We are all going to turn to dust and our vanity is so often just in vain, but being kind is actually one of the things that has a little bit of meaning, isn’t it? Being nice to the people around you. That is one of the things that is really worth fighting for. Everything else is vanity.
James Allen, the train dispatcher at St. Albans station 

How to Make Good Memories in the Worst of Times

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One time, I called my psychiatrist on the phone and upon his picking up, I said, “Hello doctor, this is Ann Hedonia.”  The joke being that my name is Ann and that he knew I was in the lower depths of depression and might find my pun amusing.  I knew intellectually that it was funny, but it brought me no pleasure or laughter.

Indeed, Anhedonia is no laughing matter, as this absence of ability to experience happiness, joy or pleasure goes hand in hand with the diagnosis of depression - and enjoyment and engagement with people, places and events is a basic requirement for a full and happy life.

So what is there to do about the dark, joyless times that may befall us?

Read More

Welcome to MoodPanda’s new Blog Author - Annie!

imageAs part of our push to build TeamPanda, we’re very happy to welcome Annie on board!

Annie is a retired English teacher and writer in Michigan and mother to a college-aged son and two Siamese kitties.

Annie will bring you  fascinating posts about Family, Mental health, and Happiness, and we’re very proud to have her on board

Welcome to TeamPanda, Annie!


Posted by Jake, Co-Founder of MoodPanda.com

New Blog Format - Ready for TeamPanda!

We’ve been super busy this week - organising our new Panda Team! They will be dedicated to sharing awesome articles, information, pictures and generally making your day brighter. 

First things first, we’ve launched a new blog format (Like it? Leave a comment below), ready for the exciting new blog content that the Creative Team will be sharing with you all!

Watch this space for announcements on the new team :-)

Posted by Jake, Co-Founder of MoodPanda.com

The worst is almost over for those sitting exams - stick with it for a few more weeks and you’ll (probably) have a happy green summer ahead!Above is a graph of MoodPanda users’ posts talking about their exams, and their corresponding happiness. The graph shows 3 years data gathered from hundreds of thousands of MoodPanda happiness updates.It’s clear to see the Summer exams trigger the most MoodPanda activity, with a noticeable happiness slump as the exams approach and revision begins - but thankfully the average happiness quickly recovers and increases massively during and after the exams - when all the hard work has paid off. There’s another activity spike during the August re-sits, which starts to drag people’s happiness down again, but then in September happiness soars as the year’s exams are all out of the way - phew!Sadly the Winter exams don’t seem to have this recovery, with constantly low average happiness, really slumping in November, followed by months of unhappiness around exams until May. 
Leave comments below - why do you think there’s such a slump in the Winter exams compared to the Summer?
MoodPanda is a happiness tracking website and App, to help people track and share how they’re feeling with a lovely, friendly and anonymous community of people - be a part of it at moodpanda.com
To those in exams, stay calm and focussed, and read these top tips for success on the day
GOOD LUCK, FROM MOODPANDA!

The worst is almost over for those sitting exams - stick with it for a few more weeks and you’ll (probably) have a happy green summer ahead!

Above is a graph of MoodPanda users’ posts talking about their exams, and their corresponding happiness. The graph shows 3 years data gathered from hundreds of thousands of MoodPanda happiness updates.

It’s clear to see the Summer exams trigger the most MoodPanda activity, with a noticeable happiness slump as the exams approach and revision begins - but thankfully the average happiness quickly recovers and increases massively during and after the exams - when all the hard work has paid off.

There’s another activity spike during the August re-sits, which starts to drag people’s happiness down again, but then in September happiness soars as the year’s exams are all out of the way - phew!

Sadly the Winter exams don’t seem to have this recovery, with constantly low average happiness, really slumping in November, followed by months of unhappiness around exams until May. 

Leave comments below - why do you think there’s such a slump in the Winter exams compared to the Summer?

MoodPanda is a happiness tracking website and App, to help people track and share how they’re feeling with a lovely, friendly and anonymous community of people - be a part of it at moodpanda.com


To those in exams, stay calm and focussed, and read these top tips for success on the day

GOOD LUCK, FROM MOODPANDA!

MoodPanda delivers happiness report to Channel 4 News

Today, in our quickest turnaround ever, we delivered a bespoke happiness report to ITN for Channel 4 News [uk] in just a few hours, for an article on how the heatwave we’re experiencing here in the UK has affected our happiness

You can read the article using our analysis at 
http://www.channel4.com/news/heatwave-hot-why-sun-happy-reasons

If you are looking for bespoke global happiness reports for press, research or analysis, contact us chiefpanda@moodpanda.com

Thanks! And enjoy this sunshine!

