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Why UberPool is Awesome

Why UberPool is Awesome

UberPool is not only changing the way we travel through reduced fares, pollution and carbon but changing the way we connect, by matching us with strangers! It is also providing us with an amazing opportunity to get social and increase our feelings of wellbeing in many ways. Why is this important? Studies show that we have lost our ultrasociality – a source of happiness in humans. Chronic loneliness afflicts one in three Americans and takes a severe toll on health. So here are my five reasons why we should make the most of UberPool, because it is awesome.

1. Small talk is good for us.

By opening up and chatting with our fellow rider/s we can boost our feelings of wellbeing! Even micro moments of positive interaction promote positive health benefts.

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2. A short casual conversation, with a stranger, where we play the “interested inquirer” gives us a chance to cultivate curiosity.

Curiosity is good for us too. It grows our empathy and makes us more open to others who we perceive as different from us. Happiness guru Martin Seligman identifies it as a key character strength that can enhance life satisfaction.

3. Humans are hard wired to be pro social.

Helping others brings the same pleasure we get from the gratification of personal desire. So when you ask your fellow rider for a little advice about, say, the best local restaurant, not only could you find out where the finest steak in town is served, which will increase your happiness if you go there and eat it, you will also increase their happiness as well.

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4. It is likely that some people you come across will become part of your wide ranging social network.

Research suggests that job seekers who have wide-ranging weak ties are actually more likely to be successful in their search than those who have stronger close relationships. So you could find yourself in your dream job! How great for your wellbeing is that!

5. Increasing our personal networks with weaker ties also gives us a broader range of social roles, which increases our feelings of self worth and lowers stress and anxiety levels.

What we need to know is do most fellow riders really feel like connecting? My answer is yes. Both extroverts and introverts get a boost out of interacting with people, even if it is not known yet whether a simple interaction, such as in a cab, provides just as powerful a boost as speaking with a friend.

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However, before you launch into conversation you might want to remember a few basic things, just in case. When is it cool to interact and when is it annoying? The key to success here is the ability to read body language.

So when should you interact with someone? When their body is relaxed and open, they are turned towards you, they smile a lot, mirror you a little, make eye contact and their language flows. Notice also if they are listening and asking relevant questions.

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And when should you not interact with someone? Well, that’s easy to figure out, they will be the opposite of the above. Their body will be tense, closed and turned away, very little or no eye contact will be made, their voice will be flat and monotone and they will speak in clipped sentences.

Obviously not all interactions are going to be positive, we all have bad days. It is important not to take offence. Who knows what goes on in another’s life. They could simply be somewhere else due to everyday stress. If only they knew that by connecting with others they could feel a whole lot better

Featured photo credit: bfishadow via flickr.com

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Last Updated on October 23, 2018

Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally

Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally

My mother was a great knitter and produced some wonderful garments such as Aran sweaters which were extremely fashionable when I was young. She also knitted while my father drove, which caused great amusement. I often wondered why she did that but I think I know the answer now.

Knitting is good for your mental health, according to some research studies. The Washington Post mentions a 2013 survey of about 3,500 knitters who were asked how they felt after a knitting session. Over 80% of them said they definitely felt happier. It is not a totally female occupation as more and more men take it up to get the same benefits. Harry Styles (One Direction) enjoys knitting. So does Russell Crowe although he does it to help him with anger management!

The Neural Knitwork Project

In Australia, Neural Knitworks was started to encourage people to knit and also become aware of neuroscience and mental health issues. Knit-ins were organized but garments were not the only things created. The knitters produced handmade neurons (1,665 of them!) to make a giant brain. The 2015 project will make more neural knitted networks (neural knitworks) and they will be visible online. You can see some more examples of woolly neurons on the Neural Knitworks Facebook page.

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While people knitted, crocheted and crafted yarn, they listened to experts talking about mental health issues such as addiction, dementia, depression, and how neurons work.

The knitting and neural connection

The human brain has about 80 billion neurons. Learning new skills, social interaction, and physical activity all help to forge neural connections which keep the brain healthy and active. They are creating networks to control movement and make memories. The knitters learn that as they create the woollen neurons, their own neurons are forming new pathways in their brains. Their creations are mimicking the processes in their brains to a certain extent. At the same time, their brains are registering new and interesting information as they learn interesting facts about the brain and how it works. I love the knitworks and networks pun. What a brilliant idea!

More mental health benefits from knitting

Betsan Corkhill is a physiotherapist and has published some results of completed studies on her website, appropriately named Stitchlinks. She conducted some experiments herself and found that knitting was really helpful in reducing panic and anxiety attacks.

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“You are using up an awful lot of brain capacity to perform a coordinated series of movements. The more capacity you take up by being involved in a complex task, the less capacity you have for bad thoughts.”- Betsan Corkhill

Knitters feel happier and in a better mood

Ann Futterman-Collier, Well Being Lab at Northern Arizona University, is very interested in how textile therapy (sewing, knitting, weaving and lace-making) can play an important role in mood repair and in lifting depressive states.

She researched 60 women and divided them into three different groups to do some writing, meditating and work with textiles. She monitored their heartbeat, blood pressure and saliva production. The women in the textiles group had the best results when their mood was assessed afterwards. They were in a better mood and had managed to reduce their negative thoughts better than those in the writing and meditation groups.

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“People who were given the task to make something actually had less of an inflammatory response in the face of a ‘stressor’.” – Dr. Futterman Collier

The dopamine effect on our happiness

Our brains produce a chemical called dopamine. This helps us to feel happy, more motivated, and assists also with focus and concentration. We get a boost of dopamine after sex, food, exercise, sleep, and creative activities.

There are medications to increase dopamine but there are lots of ways we can do it naturally. Textile therapy and crafting are the easiest and cheapest. We can create something and then admire it. In addition, this allows for a little bit of praise and congratulations. Although this is likely not your goal, all these can boost our dopamine and we just feel happier and more fulfilled. These are essential in facing new challenges and coping with disappointment in life.

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“Sometimes, people come up to me when I am knitting and they say things like, “Oh, I wish I could knit, but I’m just not the kind of person who can sit and waste time like that.” How can knitting be wasting time? First, I never just knit; I knit and think, knit and listen, knit and watch. Second, you aren’t wasting time if you get a useful or beautiful object at the end of it.” – Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, At Knit’s End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much.

If you thought knitting and textiles were for old ladies, think again!

Featured photo credit: DSC_0012/Mary-Frances Main via flickr.com

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