranked second worst after Barclays (which still has one call centre in India).

Indian call centres are a source of frustration to UK callers. Sometimes you can’t understand the accent and their adoption of English names, presumably to make you believe you are speaking to someone in England, is farcical. Also as problems have become more complex scripted responses don’t work so well.

The reasons for returning to the UK may not be totally altruistic as labour turnover has increased amongst the graduates who work in Indian call centres and wage costs have risen. Competition from the Philippines has also reduced India’s market share which has grown significantly in recent years.

Santander weren’t the first to make this decision. A lancashire telecom company, New Call Telecom, earlier announced that they were setting up a call centre in Burnley rather than in Mumbai. They said that staff in lancashire were hard-working and loyal and customers preferred dealing with people in this country.

Some banks such as the RBS, including NatWest, have always had UK call centres. NatWest however seems determined to force people to use automatic paying-in machines. The branch in Burnley closed down two cashier positions over a weekend earlier this year and rebuilt the wall so you couldn’t tell they were ever there.

This means the queues are getting even longer yet they have staff walking around asking if you want to pay in automatically despite customer complaints that they want to deal with a person. And how annoying is it when, after you have actually got a cashier to deal with your task, they ask if there is anything else they can do for you?

I’ve suggested they might wash my car or carry my shopping but to no avail. Now if I said I wanted to buy an insurance policy or see a financial advisor I bet I’d get a cup of coffee!

And I found out today that Santander only does business banking with automatic paying-in. So give them credit for the call centres but not for their automation – which means fewer jobs in the long run.