Posted by Jake, Co-Founder of MoodPanda.com


Watching Sad Movies Actually Makes You Happier

From bawling your eyes out over Bambi as a kid, to the slow, painful tug of the heart strings that was Beginners, most of us are suckers for a sad film. But a new study suggests that the reason for that might be incredibly simple: It turns out that sad films make us happy.

The research, carried out at The Ohio State University, tried to get to the bottom of our emotional reactions to sad cinema. To do that, researchers sat down 361 college students and made them watch the 2007 movie Atonement. That flick, in case you missed it, features two separated lovers who die as war casualties. That counts as sad.

Before and after the viewing, the participants were asked how happy they were with their life, and during the film they were also asked to rate their current emotional state.

The result? People who experienced the greatest increase in sadness during the movie reported increased life happiness after viewing it. They also rated the film as being better.

Read more at Gizmodo.com

Posted by Jake, Co-Founder of MoodPanda.com

Illness and loneliness are getting people down this week

Here at MoodPanda we’ve noticed a major slump in the global mood since Saturday and it seems that illness and loneliness are trending reasons for the slump.

If you’re feeling lonely, give someone on MoodPanda a hug, get to know us, make a new MoodPanda friend :-)

If you’re feeling the effects of the common cold this week you may be interested in these top tips for effectively battling the common cold, posted by Whitson Gordon on Lifehacker.com

If you have any favourite remedies, share them in the comments below!

Things You Can Do at Home (That Won’t Cost You an Arm and a Leg)

When most of us get sick, the first thing we do is rush to the drug store to stock up on over-the-counter medicines: Whether it’s the cough suppressant dextromethorphan (found in cough syrups like Robitussin) or the antihistamine doxylamine succinate (found in the sleep-inducing Nyquil). Oddly enough, though, the most well-supported cold treatments are things you can find lying around the house. We’ve talked about winterizing your body for the chilly months to come, but if you start to feel a cold coming on, here are some of the best options for taking care of yourself.

Gargle with Salt Water

How to Most Effectively Battle the Common Cold
We’ve actually mentioned this remedy before, but it bears repeating: One of the oldest tricks in your mother’s book, it seems that gargling with salt water is actually an effective home treatment for the common cold. Not only does it alleviate throat pain and loosen irritating mucous, but it can even help prevent colds: A study by the American Journal of Preventative Medicine found people that gargled warm salt water three times a day were less likely to get sick during cold season. Just dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in a full glass of water, gargle for a few seconds, and spit it out. Photo by Casey Serin.

Try a Little Honey

How to Most Effectively Battle the Common Cold
Another popular home remedy with some strong evidence behind it is honey. A 2007 Penn State University study found that one to two teaspoons of honey is not only effective at treating nocturnal cough, but it’s actually more effective than dextromethorphan, the cough suppressant found in oh-so-popular cough syrups we mob to. Photo by Bethany Egan.

Congestion Irrigation: The Neti Pot and Nasal Sprays

How to Most Effectively Battle the Common Cold
If you’re experiencing some nasal congestion, one of the best ways to get rid of it is to rinse it out at the source using a saline nasal spray, or other similar irrigation technique. Not only have researchers found that it reduces the severity of congestion, but that also reduces infection. While you can buy many such nasal sprays over-the-counter, you can also make your own at home by mixing a quarter teaspoon salt, a quarter teaspoon baking soda, and 8 ounces of warm water (or some similar variation). You an either spray it into your nose via a bulb syringe, or use a tool like the ever-popular neti pot to clear your nasal passageway. It can be a bit daunting for some, but it’s been shown to be pretty effective and have little or no side effects, so if you’re serious about feeling better, it’s a good method to try. Photo by Dennis Yang.

Keep Your Stress Level Down

How to Most Effectively Battle the Common ColdWe’ve made a few mentions of how stress can affect your health: if you have more psychological stress in your life, you’re likely to have health issues. Even if you’re lucky enough to escape the serious issues like depression and anxiety, you’re still susceptible to cold and other illnesses: The Department of Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University found a significant relationship between stress and acute illnesses. Everyone’s stress is different, so examine your own life and be sure to keep up with our favorite stress-relieving tactics here at Lifehacker to stay healthy. Photo by John Mayer.

