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Some Clichés are True 2004-08-09

Posted by clype in Articles of Interest.
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There’s nothing like a cliché to send you over the edge. You’ve just endured an awful divorce and your auntie tries to make you feel better by saying ‘there’s plenty more fish in the sea’.You watch in horror as your elderly parents prepare to go white water rafting and they try to reassure you with ‘you’re only as old as you feel’. The most obvious response to a cliché is to roll your eyes, but scratch beneath the surface and sometimes you’ll find more than a grain of truth.


Put a Brave Face on it.

The world might be filled with cultural differences but the smile is a universal expression of happiness. What’s more, the ‘Old Wives” tale that smiling will make you feel better is backed up by science. Smiling stimulates our brain to produce ‘endorphins’, which give us a sense of pleasure and wellbeing. While you’re putting a brave face on it, you’ll be helping others too.

Psychologically, a smile is infectious and it’s difficult not to respond to it with another smile. But it is easier for some of us than others.

Researchers at ‘Hope College’, Michigan, USA, suggested that the facial expressions needed to pronounce vowels modified by the ‘umlaut’ in German left those speaking the language looking ‘down in the mouth’.

So don’t blame Michael Schumacher for looking glum despite all those wins.

Whistle a Happy Tune.

If Rodgers & Hammerstein are to be believed, whistling a happy tune can cure you of all your fears. While the ‘King And I’s’ theory has yet to be tested scientifically, evidence does indicate that music can influence our emotions. A study carried out at the University of Leicester found that the sound of classical music put diners in the mood to spend more money, something they put down to the connotations of sophistication which come with a classical track. The healing power of music has led it to be used as a form of therapy. Music therapists ‘Nordoff Robbins’ believe music can:

‘Enhance communication, support, change and enable people to live more creatively’.

But it’s not just humans who can be touched by the healing power of music. A 2001 study at the University of Leicester found dairy cows produced more milk when listening to relaxing music. The results were put down to stress relief.

Money Can’t Buy You Happiness.

If ever we want to see the truth in this cliché we need look no further than our ‘celebrity’ friends.

The ‘showbiz’ road is littered with casualties which prove that yes, money can buy you a ‘Hollywood’ mansion, but there’s every chance it’ll lead you into temptation of the most destructive kind.

Last year, a study of more than 65 countries, published in ‘New Scientist’ magazine, confirmed that money really doesn’t buy you happiness. According to the ‘World Values Survey’, the desire for material goods was instead seen as a ‘happiness suppressant’.

The happiest people in the world apparently come from Nigeria. And a report by ‘City and Guilds’ showed a high-powered job is unlikely to put a smile on your face —

  • Tradesmen and women were twice as happy as white-collar workers.

So if ever there was an excuse to stop wishing for promotion , this is it.

If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try, Try again.

Evidence for this anecdote is not hard to find. Take Elizabeth Taylor or Jennifer Lopez.

A failed marriage is but a minor blip on life’s journey and both women have proved themselves determined to get it right by going up ‘the aisle’ repeatedly. Inspiration can also be found with the pop-singer Darius.

He disgraced himself in the first series of ITV’s ‘Pop Idol’ only to return with a better haircut and a real chance of success. Perhaps the best recent example of the benefits of perseverance is Peter Mandelson. Twice forced to resign from the Cabinet, he kept on going and has now been rewarded with a job as European Commissioner.

There Are Plenty More Fish in the Sea.

Statistically speaking, for the individual looking for love, Scotland is a good place to be.

There are just over five million people living here and, according to ‘The Scottish Household Survey of 2001’, the traditional nuclear family is being replaced by single homeowners.

Singles are most commonly found in Edinburgh and Glasgow, both cities having more than 20 per cent single households. There really are plenty of keen fish out there — so go out and catch one.

Everything is Relative.

Can putting your problems in perspective actually help you deal with them? Christine Northam, a counsellor with ‘Relate’, says there is some truth in this.

‘When we’re in the middle of a drama, most of us think that it doesn’t happen to anyone else.

‘When I say, “I know how difficult it is but I really believe that there is a way forward”, it tends to give people the confidence to begin to arrive at a solution’.

You’re Only as Old as You Feel.

These days, a grandmother is just as likely to be found bungee-jumping as knitting. In Scotland, women can expect to live to 79 and men to 73, around ten years longer than in 1951.

With more time on our hands, the aging population seems by-and-large to be living it up.

A survey by ‘Yours’ magazine revealed that the average 69-year-old said she felt as if she were just 48, while in the ‘2004 London Marathon’, 93-year-old Fauja Singh easily overtook many of his younger competitors.

As for the mental side of things, regular exercise of the little grey cells in the form of chess or crossword puzzles is said to keep the cognitive skills sharper.

  • So is learning a new skill — despite the cliché that ‘You Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks’.

Take inspiration from Dame Barbara Cartland. Living till 98, she churned out approximately one novel a fortnight well into her eighties. She swore by a regular intake of honey and vitamins, but you can’t help thinking that the make-up and extravagant outfits was what really helped keep her young.

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