A New Chapter

After completely neglecting my blog over the last few months, I have finally found time to write. I have now started a new chapter in my life and it is extremely exciting;

1) I have finished University

2) Achieved a 2:1 in my degree

3) Moved house and country (England to Wales)

4) Started a full-time job

All of this has happened very fast but I couldn’t be happier! University was three years of hard work and lots of tears but it was 100% worth it for the feeling when I opened that scary email and discovered my degree classification. It seems strange that those three years are now all over, but I am so proud that I stuck it out (it was somewhat touch and go at times). What made it much harder was that I was packing and partially moving to a house 100+ miles away from my family home while studying and sitting my finals exams (warning; do not try this at home!).

The move is also huge for me as I have moved from the city to a small seaside town that are worlds apart. As I write this now, I can hear seagulls and the sea! The change from traffic and city noise to quiet hills and beaches feels great. I am definitely hoping it will be productive inspiration for my writing – especially now that I can read and write for pleasure, rather than for my dissertations.

Time-management is definitely proving difficult though as I am working full-time nights currently. I am determined to change this laziness though and get writing again. I enjoy it too much!

So, for now, this is a little update to not only explain my absence from blogging but to also, hopefully, promise more to come. You will be pleased to know that the posts in the future will be a little bit more exciting and less about me!

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Neglecting My Blogging

I will be posting soon, I promise. My blogging has definitely been neglected and that is not something that I wanted to happen. Unfortunately, the joys of third year finals exams have fully consumed all of my free time.

There is light at the end of the tunnel though. My final ever exam is at midday on Thursday and from then there are new and exciting things to announce as I start a new chapter of my life.

So watch this space! I have lots of ideas to be getting on with, so hopefully this blog will be quite busy come this time next month. Till then, wish me luck! I’m thoroughly searching high and low to find the final push of motivation. 4 days has never felt so far away!

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This & that

So, I’ve not really wrote poetry in years, and it’s certainly not one of my strong points, but I just woke up in the mood I guess. It’s certainly a very different direction than my usual posts. Here is a little something. Please be gentle!

Cigarette kisses and poison touches

bitter, regretful

let me feel your teeth

like pen-lid mutilations

blood-let, soul-purged

mundane

who would want more than this?

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Reasons for Dressing-Up Every Day

Here is an article that I have recently written for Keele University’s Concourse magazine. This was published both in print and online and I am so grateful to them for displaying my work! I hope you like it.

Reasons for Dressing-Up Every Day

You’re getting up for Uni and you’ve got some spare time before you need to leave the house. Do you throw on that baggy hoodie that has been in your wardrobe for practically a millennium or should you wear that cute blazer – the one you’ve bought but never had the occasion to wear? The answer; always go for the blazer! Here are 6 reasons to dress up for the day, rather than dressing down;

1. It’s fun! You get to wear the clothes that you want, different colours, textures and style you should just have fun with it! Everyone has their few fashion mishaps now and then (I know I have) but do you know what? It’s still fun and you get to just laugh it off with your friends.

2. It promotes body confidence. If you are hiding behind that baggy jumper or old pair of jeans then you don’t get to show off your beautiful shape! Confidence is attractive and clothes can make you feel confident. If you’re nervous about a seminar presentation or a job interview, then a great outfit will keep your head high and make you feel so much more enthusiastic to seize the day.

3. It’s cheap. We all do it, you’re sitting in your room, you’re bored, and you can’t even remember how many times you have pressed refresh on the same internet page. Why not buy some cheap clothing dye or a pack of buttons? Everyone has loads of old clothes that they never think they’ll wear again so get designing. It’s a great hobby to have in your spare time and you can show off your one off piece around uni the next day. Everyone will be jealous that they can’t buy one in the shops.

4. You are only young once. When you’re older and you are looking back through your photo album at that ‘young face and awesome body’ that you had then what better way of making the future you proud?! Show it off, if you love sequins than you wear those sequins. The only reason people will be staring is to admire or because they are wishing they’d dressed up as well.

