Mike the Psych's Blog

What if psychologists ruled the world? In real life?


Brexit makes us happier – official!

Yes, despite all the remoaners and the continued onslaught on Brexiteers by the BBC and others, official government figures from the ONS show that on three key measures we are happier than before the referendum!

Ipsos Mori asked three key questions as part of the ONS household personal well-being survey: How happy are you? How satisfied are you with life? and How worthwhile do you feel?

Not only did people score higher on all three but there was a 4% increase in people who felt very happy. And this despite the political uncertainty and terrorist attacks in Manchester and London. Shows how resilient we are.

There was however an increase in scores of anxiety and the results only apply to England. The Scots showed no change in their scores. Hard to please up there.

The researchers also asked if people thought they would be better off leaving the EU. Last October 26% said to would make no difference. In March that figure rose to 40%. The ONS thinks people are becoming more relaxed about Brexit.

Academic “remoaners” and the BBC take note!

Local data: In Burnley, Lancashire, they are happier than the national average and 10% happier than last year. Check out your own local scores here.

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I’m not happy. Something’s knocking years off our lives

red_arrow_down_crash_1600_wht_2751Bad news for silver surfers this week. For the first time since 1981 there has been a fall in the number of healthy years we can expect as we get older.

According to the ONS the apparently inexorable increase in our healthy longevity has suddenly reversed.

Why? Well the experts blame obesity, heavy drinking plus failings in health care.

Taking the length of time people over 65 can remain healthy the number of years has dropped from 11.2 to 10.9 for women and from10.6 to 10.3 years for men.

And for babies born today they can expect to live longer but they may not stay healthy for as many years as previously, down from 64.1 year to 63.2 years for a girl and from 63.9 years to 63.3 years for a boy.

The sad news is that a girl born in the last couple of years may live to the ripe old age of 83 but will spend the last 20 years of her life with a disability or long-term illness.

The charity Age UK admits the figures are worrying as we all want to live as well as we can for as long as we can. They say “We can’t afford to ignore any signs that health in later life may be getting worse rather than improving …. we need to ask serious questions about why people are not thriving as well as they could or should in older age”

Rudi Westendorp, professor of old age medicine at the University of Copenhagen thinks earlier diagnosis means people have long-term conditions diagnosed earlier. “(Although) disease-free life expectancy is going down it shows we are on the ball and can prevent further mishaps”

Baroness Greengross, CEO of the International Longevity Centre. said may elderly people were learning to live rewarding lives while managing long-term conditions. “The exception is dementia which is the modern equivalent of the plague in the middle ages. That is our greatest challenge”.

So it’s partly up to us to stay healthy by looking after ourselves, our genes notwithstanding. Where did I put that glass of red wine?


Top names for children in 2015

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Child_YawningIt seems 20% of parents regret the name they have given their child. According to Mumsnet because it’s too common.

Not sure whether as in too many other kids with same name or just not posh enough.

Anyway the Office of National statistics has revealed its latest list of the most popular names. Bear in mind that it treats variations in spelling as a different name otherwise Mohammed and its variations would be the top boys’ name.

So the most popular boys’ name for the third year running is Oliver. Noah has surged into the top 10, presumably because of various actors and fictional characters rather than a biblical influence as its been the most popular name in America for the last 3 years.

Names like Mason and Logan are in the top 50 while Teddy, Jason, and Roman are the highest climbers.

P1000490There is a bit of a comeback trend…

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London – love it or hate it

P1000602 - Version 2First the good news: London is apparently the world’s best city in which to work.

In a poll of almost 200,000 people in nearly 200 countries, one in six people said they would like to work there. And the UK as a whole came second to the USA although no other city in UK came in the top 40 world-wide .

Brits aren’t as keen to work abroad as other nationalities – only 40% of us compared to 2/3 from other countries according to the Boston Consulting Group and TotalJobs recruitment website. Those who do prefer the US, Canada, Germany, Australia and France. The UK attracts workers from Portugal, Israel, Barbados, Romania and Jamaica.

The international director at TotalJobs said “This report cements London’s position as a truly global city. Not only does it offer a wealth of job opportunities min a range of industries but it boasts some of the world’s top cultural attractions so it’s no surprise that people across the globe want to come and work here.”

London is the only city in Britain to enjoy such popularity based on its high salary prospects, cultural diversity and the finance industry. In America seven cities vied for job attractiveness.

The other 9 cities in the top 10 are (in descending order):

  • New York
  • Paris
  • Sydney
  • Madrid
  • Berlin
  • Barcelona
  • Toronto
  • Singapore
  • Rome

Secondly the bad news. While London may be a magnet for jobseekers from around the world people who live there report the highest levels of unhappiness, dissatisfaction with life, and anxiety than almost everywhere else in Britain.

The nation as a whole feels happier in 2014 than at any time since 2011, thanks largely to the improving economy, with those in the SouthEast, east Midlands, and the NorthEast of England registering the highest levels of life satisfaction.

Although scores have improved Londoners still score lower on every measure. Only 1 in 3 of them said they rarely felt anxious or stressed compared to half the population elsewhere in the country.

The London boroughs of Lambeth and Barking & Dagenham are in the “misery” top five while Hackney has the highest levels of anxiety.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) says its research suggests there are drawbacks to living in the capital despite its economic success.

The statisticians point out that population density is a negative factor and the age profile influences the findings with middle-aged adults with children feeling unhappier than younger people.

They also point out that the increase in well-being scores in London may be influenced by expectations of future events as the economic benefits have not yet filtered down into pay packets.


Brits are among the loneliest people in EU

ulearn2bu

Only Germans are less friendly with their neighbours.

sitting_on_curb_holding_sign_12927It seems we’re unlikely to know our neighbours and will probably have to fend for ourselves in a crisis.

Only 58% of Brits feel connected to people in their neighbourhood.

Cyprus and Romania topped the table in a survey of the 28 EU countries.

The UK came 3rd from bottom when asked if they had a close friend to turn to in a personal crisis – only 1 in 8 people could say yes. Only the French and the Danes have fewer reliable friends. Eastern Europeans, Spaniards and Greeks have more friends they can rely on with Slovakia and Lithuania topping the table in that respect.

Bottom 5 overall

  • Germany 58%
  • UK 58.4%
  • Finland 61.7%
  • Austria 61.9%
  • Italy 64,4%

Top 5 overall

  • Cyprus 80.8%
  • Romania 79.9%
  • Croatia 78.8%
  • Latvia 78.5%
  • Spain 78.2%

Britain’s position is curious given that we participate far…

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