What is rest?

Many of us think that rest is unnecessary and even try to make ourselves busier so that we don’t seem lazy. Recent studies, however, show that a person needs 5-6 hours rest a day (not including sleeping) to have the optimum position on the well-being scale.
What is rest and what do people perceive rest to be?

Rest is the act of ceasing work to relax and take a break from the non-stop grind of work to make time for ourselves. This is beneficial as it allows us to concentrate on ourselves and not on other people and in fact most of the activities people do to rest and relax are solitary activities such as reading and baking.

Interestingly, people like to be on their own so they can stop the internal monologue in their head and they see this as “shutting off”. Many people view socialising as more of a chore than a respite from the daily routine and don’t think that it is relaxing. When you are resting, however, your brain is more active as you are not concentrating on anything and this allows your brain to wander and is less fatigued, allowing you to concentrate more when you need to.

In a recent study by Hubbub, who launched the Rest Test with BBC Radio 4, it was found that 68% of participants wanted more rest.

Activities that people do to relax are individual to them; while some might enjoy resting the body and watching tv, 16% of people who took the survey said that they preferred to work out to tire the body out. It was also found that people’s perception of rest played a key role in whether they felt they had received enough rest. Those who felt that they had not had enough rest scored lower on the wellbeing scale; even if they had actually had a specific amount of rest which was seen as appropriate by a doctor.
What was really intriguing was that those who had experienced more than 6 hours rest in a day saw a dip in wellbeing. This has raised questions about doctors prescribing “rest” to a patient as it very much depends on the person’s perspective of rest and how willing they are to find time to rest in the increasingly busy world we live in, how much rest they actually have.

Many people perceive rest to be the opposite of working. Technology today means that it is even more difficult to distinguish between rest and work, with over 1.5 million people in the UK working from home, this suggests that people never really feel as if they are resting and can lead to a burnout. This feeling of utter exhaustion means that all areas of the person’s life are affected and the extreme rest needed to recover, is often difficult to find.

Do we make our own destiny?

Throughout our lives, everything is changing – we grow, the world evolves and time goes on – and often we can feel like nothing is in our control. A person may feel engulfed by the world, as they do not know how to affect the people around them in the short time that we have on this planet. If we are thrown into this environment, can we even have an effect on what happens to us or is it already written in the stars?

Continue reading “Do we make our own destiny?”

Harry Potter and the Continuous Plot

Nine years after the publish of The Deathly Hallows, the final book in the Harry Potter series, author J.K Rowling, released the script of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. The two-part play, written by Jack Thorne, is based on a new narrative by Thorne, Rowling and John Tiffany, following the story of Albus Potter, Harry’s son, 19 years later and his struggle to deal with the burden of his family legacy. The play itself began previews on 7th June at the Palace Theatre in London and officially premiered on 30th July, one day before the script was made available to buy.

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The Continued Struggle of #blacklivesmatter

