Should we accept Aquariums?

Okay, we all know, even if we don’t accept it, that aquariums are where the cool kids hang out, and where all the gossip starts. At least, that’s what three-year-olds think. For a child’s birthday or for a treat they could take out some of their friends or just go to an aquarium, and enjoy watching all the wonders that it holds. But would they fully appreciate and understand the conditions that the animals kept there are in? The animals in zoos and aquariums are well-treated and protected from harsh environments where they could otherwise be eaten or die through natural hardships, but without the experience of this, they could feel out of place in a confined room with only a fake environment surrounding them, although they would probably not know this so much as see this, through constantly watching larger beings going by through the glass.

Fish are put into large tanks, where they can swim about, and are fed at regular intervals, but are constantly disturbed by children rapping on the glass and staring in at them. Is this fair, to take away an animal’s peace and isolation for our own benefit and enjoyment? Some would argue that this is not right, to take away an animal’s natural environment, and to alter them so that they are displayable as if this were their natural habitat. Sceptics to the rights that ‘lesser beings’ could have could say that for the fish it doesn’t matter either way, so long as they simply exist, as humans could be seen as higher beings than the fish.

The companies that run aquariums and establishments of these sorts say that they are doing it for the welfare of the fish, and for scientific research and preservation, but they could also be doing this simply for the profit. Although there are many establishments that hold fish for charity, others could just for the sake of people paying to go through.

On the other hand, it is possible that people could see fish as being generally healthier on regular meals and scheduled clean water changes, as all of these contribute to the animal’s life. There are also no predators, so it is arguable that the fish could be in a better position in an aquarium than what they would have been out in the wild.

Personally, I think that fish should not be kept in aquariums as such, but that there could be some sort of system that enables people to watch the fish in their natural habitat, as it provides the feeling that no animals are being deprived of their instincts or homes, and it is also beneficial for the fish if they are checked-on every-so-often by the workers and naturalists that work there to study the fish in their real habitat.

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?”

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.





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, 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?”

Why do we procrastinate?

To tell you the truth, I may or may not be considered a procrastinator, but occasionally – usually when the big essay comes around – I submit to its power. I dread the days when a big homework is set over a long period of time, such as an English essay due in after the holidays, because this means that the rational thing to do is to sit down and do the essay at a reasonable pace, spreading out the work over the time set or even better doing it on the day it was set. Unfortunately, this rarely happens for me and I am often anywhere but at my desk and when I finally sit down, I get stuck in ‘research’.

Continue reading “Why do we procrastinate?”