Get Plenty of Rest

How to Most Effectively Battle the Common Cold
It’s one of the first pieces of advice you get when you’re sick, but we can never stress it enough: give your body time to fight off the virus, and don’t waste that energy elsewhere. A number of studies (such as this one from the Archives of Internal Medicine) found that sleep deprivation results in poorer immune function. Not only do good sleep habits help you fight off a cold, but they will even increase your resistance to catching one in the first place. So, if you’re sick, it’s important to get plenty of rest—but don’t neglect it when you’re healthy either. Make sure this is quality sleep, too: drugs like NyQuil contain alcohol, and we already know what that does to your sleep cycle. You’ll fall asleep quickly, but you won’t get the deep sleep you need to get better. Photo by Craig Dennis.

Unproven, But Unharmful: Good Ol’ H2O

While the above remedies have quite a bit of supporting evidence, other oft-recommended treatments, mentioned in this section, have either received little attention or have yet to produce conclusive evidence. The plus side: These methods aren’t likely to hurt you, so there’s no reason not to give them a bit of attention on your sick days.

Increase Your Fluid Intake

How to Most Effectively Battle the Common Cold
Very little hard research has been done on the link between fluid intake and alleviating cold symptoms, but it’s long been one of the first pieces of advice given to cold sufferers. Drinking lots of fluids during a cold is said to break up your congestion, keep you hydrated and keep your throat moist. I had a tough time finding actual studies about the common cold and hydration, but it’s no secret that hydration is good for your body and your health—it is, after all, one of those things necessary to bodily function—so there’s no reason to not continue following this advice. In fact, this is good advice even when you’re not sick. Just remember not to go overboard. Photo by Brian Turner.

Inhale Steam

How to Most Effectively Battle the Common Cold

We’ve advocated using humidifiers in your home on more than one occasion, and while there are definitely a lot of good reasons to maintain good humidity levels (from keeping your walls in good condition to avoiding nasty static electricity), the research on its effect on congestion is actually inconclusive. A Cochrane review found that only three out of six trials found benefits of steam for symptom relief. However, apart from some minor side effects (such as nasal discomfort or irritation), humidification carries little risk and provides other benefits for your home, so there’s no reason to avoid it. If you’d rather not spend money on a humidifier, other sources of steam (such as a hot shower) can serve the same purpose.

Treatments to Skip: Alternative Remedies

Apart from the popular over-the-counter cold medicine ingredients (like the few mentioned above), a few other widely discussed treatments have yet to be proven effective, and also carry unnecessary side effects. These are the treatments you probably don’t need.

Vitamin C

How to Most Effectively Battle the Common Cold

People have studied and argued about the effectiveness of Vitamin C for decades, and a Cochrane review of trials on the subject found megadosing (you know—taking handfuls of the vitamin when you come down with the cold) Vitamin C to be mostly ineffective. While there are a few exceptions in the literature (most notably athletes and those subject to cold environments), it doesn’t look like Vitamin C is the miracle cold cure that many people swear it is. However, it carries little risk, so as long as you don’t go overboard with it, feel free to drink up that orange juice—just don’t rely on any magical powers therein. You’re probably best off staying away from high-dose Vitamin C formulations like Airborne, though, since they not only contain high levels of other, megadose-unfriendly vitamins (such as Vitamin A), but they also include unnecessarily high amounts of Vitamin C, which may have unwelcome side effects in those susceptible to kidney stones.

Echinacea

How to Most Effectively Battle the Common Cold
Echinacea is an herbal remedy said to enhance the immune system and reduce the severity and duration of the common cold. It’s popular, but once again, not likely that beneficial: a study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that it was flat out not effective at preventing nor alleviating cold symptoms. Photo by London Looks.

That said, Echinacea is a complicated treatment as well: There are many different types, strengths, and parts of the Echinacea root that have all produced different results, so unlike Vitamin C (which has been studied over and over again), the results on Echinacea are not consistent. It doesn’t have a ton of side effects (other than a possible upset stomach), but allergies and other drugs can cause some more severe issues if you’re not careful. Furthermore, herbal supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA. When it comes down to it, it’s a crapshoot as to whether the product you’re buying is going to help or not.

Zinc

How to Most Effectively Battle the Common Cold

Another popular alternative medicine treatment is zinc, both in the form of throat lozenges or nasal sprays. Quite a few studies have been done on the treatment, but again, only some of them found positive results. In those examples, high doses of zinc did significantly reduce the severity and duration of the common cold—especially when taken at the first sign of a cold—but the side effects hardly make it worth the unproven possibility that it will help. Mild side effects include mouth irritation, a seriously awful metallic taste in your mouth, and stomach upset, while other studies have shown that high doses of zinc can lead to a loss of taste or smell. While shorter-term use is likely safer than long-term use, you’re once again better off saving your money.

by Whitson Gordon on Lifehacker.com

MoodPanda <3s LifeHacker

Posted by Jake, Co-Founder of MoodPanda.com