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This page contains links to articles and research about confidence, self esteem, happiness, parenting and lifestyle issues, which you might find of value.

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  • 'If You Can Put Your Mind to it, You Can Accomplish Anything'

    "If you can put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything." A quote from a Star Wars movie. My close friends regard this as "nerd heaven". The place where the science fiction freaks meet. Well I'll admit I'm a huge Star Wars fan and a nerd, but there's more to it. Let me explain.

  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: 20 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Was 30

    When I was thirty, I was living my dream. I’d already accomplished most of what I’d set out to achieve professionally: leading scorer in the NBA, leading rebounder, leading blocker, Most Valuable Player, All-Star. But success can be as blinding as Bill Walton’s finger in the eye when battling for a rebound. I made mistakes. Plenty of them. In fact, sometimes I wish I could climb into a time machine and go back to shake some sense into that thirty-year-old me. If I could, here’s the advice I would give him:

  • You will live longer if you TELL people you're healthy, as positive thinking lengthens life

    Promoting your own wellbeing will help you live longer, say scientists. A study found that participants who described feeling 'very well' had a lower risk of dying compared to those who reported being in a 'very poor' state. Researchers took into account other risk factors affecting life expectancy, including tobacco, chronic diseases, and high blood pressure.

  • A Smile Can Go A Long Way: Indiana Waitress Gets $446 Tip For Her Cheery Attitude

    CeCe Bruce works as a waitress at a Steak N’ Shake in Indianapolis while going to school. Despite having her share of rude or difficult customers, CeCe always tries to keep a smile and a positive attitude. Recently, her hard work and good spirits paid off for her when a regular customer, known as “Miss Jo,” left her a hefty tip – $446 on a $6 bill.

Self Esteem
  • Is fear of failure holding you back?

    Why was it that, while others in your class were happy to study law or go into finance, you wanted to be a popstar? Or maybe you were the rebel: an unruly and disruptive influence the teachers disliked. That said, you could have been the procrastinator -- somehow never getting started -- or the dreamy idler living in an invented parallel universe.

  • Is Social Media a Form of Self-Help or an Enabler of Self-Doubt?

    The 2010s are truly the age of the share, whether Instagramming pictures of your breakfast, Facebooking all your friends about your holiday or tweeting a link to your latest blog. Social media has turned us all into broadcasters, producing special-interest programming on every aspect of our lives and thoughts. We are all our own chat show.

  • More TV, Less Self-Esteem, Except for White Boys

    Children’s self-esteem generally goes down as TV watching goes up. But white boys are the exception, according to a new study published in the journal Communications Research.

    Researchers from Indiana University surveyed close to 400 boys and girls between the ages of 7 and 12, of whom 59 percent were black, and slightly less than half white, to see if there was a correlation between time spent in front of the TV and children’s self-esteem. They tallied the amount of TV watched and had the participants complete an 11-item questionnaire intended to measure overall feelings of self-worth.

Finding Happiness
  • 15 Powerful Things Happy People Do Differently

    What are the differences between happy people and unhappy people? Of course, it should be very obvious: happy people are happy while unhappy people are unhappy, right? Well, that is correct.But, we want to know what happy people do differently, so I have put together a list of things that happy people do differently than unhappy people

  • How Happiness Changes With Age

    Happiness becomes less the high-energy, totally-psyched experience of a teenager partying while his parents are out of town, and more the peaceful, relaxing experience of an overworked mom who's been dreaming of that hot bath all day. The latter isn't less "happy" than the former -- it's a different way of understanding what happiness is.

  • Happiness Model Could Help People Go from Good to Great

    The sayings "variety is the spice of life" and "happiness isn't getting what you want, but wanting what you get" seem to have a psychological basis, according to a new study by an MU psychologist who identified two keys to becoming happier and staying that way

  • The secret to happiness? It's complicated

    The old saw that when it comes to news, misery sells, has never looked so dubious. Happiness is hitting the headlines everywhere. But every time, it seems the story is different. So over recent days, the Mail has screamed in painful ecstasy that "S&M enthusiasts are 'healthier and less neurotic' than those with a tamer sex life", while the Telegraph has reported more soberly that "Marriage makes people happier than six-figure salaries and religion

  • Feeling down? Try a move Down Under: Australia tops happiness league (with UK at No 10)

    With its idyllic beaches and seemingly limitless sunshine, most of us have long known that it is the lucky country. And according to an international league table of happiness, Australia truly does take some beating on its quality of life. It has ranked number one on the OECD’s first such chart – and, somewhat unsurprisingly, well ahead of Britain, which came tenth.