The past week has been tense for Americans, especially for those of African descent as a result of the fatal shootings of two innocent African American men, who both have been shot by a police officer acting beyond their powers.
The first shooting involved a man named Terence Crutcher (40) shot dead by a white, female police officer last Friday while standing next to his car which had stalled in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Officer Betty Shelby shot and killed Terence and claimed that he did not follow her commands and fired her gun when he reached into his car window. However, her claim was false, as aerial and dash cam footage released showed that Mr Crutcher was indeed following her orders as it shows him walking away from Officer Shelby with his arms in the air and leaning onto his vehicle. During the court case following the incident, Shelby’s lawyer stated that she believed Mr Crutcher was under the influence of the synthetic drug PCP, which in fact was found in the car. However, the police confirmed that no gun was found on Mr Crutcher or in his car and those who have watched the footage can see that the window was in fact closed at the time of the incident. Shelby has now been charged with first degree manslaughter and faces at least four years in jail.
This shooting has not only affected the family and friends of the victim, but has also troubled a man who recently generalised the livelihoods of African Americans: Donald Trump. He stated that the shootings made him feel; “very, very troubled” while speaking to a crowd of black pastors at an Ohio church. However, this statement seems rather controversial from someone who once stereotyped all Africa Americans to a crowd in Virginia as people “living in poverty” who have schools that are “no good” and “have no jobs”. However, Trump publicly supported the family of Crutcher and claimed that he believed firmly that Officer Shelby had handled the situation inappropriately.
The second shooting on the other hand took place on Tuesday and sparked riots, violence and controversy throughout the streets of Charlotte in North Carolina over the death of Keith Lamont Scott who was shot by Officer Brentley Vinson (also of African-American descent) while waiting for his son after school. His family claim that Scott was simply sitting in his car reading a book and that he is disabled due to a T.B.I (traumatic brain injury).A claim that can be heard made on the video of the incident. However, despite the family’s claim that he was holding a book, photos obtained by local reporters show a weapon on the ground that the police claim he was holding. Also police reports state that no books were found, this being the ‘proof’ of innocence that the family have continually made reference to. Furthermore, video footage shows his wife, Rakeyia Scott, near the scene; screaming phrases such as “Don’t shoot him” and “He has no weapon,” while police officials are repeating shouting phrases to Keith like “Don’t shoot” and “Drop the gun!”. His wife continually tries to prevent any shots being fired while telling her husband to exit the vehicle. However, what is unusual is that his wife at one point repeats “Keith, don’t you do it!” suggesting that either Scott was about to cause trouble with the officers and was posing some sort of threat towards them or even that Rakeyia was desperately trying to take control of the incident and calm both parties down, yet unfortunately failed as Scott was fatally shot. “He better live” was continuously repeated by Rakeyia, CPR attempts by police immediately after Keith fell to the floor were unsuccessful. Not only did Rakeyia record the incident, but also Scott’s daughter, Lyric, who arrived at the scene shortly after the incident, stated on Facebook Live that; “The police just shot my daddy four times for being black,” she said. “They tased him first and then shot him!” This trended on social media fuelling the anger of American citizens, and in the end, resulting in protests and uproar across North Carolina.
These protests have sparked radical debates across the whole of America as these shootings add to the simmering racial tensions that exist across the United States over the significant issue of police brutality against African Americans. Because of the lack of gun control in the US, both Scott and Crutcher died and were added to “the long list of African Americans killed by police officers” (Hillary Clinton). Maybe if Scott had no access to a gun in the first place and posed no imminent threat to the police officers, he may still be alive.
The protests have been so severe that it has lead to the Governor of North Carolina issuing a state of emergency which lead to the deployment of the National Guard and State Highway Patrol troopers to assist local police in order to control the riots. This violence also resulted in someone being shot and ultimately was taken to hospital with life threatening injuries and is currently on life-support. Naturally, the police brutality against citizens continued as on Wednesday night, the police began to use teargas to disperse hundreds of protesters.
But who is telling the truth? Was Scott reading or did he actually have a gun? Was he planning to attack the police officials or not?
Until the police have publicly released the footage of the dashboard and police body cameras and any other videos of the scene, no one will really know. Perhaps the gun found near his body was actually Scott’s, or maybe it was not. However, police chief Kerr Putney has refused to release any footage of the incident immediately which caused more outrage across the US.
In the meantime, perhaps this gives Congress more of a reason to control the police force, as over the years, there have been more and more incidents of unfortunate and unjustified cases of police brutality towards African Americans because the people across the US are “tired of nothing getting done” and that “it’s time to be loud!”
The people deserve answers, not brutality, for the sake of the families of the victims and the future African American generation!
#BlackLivesMatter

Jeremy Corbyn and the Future of Democracy

September 24th saw the Labour leadership, for the second time in a year, being handed over to Jeremy Corbyn. After winning 61.8% of the vote, he secured his place once again as labour leader with an even greater mandate than last year. Over half a million people voted in this election, allowing Corbyn to collect 313,209 votes in his favour; 199,980 more than that of his competitor Owen Smith. The process is, of course, wholly democratic; anything less would certainly be rejected within the UK. Although, with our generation never having experienced anything different, are we certain that democracy is in fact the best for our country?

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22 Push-ups to save the world?

What is the 22-Pushup Challenge Really for?

 

A few years on from the Ice bucket Challenge in aid of ALS, a new charity incentive has dominated social media. The 22-pushup challenge, which began in the military to raise awareness and money for PTSD and suicide within the armed forces, and has recently taken Facebook, Instagram and Twitter by storm, involves uploading a video of yourself completing 22 press ups for 22 days. With each day the participant nominates another to start his or her own challenge.

 

A fairly straightforward task, and one that for many allows them to feel satisfied in not only donating, but also doing their own bit for charity. The largest criticism of these online crazes is however, that the true meaning and aim of the initiative is lost. The whole shenanigan becomes a competition between friends – the true sincerity and context becomes diluted, and many do not wind up donating despite their efforts. It is therefore necessary for us to at least attempt to recognize the final destination of our offering, to understand the charity and the people to whom the money will be aiding.

