|No, Placebo Response Rates Are Not on the Rise
||New research finds that placebo responses are not on the rise in antidepressant trials—a result that suggests the impact of placebo has been exagerated
|Mental Health Care Could Look Really Different Soon (Or Not)
||As one state sits on the precipice of funding healthcare in a completely different way, the number of possibilities for change in the way mental health care is delivered are huge.
|Do You Know What to Say When Someone Has...
||Saying the wrong thing can do more harm than good, but don’t worry! We’ll guide you on how to help. As someone who suffers all too frequently with panic disorder, I can tell you that sometimes, there’s just nothing to do but get through it. … ...
|This Smouldering Regret Is The Most Widespread
||The top 10 regrets people have about their lives.
** Use code "5OFF" for $5 off PsyBlog's new ebook: "The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic" (Valid until 24 Oct 2016) **
|The Agony and The Ecstasy Of Being a Risk Taker
||I wonder if there’s ever going to be a place for people like me. And I’m not talking about autistic people. There are plenty of places for us sperg lords … ...
|Bummed Out with ADHD
||How many times can I go up the stairs without remembering to grab the laundry basket I need to empty the clothes from the dryer? I see something else every … ...
|Today I Love The Importance Of Leftovers
||Today I love the importance of leftovers. I love how they remind us of good friends and good food shared and also to keep the good parts of life in … ...
|An Interview with the Author of “The Heart of...
||Ellen F. Wachtel, Ph.D, JD, is the author of “The Heart of Couple Therapy : Knowing What to Do and How to Do It” and a clinical psychologist in private practice in New York City. Dr. Wachtel is an adjunct faculty member at the Ackerman Institute for the … ...
|What Role Should Leisure Play in Our Lives? and What Counts?
||If we do not reflect on the role of leisure in a life, how are we to regard an unprecedented rise in engagement in leisure activities among young men?
|What Happens When We Shield Kids from Boredom
||From books, arts, and sports classes to iPads and television, many parents do everything in their power to entertain and educate their children. But what would happen if children were just left to be bored from time to time? How would it affect their development?
I began to think about boredom and children when I was researching the influence of television on children’s storytelling in the 1990s. Surprised at the lack of imagination in many of the hundreds of stories I read by 10- to 12-year-old children in five different Norfolk schools, I wondered if this might partly be an effect of TV viewing. Findings of earlier research had revealed that television does indeed reduce children’s imaginative capacities.
For instance, a large-scale study carried out in Canada in the 1980s, as television was gradually being extended across the country, compared children in three communities—one which had four TV channels, one with one channel, and one with none. The researchers studied these communities on two occasions, just before one of the towns obtained television for the first time, and again two years later. The children in the no-TV town scored significantly higher than the others on divergent thinking skills, a measure of imaginativeness. This was until they, too, got TV—when their skills dropped to the same level as that of the other children.
The apparent stifling effect of watching TV on imagination is a concern, as imagination is important. Not only does it enrich personal experience, it is also necessary for empathy—imagining ourselves in someone else’s shoes—and is indispensable in creating change. The significance of boredom here is that children (indeed, adults too) often fall back on television or—these days—a digital device to keep boredom at bay.
Some years after my study, I began to notice certain creative professionals mentioning how important boredom was to their creativity, both in childhood and now. I interviewed some of them. One was writer and actress Meera Syal. She related how she had occupied school holidays staring out of the window at the rural landscape, and doing various things outside her “usual sphere,” like learning to bake cakes with the old lady next door. Boredom also made her write a diary, and it is to this that she attributes her writing career. “It’s very freeing, being creative for no other reason than that you freewheel and fill time,” she said.
Similarly, well-known neuroscientist Susan Greenfield said she had little to do as a child and spent much time drawing and writing stories. These became the precursors of her later work, the scientific study of human behavior. She still chooses paper and pen over a laptop on a plane, and looks forward with relish to these constrained times.
Sporting, musical, and other organized activities can certainly benefit a child’s physical, cognitive, cultural, and social development. But children also need time to themselves—to switch off from the bombardment of the outside world, to daydream, pursue their own thoughts and occupations, and discover personal interests and gifts.
We don’t have to have a particular creative talent or intellectual bent to benefit from boredom. Just letting the mind wander from time to time is important, it seems, for everybody’s mental well-being and functioning. A study has even shown that, if we engage in some low-key, undemanding activity at the same time, the wandering mind is more likely to come up with imaginative ideas and solutions to problems. So it’s good for children to be helped to learn to enjoy just pottering—and not to grow up with the expectation that they should be constantly on the go or entertained.