5. Because that gorgeous skirt cost you way too much money to only be worn on special occasions. When buying items, always consider the age-old rule of cost per wear. If a skirt costs you £30 then you need to wear it at least 30 times. A bold patterned pencil skirt will look fabulous on a night-out with heels and a flowing blouse. However, that bold skirt will still be a show-stopper on your way to the lecture theatre with a cool pair of trainers and a t-shirt.

6. Finally, do it for fashion. Get dressing up and get taking those selfies. Just remember, it would be a crime to keep those outfits to yourself, so get on Instagram and get them out there. Always with #concoursefashion

This article and more can be found at;

http://www.concourseonline.com/

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My Own Motivational Monologue

Comfort Zone Quote

“Great things never came from comfort zones”

This quote is going to get me through this semester as motivation is something that I am completely lacking. Third year struggles are real! I never believed it, but now it is starting to kick in hard.

This between stage is by far the most terrible. Graduation is in sight but being free seems so far away. On top of that are those dreaded deadlines; they are close enough to be terrifying but far enough away to not offer enough motivation to be working every hour of every day. My final semester of my undergraduate begins tomorrow and that is what is so scary. Two dissertations are again put on the back-burner in order to keep up with the other semester’s modules that also have to be completed and I know I am not the only one feeling this way. All students get to this stage.

This is why I am writing this blog post. I’m hoping not to hit a wall or a writing block, but that is inevitably going to happen at some point (probably when I least need it to happen). However, my blog helps me to focus on something else and reduces the stress from the situation. It is my little space where I can get my feelings out and it really does help in breaking down that wall.

A good friend of my once helped me out when I was having a dissertation breakdown (one of many). She said that we are so focused on the larger, singular goal that we forget that we need to focus on all the smaller goals and steps that will get us to the finish line. This is crucial when offered with, what feels like, a gigantic task ahead.

Whether people read this blog or not, I hope to relax just one student when they are thinking of packing it all in and threatening failure. Remember, this is a DEGREE! Yes, it was going to be hard work, but take it one stage at a time. We are only human. If it was too easy then it wouldn’t be character building, and it certainly won’t feel as much of an achievement on that graduation day in July.

Chin up and march forward.

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Staying Focussed

My blogging has definitely been put on the back-burner as of late. Third year at uni is now rapidly taking over my life and,with two dissertations to write as well as my usual modules, it can get pretty stressful. However, this has got to change!

I am not one for “new year, new me” and so this blog post has probably come at a bad time! Instead, this is more a reflection for me to stop procrastinating an to begin pursuing my hobbies once more. There is only so much Uni work one can complete every day and sometimes I need a break. My issue has been laziness! Rather than trawling social networking sites and refreshing the page on numerous occasions, I could be writing – something I enjoy much more than seeing what someone has had for dinner! Instead, I am going to set myself some targets to complete alongside my Uni work;

1) start blogging more (even if it’s just something reflective like this piece to keep me on track). It doesn’t take too much time and it helps me to see where I need to go.

2) keep writing articles! I love writing for Keele’s Concourse and I also want to write another article for the BPS. Researching topics of interest is also going to be far more useful than checking out the latest hastag trends on Twitter!

3) write a history article. History is my first passion, yet (apart from my work at Englesea Brook Museum) it is the only subject that I have never tried to enter any competitions for and I don’t really know why! I’m a bit scared of the rejection, but what have I really got to lose? It could offer me a real learning curve.

4) get to gym. Yes, I know, so “2015” cliche but it actually relaxes me and helps me unwind after I’ve hit that oh too common mental block when writing.

For now, these are my targets. I am going to grab third year by the balls (pardon the expression) and knuckle down! Wish me luck!

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“I was just wondering if you’d like to accompany me to the cinema?”

Here is an article that I began writing when I was in the first year of University in 2012. I never liked it and never revisited it until this summer. That’s when I edited outside and sent it to the British Psychological Society but thought nothing of it. I then received an email from the BPS saying that they would like to feature my work in their magazine ‘Psych-Talk’. This month, I received my monthly copy of ‘The Psychologist’ and ‘Psych-Talk’ and found that my article was featured on the front cover and my article was the centre-fold piece! I am so happy with this – it is definitely my proudest work to date! 

