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Sandi Mann

Psychologist, University of Central Lancashire, Director of The MindTraining Clinic and columnist for Counselling At Work

Are We There Yet? How To Tackle Kids' Boredom On Those Long Journeys

''Are we nearly there yet?'', is the dreaded question parents often face before their car even leaves the driveway. But what happens when you're about to embark on a 7+ hour long-haul flight and you've run out of toys, bribes and sweets to keep your children entertained?
30/10/2017 13:42 GMT

Why We All Need Fidget Toys

This then is the joy of the fidget toy. It helps us to concentrate by preventing us from seeking extra stimulation elsewhere. If we spin and click instead of daydreaming, tweeting or buying random items on eBay, then this has to be better in terms of our attending to the task.
04/05/2017 14:13 BST

Kindness On Campus

Campus life is typically associated with many attributes, but kindness is not usually one of them. We tend to imagine universities reeking of academic rigour, intensive study, looming deadlines and value-brand baked beans; the warm fragrance of kindness is rarely associated with these ivory towers of learning.
03/10/2016 12:54 BST

The Death of Community?

I have my own family now and my own house in a nice residential street in peaceful suburbia. Yet, I am ashamed to admit that I barely know the names of more than a couple of neighbours. I would never knock on their door to borrow anything and rarely exchange more than a polite hello with most of them.
22/01/2016 14:11 GMT

When a Classmate Dies

2 December 2015 was the day that my fourteen-year-old daughter tells me her childhood ended. She became an adult when her classmate died, and she and her peer group, were thrust suddenly and unwillingly, into a world that teenagers should never normally inhabit. A world of funerals, of grief and of loss.
05/01/2016 23:18 GMT

Happy Kindness Day!

In today's <em>me me me </em>society, we seem to have lost our way somewhat when it comes to kindness. Yet we are actually programmed to be kind because being nice gave us evolutionary advantages in that it is a process that encourages the exchange of resources within a group.
13/11/2015 09:26 GMT

How About Reverse Trick or Treating This Year?

Imagine what you would be teaching your children by Reverse Trick or Treating - about acts of kindness, about doing something nice for other people, about how one small act can make the world a better place. It's a lesson that is a world away from the traditional Trick or Treat one.
26/10/2015 12:34 GMT

Depressed? Pay It Forward!

How does being kind make us healthier? One theory is that it increases our mental well-being by lowering the amount of stress hormones we produce. E
15/10/2015 11:46 BST

Why Life Being Good Can Be Such a Worry

Some people even feel that by worrying, they are somehow protecting themselves against the feared drop coming; they have learned that most things they worry about don't come to pass, so fear that if they take their eye off the ball and stop worrying, they will allow a calamity to creep in and take them by surprise.
13/10/2015 11:23 BST

The Psychology of 'Over-Sharing'

Social media is crammed with the inane, repetitive and quite frankly dull minutiae of everyday life that can surely interest no one but the poster (and maybe their mum). Why then, do we overshare so much? I have a few theories:
16/04/2015 14:35 BST

It's Their Homework, Not Yours!

Parents involve themselves in every aspect of school life, from running in every time their child has a problem, to falling over themselves to be parent helpers on school trips. And it doesn't stop at the school gate; so afraid are we of our kids making mistakes or doing things wrong that we hover over everything they do, like some kind of over-zealous quality control system.
06/01/2015 14:57 GMT

The Psychology of Terrorist Martyrdom

As the UK faces what Theresa May has called its biggest terrorism threat in its history, understanding and recognising who might become a terrorist martyr is of crucial significance. Martyrdom, or the ultimate sacrifice, seems to be a bizarre concept that goes against all psychology theory...
01/12/2014 13:26 GMT

Is It Time to Abandon UK Spelling?

It saddens me then, as a proud UK academic to say this, but it is probably time to abandon UK spelling and to adopt a standardised (sorry, standardized) format across the English-speaking world. UK English is set to go the way of Shakespearean English and continued resistance is probably futile.
25/05/2014 16:50 BST

How Ghost-Writers Are Killing University Degrees

I would like to see action taken to stop degree ghost-writers in their tracks. Perhaps the industry should be regulated, forcing any ghost-written essay to be submitted by the seller to plagiarism detection sites so that should the student try to pass it off as their own, they will be caught.
24/03/2014 13:49 GMT

The Benefits of Bedtime Prayers (Even for Non-Believers)

Historically bedtime prayers were part of every child's night time routine. Hot bath, and brushed teeth would be followed by a cosy story and a traditional bedtime prayer. The classic (and Christian) bedtime prayer for children was actually rather sobering.
03/02/2014 16:00 GMT

Five Tips to Haggle a Discount

Whilst traditionally, we Brits have always been wary of negotiating over cost, it seems that a minority of us are now cottoning onto something that psychologists have long known; that most things are negotiable.
30/01/2014 17:22 GMT

Ten Things Students Should Never Do

After fifteen years as a University Lecturer, I have seen and heard students do many things that frustrate lecturers. The amazing array of ways that students can infuriate their professor never ceases to astound me. Here is my top ten of what students should never do...
22/11/2013 16:38 GMT

Is My Child Normal?

The reality is that most parents just want their children to fit in, to be socially acceptable, thrive at school and yes, be 'normal'. The idea that any difficulties might be due to a labelled syndrome, or 'special needs', is a frightening prospect for most. So, how can you tell if your child is 'normal'?
04/11/2013 17:12 GMT

Extreme Halloween: Has It All Gone Too Far?

Are our lives so dull and boring, that we crave such exciting, even depraved, thrills to liven things up? These Halloween experiences offer the same thing as fast fairground rides and horror movies do; the opportunity to experience an adrenalin rush (caused by shock and fear) in a relatively safe setting.
25/10/2013 17:08 BST

Five Ways to Spot a Liar

Many people think they can spot a liar but research shows that most of us are only as good as chance when it comes to detecting whoppers. Here then are five dependable ways to spot a liar; these are the cues that are the hardest for a liar to fake.
16/10/2013 17:27 BST