How to handle a bored child
Parents often feel guilty if children complain of boredom. But it’s actually more constructive to see boredom as an opportunity rather than a deficit. Parents do have a role, but rushing in with ready-made solutions is not helpful. Rather, children need the adults around them to understand that creating their own pastimes requires space, time, and the possibility of making a mess (within limits—and to be cleared up afterwards by the children themselves).
They will need some materials too, but these need not be sophisticated—simple things are often more versatile. We’ve all heard of the toddler ignoring the expensive present and playing with the box it came in instead. For older children, a magnifying glass, some planks of wood, a basket of wool, and so on, might be the start of many happily occupied hours.
But to get the most benefit from times of potential boredom, indeed from life in general, children also need inner resources as well as material ones. Qualities such as curiosity, perseverance, playfulness, interest, and confidence allow them to explore, create, and develop powers of inventiveness, observation, and concentration. These also help them to learn not to be deterred if something doesn’t work the first time, and try again. By encouraging the development of such capacities, parents offer children something of lifelong value.
If a child has run out of ideas, giving them some kind of challenge can prompt them to continue to amuse themselves imaginatively. This could range from asking them to find out what kind of food their toy dinosaurs enjoy in the garden to going off and creating a picture story with some friends and a digital camera.
Most parents would agree that they want to raise self-reliant individuals who can take initiatives and think for themselves. But filling a child’s time for them teaches nothing but dependence on external stimuli, whether material possessions or entertainment. Providing nurturing conditions and trusting children’s natural inclination to engage their minds is far more likely to produce independent, competent children, full of ideas.
In fact, there’s a lesson here for all of us. Switching off, doing nothing, and letting the mind wander can be great for adults, too—we should all try to do more of it.
This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.
|6 Questions that Can Strengthen Your Inner Will
||When 39-year-old Uzeyer Novruzov fell off his 18-foot ladder during the semi-finals of America’s Got Talent, my heart stopped. The balancing stunt once landed him in a coma for three days, but that apparently has not stopped the circus performer from attempting it over and … ...
|Who Is Judged More Harshly: Single Women or Single...
||People are put down for being single. We know this not just from our own personal experiences and observations but from numerous scientific studies showing that single people are indeed … ...
|APA Survey Reveals 2016 Presidential Election Source of Significant Stress for More Than Half of Americans
||Preview of data from upcoming Stress in America™ poll shows election is equally stressful for Republicans and Democrats
|How to Reduce Anxiety Using HeartMath
||“Our body doesn’t make a moral judgment about our feelings; it just responds accordingly.” Doc Childre and Howard Martin in their book The HeartMath Solution. In addition to simply being … ...
|5 Unhealthy Ways of Managing Anger
||Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could feel perfectly happy every moment of your life? But there’s a word for animals that cannot feel anger, fear, and pain—extinct. Emotions have … ...
|Antidepressants during pregnancy associated with childhood language disorders
||Mothers who purchased antidepressants at least twice during pregnancy had a 37-percent increased risk of speech and/or language disorders among their offspring compared to mothers with depression and other psychiatric disorders who were not treated with antidepressants, according to new research. Results by scientists at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and Columbia University [...]
|Framing spatial tasks as social eliminates gender differences
||Women underperform on spatial tests when they don’t expect to do as well as men, but framing the tests as social tasks eliminates the gender gap in performance, according to new findings published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. The results show that women performed just as well as their [...]
|People with autism more likely to ‘follow their heads and not their hearts’
||Scientists at King’s College London have shown why people with autism are more logical in their decision-making and less susceptible to the so-called ‘Framing Effect’compared to people who do not have the disorder. The ‘Framing Effect’, described by the nobel-prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman in the 1980s, refers to the discovery that decisions are based on [...]
|Republicans embrace conservative label more enthusiastically than Democrats embrace liberal label
||Republicans embrace the conservative label more enthusiastically than Democrats are willing to self-identify as liberals, according to a new study by Jacob Neiheisel, an assistant professor in the University at Buffalo’s Department of Political Science. But if liberal is a dirty word, eschewed by Democrats and sometimes assigned to them by Republicans, how liberal branding [...]
|People with bipolar disorder more than twice as likely to have suffered child adversity
||A University of Manchester study which looked at more than thirty years of research into bipolar, found that people with the disorder are 2.63 times more likely to have suffered emotional, physical or sexual abuse as children than the general population. In the study, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, the researchers identified 19 [...]