 

Why do servicemen and veterans die by suicide?

 

In Suicide as Psychache, Edwin Shneidman argues that suicide is the result of an intense level of emotional pain that exceeds the individual’s threshold to endure it. Of course, we all experience emotional pain in our lives, but in the case of suicide this emotional pain is both intense and prolonged; combined with the loss of hope, suicide seems like the only way to relieve the pain. But what has the power to cause this extreme level of emotional pain?

 

In Why People Die by Suicide, Thomas Joiner builds on the pain-oriented theories, arguing that intense emotional pain often comes from a perceived lack of belonging or feeling like a burden. Thwarted belongingness is characterized by the statement “I am alone”. This has two aspects: loneliness as the result of feeling disconnected from others, and the absence of reciprocal care. The ‘perceived burdensomeness’ factor is characterized by feeling like a liability to others, as well as a sense of self-loathing. When combined with a sense of hopelessness, thoughts of suicide are a likely result.

 

Having seen what many servicemen (both veterans and active) have witnessed – scenes of violence, brutality and dehumanisation – a large proportion of these servicemen come home to family and friends and are no longer amongst those with similar experiences, and no longer being dragged in by the camaraderie which is fundamental in the close-knit social unit of the armed forces – and many suffering from devastating mental illnesses such as PTSD, detach themselves and become isolated and disconnected in civilian life, often haunted by their experiences. These feelings can be witnessed in a few lines from the book, Memoirs of an Outlaw: Life in the Sandbox:

 

“We had relied on one another to have our backs and would have given our lives to protect the others. We had built a relationship that was stronger than just rank: we were a family, a brotherhood, sewn together by trust, respect, blood, tears, and sweat. Everything we had built together was slowly being torn apart.”

 

It is worth just taking time to think, every time that you watch a video of someone red-faced and exhausted completing their final push up, about the lives of these servicemen and what they have experienced. Don’t let the trends of the media ever take away from the true motive and emotion, which started the movement.

 

 

 

 

‘Captain America: Civil War’ – A battle for the ages

Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War” finds Steve Rogers leading the newly formed team of Avengers in their continued efforts to safeguard humanity. But after another incident involving the Avengers results in collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability, headed by a governing body to oversee and direct the team World leaders demand oversight over Earth’s Mightiest Heroes after the costly and deadly events of the first Avengers. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) is for signing onto the Sokovia Accords, while Captain America (Chris Evans) is very much against it. After a deadly attack is attributed to Cap’s old partner, Bucky “The Winter Soldier” Barnes (Sebastian Stan), Cap goes rogue to locate and protect his oldest friend while Tony Stark and the Avengers who side with him are given a deadline to stop them before less friendly elements are sent after them. Superhero vs. superhero action ensues, as new heroes join the fray and a mysterious nemesis, Helmut Zemo, operates his own shadowy agenda. This new status quo fractures the Avengers, resulting in two camps-one led by Steve Rogers and his desire for the Avengers to remain free to defend humanity without government interference, and the other following Tony Stark’s surprising decision to support government oversight and accountability. Which will win?

The Teams

Team Stark

Iron Man Obviously, Stark is leading his own team against Cap in a battle over superheroes registering with the government. Iron Man thinks heroes should be registered for accountability, while Captain America believes registration is a violation of superheroes’ freedoms. Game on.

Black widow

Probably the most surprising member of Stark’s team, given how closely she’s worked with Rogers in the past, Black Widow appears to have chosen to be more loyal to her employer (the government) than her friend.
War Machine

James Rhodes

If there’s one person you could count on for Stark’s team, it has to be his BFF James Rhodes, who essentially doubles the firepower brought to the team by Stark himself.

Vision

Speaking of firepower, Vision is arguably the most powerful character on either side, so it’s a major coup that Iron Man nabbed him to fight for his already stacked team.
Black Panther

Lastly the new member T’challa

Making his debut in the film is T’Challa, King of Wakanda. He has enhanced physical attributes and a vibranium suit, which means he adds a lot to Team Stark.

Team Cap

Captain America

The ultimate freedom fighter will clearly have his hands full against Iron Man’s ridiculous team, but he has plenty of heroes on his side as well.

Hawkeye

One of the most interesting dynamics will be between him and Black Widow, as the two have long been partners and are also best friends, but now find themselves on opposing sides.

Falcon

Basically Cap’s War Machine equivalent in terms of being best buds, Falcon always has Cap’s back no matter what.

