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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Divorce, conscious uncoupling, or graduation?

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graduation_hat_tassel_flip_anim_500_wht_14455A bit tired of your other half? Feel you’ve grown apart? You still love the other person but not enough to be with them all the time?

You don’t want a divorce and if you’re the wrong generation to go the Gwyneth Paltrow route of conscious uncoupling perhaps the trend in Japan might be of interest.

Sotsukon or “graduation from marriage” is a sophisticated way to arrange your life and was proposed in a book by Yumiko Sugiyama back in 2004 –  Sotsukon no Susume or”I recommend graduating“.

It’s for people who still love each other, don’t want the messiness of a divorce, but no longer want to live together all the time.

Once you’ve raised the kids and sent them out into the world your marriage enters a new phase from which you graduate.

In Japan, traditionally the man is the head of the household…

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Cuddle cafes: slap but no tickle

A cuddle or a slap in the face if you prefer!

According to a report in the Times recently there are cafés in Japan where you can pay for the pleasure of a cuddle or a slap but definitely no tickle.

These sleeping together shops” aren’t brothels or massage parlours but places where men pay for the pleasure of lying alongside schoolgirls and chastely hugging them. They’re for men who want to sleep with women without any sex.

It still doesn’t come cheap. A joining fee of £24 then £48 an hour to lie alongside one of a hundred girls, some as young as 16, who will dress up for you if you prefer.

Extras include £8 to pat the women’s head, lie in her arms for 3 minutes. be slapped in the face or be hugged for 5 seconds (as measured by egg-timers). A minute long hug is £80!

The clientele are the so-called herbivores who have given up on carnivorous pursuits like making money and chasing women. They are like castrated metrosexuals.

It sounds a bit dodgy given the current climate in the UK but East is East and some Japanese men seems to have had an interest in schoolgirls for quite a while.


Time Travel, a psychic, or coincidence?

If you read a book about a supposedly unsinkable ocean liner which hit an iceberg in the Atlantic in April and sank with a huge loss of life because there weren’t enough lifeboats – you’d think it was about the Titanic.

Such a book was written by Morgan Robertson in 1898, 14 years before the Titanic’x disastrous maiden voyage.

In his novella“Futility” his ship was called “Titan” and was approximately the same size as the Titanic with similar facilities and sank 400 miles from the coast..

When the real Titanic sank he achieved some fame but never talked about how he got the idea except he had a “spirit” guide.

And if you think that is strange he also wrote a book called “Beyond the Spectrum” in 1914 which described a surprise attack on American naval vessels by Japan.

He also wrote stories which fans believe influenced The Blue Lagoon and Tarzan.

Sadly he never made much money from his writing and was found dead in an hotel room in 1915 aged 53.

FYI You can download “Futility” from free book sites.