As the first date anxieties begin to manifest, the details of what film to watch should be the easiest decision. A light-hearted and uplifting film seems the most obvious choice but psychologists may prove this decision completely wrong.

You’ve found yourself stressed out, embarrassed and frequently thinking about calling the whole thing off since asking your beau out on a first date. Then you get told that your choice of film isn’t right for the situation. On a first date it can be expected that many people would initially choose a film that falls into the genre of romance or comedy to spark a love-connection. However, psychologists would argue that this would be the wrong choice. The idea has been put forward that horror films can produce a more substantial, lasting connection than comedy or other genres. The psychology of horror films tend to focus on the negatives, such as: anxiety; insomnia; fear. But let’s focus on the benefits of horror films on a first date and why other, more common, romantic options are not as effective. So throw away those rom-com cinema tickets and let psychology persuade you to replace them with horror tickets.

While watching a horror film, an individual’s senses are heightened. From this, you can make the best impression and be a memorable date for your love-interest. It has been recorded that by placing an individual in a situation that elevates their alertness, an event such as watching a horror movie, the individual is subject to an increase in the release of dopamine in the brain causing the proposed arousal. Films are a form of entertainment therefore it is the enjoyment of fear which stimulates arousal (Oliver & Sanders, 2004). Findings indicate that when fear is caused by an existing environmental factor then this can trigger romantic attraction; due to the surge of arousal leading to a hormonal imbalance. Looking at it this way, the odds are in favour of the horror film for first date success.

Need more convincing before you brave the cinema? There are other benefits to watching a horror movie, including the physical contact that it encourages. The powerful shock factor that is paramount in any good horror causes our bodies to ‘jump’ resulting in a twitch or grip on the closest object to us – your potential partner. Horrors also amplify the gender-stereotypes in us all and are memorable films due to the heightened sensations. Horror films are, by large, more appealing to men than to women but in a mixed relationship can cause the man to act fearless in order to fill his gender-role whereas a woman will appear more scared or vulnerable (Mundorf, Weaver & Zillmann, 1989). This promotes the age old attraction of the strong male protecting his female which in some ways can still dominate our base emotions, such as attraction. Also, what better way to shield your eyes from the onset of blood, violence and gore than into your dates shoulder or jacket? This physical contact can lead to the build-up of a romantic connection and could ensure that crucial second date.

Fear cannot only cause alertness by arousal but also sexual arousal as fear can act as an aphrodisiac. Fear leaves the body sensitive to any new stimulus in its peripheries due to the heightened levels of dopamine which causes the intensification of our senses such as; touch, taste and sight. All this can lead to a more sexual mood whereby you and your date will be much more aware of each other. Furthermore, horror films are the most physiological of all the genres apart from pornography (Badley, 1995). Therefore, even the film asks the audience to concentrate on the body and its form which in itself becomes a sexual reference that your potential suitor will be unable to ignore.

Conclusively, due to the visual stimulation on screen, horror films produce a combination of strong emotions within an individual. This genre works hard in its attempt to manufacture heightened sensations of fear and suspense. These emotions lead to increased sexual arousal on top of the stimulation caused by the already common pornographic nature of horror films. All these factors intensify the pliability of the viewer which will prove perfect on your first cinematic date. Take a chance on the psychology surrounding your first loving interaction with a potential partner and choose horror – just don’t get too scared.

By Lauren Haines

References;

Mundorf, N, Weaver, J & Zillmann, D, (1989), Effects of Gender Roles and Self Perceptions on Affective Reactions to Horror Films, Sex Roles, 20 (11-12), pp. 655 – 673

Badley, L, Film, Horror, and the Body Fantastic, Greenwood Publishing Group Inc, Westport (1995) pp. 1 – 203

Oliver, M, B. & Sanders, M, (2004), The Appeal of Horror and Suspense, Ed. Price, S, The Horror Film, Rutgers University Press, pp. 242 – 249

This article can be found in Psych-Talk, Psychology for Students by Students, (Jan 2015), The British Psychological Society, Issue 80, pp. 12-13

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