Winter Soldier

If you watched Captain America: Winter Soldier, then you know that Bucky was Cap’s best friend from the ’40s who became a brainwashed supervillain. He gets his memory back in Civil War, and his renewed friendship with Cap, combined with the registration act, is what sets Iron Man and Cap at odds.

Scarlet Witch

The biggest weapon in Cap’s arsenal, he’ll need this Avenger’s hexes against the powerhouses Iron Man’s going to be throwing at him.

Ant-Man

The shrinking hero joins the larger Marvel Universe probably thanks to Falcon, who was looking to make him an Avenger in Ant-Man.

Sharon Carter

This former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent hasn’t been seen in action much yet, but if she’s anything like her great aunt Peggy, AKA Agent Carter, then Cap will be happy to have her on his side.

So that’s how the teams stack up, and while Cap has the numbers, Iron Man definitely has more firepower. Of course, there are still a few questions that haven’t been answered yet. But as it stands now, the way the teams have shaped up makes it look like Captain America: Civil War will definitely feature a battle for the age

Problems at the Paralympics

As much as equality is enforced, the Paralympics have, on too many occasions, fallen second best to the Olympics. Despite this unfortunate reality, the situation at Rio is worse than ever. The Brazilian government hoped to build on the success of London; however the event has only been able to go ahead with a government bailout. The Rio Olympics may have been riddled with problems, but the Paralympics have borne the brunt of Brazil’s mishandling.

Although they have been the most glaring fault this year, finances are only part of the problem. Empty stadiums, limited staff, and lack of transport resources, have meant that this year’s games have been underwhelming for Paralympian’s and spectators alike. With only 12% of tickets being sold by the time of the opening ceremony, the Brazilian government had to go back on their promise of only using private money to supply the $2.3bn needed to fund the event. Slow ticket and sponsorship sales, and the rising costs of staging the games led to the, already cash strapped government, having to provide over $100 million; in an attempt to allow the games to go ahead without cutting any sports or nations.

The Olympic committee aimed to sell 2 million of the 2.5 million tickets available. Yet a week before the games began, less than 290,000 were sold.  In a last ditch attempt to fill the stadiums $3 tickets were made available, but with prices that low, there was no guarantee that spectators would actually attend an event; or if they were using the tickets as a cheap way to see the Olympic park. In an attempt to fill the stadiums the Deodoro Park will only host 3 events, with all of the others being moved to the smaller, suburban Barra de Tijuca Park.

This inability to sell tickets, and therefore produce the funds needed, was made up for by drastic cuts from the Brazil government. These cuts took three main forms: firstly the size of the workforce, then the transport services for athletes and finally in the closure of numerous venues. Philip Craven, president of the international Paralympic committee added that: “These cuts are on top of the ones we, together with the International Olympic Committee, have already made in the last 12 months and are likely to impact nearly every stakeholder attending the Games.” He also said that the “athlete experience” could suffer due to these cuts.

The problem does not just lie with the games itself, however many fear that Paralympic sport in general will suffer badly. The British Paralympic Association says it is “worried” about the situation. In a statement it said “London 2012 proudly showed the world what was possible and we want Rio to be the next stage of that positive journey. The IPC’s announcement makes clear that there is major risk to that.”

Many fear that after the huge successes of Beijing and London, the Rio games could prove a major setback to the Paralympic movement.  Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, who has won 11 Paralympic gold medals said “As much as London was amazing, we really hoped Rio would be another step up. They have successful teams, media sponsorship, but when they bid for the Games they were in a different financial and political position.”

The multitude of problems afflicting this year’s Paralympics and Olympics alike demonstrate that the selection process for the host nation should have more oversight. Making sure that a country is financially prepared for the games, and ensuring that host countries’ issues do not spill over and compromise the athletes’ performance, is vital. One can only hope that the IOC learn from the events of this year, and help return the Olympic Games to what it is capable of being.

Are Dating Sites As Good As They Seem?

What is the first thing that comes into your mind when you hear the names of dating sites such as PlentyOfFish, Match.com or eHarmony? Is it the cupid of the Internet, a merited matchmaking miracle or simply the infamous catfish network that you seek to avoid at all costs? Whatever your prejudice against dating sites, there is certainly more than first meets the eye. Continue reading “Are Dating Sites As Good As They Seem?”

Is it a good idea to lift the ban on new selective schools?

The recent proposal to end the restrictions on the creation of new grammar schools has caused great controversy as Theresa May confirmed that her government will reverse the ban which started in 1998. Many oppose this move, claiming that it will increase inequality in society. But are they right?

Continue reading “Is it a good idea to lift the ban on new selective schools?”