Gender Confidence
  • We need more women speaking on public platforms

    Last week I was watching a highly articulate female economist at the TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh expound on development issues in Africa when the person in the neighbouring seat nudged me. "What do you think of her outfit?" I'd already clocked the fact that the economist was wearing a figure-hugging dress and very high heels, but the question irritated me because people rarely comment on what men wear on public platforms.

  • 30 years since Sally Ride: 10 incredible female firsts

    Women have cleared numerous other barriers since Sally Ride broke free of Earth's orbit. Here's a look at 10 of those individuals and some of their accomplishments:

  • Delusions of Gender: Men's Insecurities May Lead to Sexist Views of Women

    He loves her, he loves her not. A new study led by Joshua Hart, assistant professor of psychology, suggests that men's insecurities about relationships and conflicted views of women as romantic partners and rivals could lead some to adopt sexist attitudes about women. The study was recently published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, a peer-reviewed journal.

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Confident Parenting
  • Mollycoddling your children could give them depression, say experts studying the rise in mental health problems

    Over the past 30 years, our culture has become more obsessed with pursuing an elusive human state called happiness. We are convinced it offers an antidote to depression and other mental health troubles.

  • Papa, Don't Text: The Perils of Distracted Parenting

    "You can only do one thing at a time: talk to the baby or talk on the phone." Last summer, as my baby grandson and I strolled through the same neighborhood his father and I had strolled through 30 years earlier, I saw that something vital had changed. Back then, adults pushing babies in strollers talked with those babies about whatever came across their path. But these days, most adults engage instead in one-sided conversations on their cellphones, or else text in complete silence.

  • Texting, tweeting and social networking are behind 'rough behaviour' of teens, says Pratchett

    Texting and social networking are preventing children from learning correct English and are linked to 'rough behaviour', bestselling author Sir Terry Pratchett has claimed.

    He said kids appear 'unmotivated in school' and asked parents to encourage children to interact with each other.

  • Helping Children To Succeed By Reducing Academic Pressure And Fear Of Failure

    Children may perform better in school and feel more confident about themselves if they are told that failure is a normal part of learning, rather than being pressured to succeed at all costs, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

  • The 10 Best parenting apps

    1. iReward Chart Available on iPhone, Android, Windows Phone 7 and Kindle, £2.49

    This app tracks good behaviour of your children by criteria you set up yourself, by awarding stars.

  • Junk food DOESN'T make kids fat, their families do, says new study

    There may be vending machines and junk foods in schools across the country - but this is not the reason children are gaining weight, scientists claim.

    A recent study asserts that the percentage of overweight 13-year-olds in schools where junk food is present is statistically insignificant as compared to those schools that didn’t have junk food.

  • The Decline and Fall of Parental Authority

    American parents today face a perfect storm of cultural and social circumstances that undermine the very foundations of parental authority. In response, mothers and fathers are beginning to see therapists as irrelevant and to challenge the entire social, educational, and economic context of childrearing.

  • The Misnomer of ‘Motherless’ Parenting

    SOMETIMES when my daughter, who is 7, is nicely cuddled up in her bed and I snuggle her, she calls me Mommy. I am a stay-at-home dad. My male partner and I adopted both of our children at birth in open domestic adoptions. We could fill our home with nannies, sisters, grandmothers, female friends, but no mothers.

  • How kids as young as ten spend SIX HOURS a day online - and 74% of parents have no idea what they're up to

    The majority of parents have no idea what their children are doing online, according to new findings. In a survey conducted by software security company McAfee, 74per cent of the 1,301 moms and dads quizzed admitted they didn't have the time or know-how to check their youngsters' internet use.

  • We can't shelter kids from sex entirely. There are things they need to know

    There is a difference between seeking to avoid exploitation of children by malign adults, and acknowledging that sex makes up an aspect of their being

  • When Do Kids Become Adults? Do we need to redefine Adulthood?

    It’s that time of year: “senioritis” has set in. All that remains between childhood and adulthood is the prom and graduation. Many of these high school students have been driving since they were 16, and those who have turned 18 are no longer minors: they can vote, join the military and marry their sweethearts. But they can’t buy a beer. Is it time to rethink the age of adulthood? Do the age requirements for certain rights need to be lowered or raised? Shouldn’t they at least be consistent?

  • A Son Changes His Mother’s Life With Gift Of Stunning Generosity (VIDEO)

    With Mother’s Day coming up in a few days, the question of “what to give Mom” reigns supreme in households all over America. Traditions abound for some (research has found that moms really do want gift cards!); others get a bit more iconoclastic (though a membership to a weight watchers group really does need some re-thinking!), and sometimes a son knows just what to do to make a mother happy, to let her know he loves her; to give her something that expresses the full spectrum of his gratitude.

  • The internet is robbing us of innocence, says Emma Watson: Actress blames social media for 'shortening' childhood

    Actress Emma Watson has launched a scathing attack on social media, claiming it is responsible for young people losing their innocence. The 23-year-old, who is best known for her role as Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films, said that teenagers are becoming more self-conscious at a younger age because of the pictures uploaded to social media sites.

  • What makes a country a good place to be a mother?

    Mothering is in the news, again. A report out today reveals that the UK has failed to rank among the top 20 places in the world to be a mother. Finland, Sweden and Norway make the top three of Save the Children's mothers' index, the UK ranks at number 25 and the US at number 30, while Sierra Leone, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are in the bottom three places respectively.

  • Where is the best country to be a child?

    The data in this year's UN report on children throws up as many surprises as predictable patterns. In which country are children most likely to die before they reach the age of 5? Where are teenage girls most likely to believe wife-beating is justified? And which countries have improved the most for children since 1990?

  • Poverty has two-fold impact on children's ability, says study

    Seven-year-olds who have lived in poverty since infancy perform substantially worse in a range of ability tests than those who have never been poor, even when family circumstances and parenting skills are taken into account, researchers have found.

    On a scale from zero to 100, a child who has been in persistent poverty will rank 10 points below an otherwise similar child who has no early experience of poverty, according to researchers. The research, published by the Institute of Education, looked at vocabulary, reading, picture recognition and pattern construction.

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Lifestyle Confidence
  • Don't bother with the gym today: Positive outlook on life and making friends could be as good for you as diet and exercise

    Having a positive outlook and making new friends could be as important to your health as diet and exercise, scientists have revealed. People with a positive outlook have more upbeat emotions, which leads them to make more social connections, which in turn leads to an 'upward spiral' to better physical health, a study showed. The research also found it is possible for a person to 'self-generate' positive emotions which can cause them to become physically healthier.

  • Happiness Impacts On Lifespan Regardless Of Health Or Financial Issues

    Older people who are happy have a 35% smaller chance of dying if they are content, excited or happy on a typical day, researchers from University College London wrote in Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences. The authors stressed that this greater likelihood of living longer held true even after taking into account such factors as the person's financial situation, and their physical and mental health.

  • 14 Lessons From Benjamin Franklin About Getting What You Want In Life

    Benjamin Franklin was a man of action. Over his lifetime, his curiosity and passion fueled a diverse range of interests. He was a writer (often using a pseudonym), publisher, diplomat, inventor and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States.

Ageing With Confidence

  • What older people need is not choice, but companionship

    Government policies for older people's care aim to offer them choice and control over their support. This choice-based approach reflects similar developments in support for working-age disabled adults, and has come to underpin many of our public services. But as we argue in a ResPublica paper, published on Wednesday, the choice to remain an active, valued and included member of the local community has become increasingly out of reach to many older people.

  • Being online aged 90 has made my old age less lonely. Others aren't so lucky

    The internet has become our agora, the meeting place where diverse opinions can be debated alongside comments on last night's football match. For those able to participate, it is a wonderful place to learn, speak one's mind or relax by playing an online game. For me, being able to navigate through the internet has made my old age a less lonely place. The death of my wife and then the loss of one of my sons forced me to confront and become familiar with this new, and at first forbidding computer equipment. Simply put, as my grief over my wife and son eased, I wanted to join the land of the living and all of the diversity it offered.

  • Live on a hill. Read a magazine upside down. Have sex twice a week AND argue with your partner: Fifty ways to live to 100

    Besse Cooper, the oldest person in the world, died last week at the age of 116. Her secret to long life? As American Besse once put it: ‘I don’t eat junk food, and I mind my own business.’ But there are many other ways — backed by science — to boost your longevity.

  • Can you believe she's 107? The incredible centenarian who looks better now than she did when she was 100

    Mary Snelling has celebrated her 107th birthday and swears the secret to long life is simple - just start the day by eating an apple. The extraordinary woman was born on December 17, 1905 - nine years before the Great War broke out in August 1914. And pictures taken on her big day this week show she is looking younger than ever.