Wednesday, 9 October 2013

I'M ADDICTED TO STATS.


Its even affecting my relationship. My girlfriend hates me with my ipad.

“Its permanently attached to you” she'd say.

And its true. Its all I do. Pick up the ipad to check my stats.

I'M ADDICTED TO STATS!

I defend my addiction with the reasons:
  1. As the kids watch cartoons all day, I justify looking at the ipad because I can't get my news else-where. But I'm not really checking the news, I'm checking my Stats.
  2. As I don't read newspapers, I justify looking at the ipad as anyone else would look at the newspaper. But I'm not really checking the news, I'm checking my Stats.
I check my Stats on average every 10 minutes throughout the day. 8 am to 11 pm. Six times an hour. Fifteen hours awake, minus those hours working, cleaning, shitting and swimming, leaves ten hours. Ten times six equals sixty.

I'M CHECKING MY STAT'S 60 TIMES A-DAY.

Whether it massages my ego or simply releases an endorphins which gives me pleasure, I love watching my Stats.

Let's take the last article I wrote.

(Oh by the way, I'm a freelance writer. I get paid for writing blogs for the British Association of Anger Management by day and by night I write articles on political causes and state corruption.)

I knew it was the biggest article of my fledgling career and I was determined to make a splash.

Using Hootsuite I set the schedule to release a Facebook up-date and Tweet, every hour-on-the-hour to spread the link to my latest 'Sunday Scandal Shocker' article of a Disabled pensioner murder witness beaten up and left for dead.

I used the excuse of a 'Sunday Round-up' to publicise all the other stories I wrote that week. Weekend rounds are a perfect way to up the stats and I knew to expect good results.

Thus, as soon as the article went LIVE. I check the stats within the first three seconds.

3

“Wow”, I'd think “three people in three seconds.”

On average, I would expect to reach 20 in it's first 24 hours, so when I get a 100 by the end of the day, my ego is full and I'm eager to write another splash to match it's stats.

The graphs and in-depth analysis provided by Wordpress and Blogger is fantastic for any addict like me who loves Stats.

We can check where the views are coming from, how often and how long they stay. Then there is the global map which highlights the countries around the world that our articles are being read. Paraguay, Nigeria, Iceland and Australia. Its amazing and a massive ego stroke knowing that your words are being read by a person living on the other side of the world. And this is a perfect illustration of what makes Stats so addictive.

Knowing where your views are coming from is another piece of information invaluable to anyone addicted to Stats.

On one occasion I saw a considerable jump in views affect one particular article, I guessed immediately that Chris Spivey have been kind enough to publicise a link to my article on his blog.

Chris Spivey is a well known alternative journalist who is simply blowing away the cobwebs of the British Establishment and exposing every dark corner. In as much as Chris loves to promote relevant and well written articles on his website, I love introducing Chris Spivey to people who haven't heard of him before. www.chrisspivey.co.uk

A Chris Spivey link literally spikes my figures skywards. With up to 50,000 viewers a day to his site, I easily receive a thousand to my site via a link.

I'm boasting a thousand views a week now and my addiction continues.

Is there even a word for being addicted to statistics?

Since writing this for at least half an hour, I'm itching to check my stats. I'm posted a relevant email I got about MP's voting on a new Gagging Law in the Houses of Parliament today. As Simon Kirby MP (my local MP) will be voting, I posted an email I got from the 38 Degree's website, who has been lobbying against a new Gagging Law, which will make petitions and discontent a thing of the past.

As any good addict should, I shared the link of Facebook and Twitter, so lets quickly fire up the ipad and check the Stats.

There is always that wait while the ipad catches up with your wishes and loads the page. The wait gives your mind the time to guess. Will it be more or the same? The last time I checked it had 1 visitor and 6 views.

      2           12
Visitors    Views

Wow, its doubled within the hour. Result!!!

The endorphins flood my body and I'm on top of the world again!!!

Let's check the Blogger stats and keep this feeling going.

Earlier today I updated my personal blog with all the articles I wrote for the British Association of Anger Management.

The figures are 6,4,6,9. Yes all good but no double figures. A touch disappointed; but I know what to do to get those endorphins up again; check the overview.

Yep, just as I hoped, the line is facing skyward and thats all that matters. 41 views so far and its not even midday.

(Its always a killer when the counter reaches 199 and you spend the next hour checking the stats to see whether its broken the 200 mark. The spirit rises and drops, rises and drops. Eventually you get a boost when you read 206 and all is right with the world.)

I'm on target and on the upward spiral. My addiction has been feed for this ten minute interval and I can get back to work.

But you know as much as I do, I'll be back checking my Stats very soon...

Stressed Out Teachers


You can see the teachers in the playground take a collection deep breathe as the bell rings, mustering their strength to round up their class of kids and start the new day.
The statistics are shocking but just one tells the full picture. The National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT), took a survey which revealed a whooping 76% of teachers believe that workplace stress is making them ill.
The pressures on teachers are increasing:
  • Marking books has always been the bane of any teacher’s daily chore and their workload isn’t getting any smaller. In fact with an increase in targets and bureaucracy, teachers workloads have spiralled out of control.
  • Ofcom inspections and criticism from all quarters, telling teachers how to teach.
  • Attack on their pay and conditions by hated politicians.

An equally worrying statistic is that 51% of teachers have considered leaving the profession in the past 12 months, followed up by an even worse one with 83% saying they feel constantly exhausted because of work.
You could imagine the whispered conversations in staff-rooms across the country, “I don’t know how much more I can take,” says one teacher to another, “the pressure goes up every day, and so does my stress level.” Another would be pulling their hair out, “I’m so stressed. Today a student who speaks limited English was added to my class, and tonight I have to mark report cards. On top of that I have an early breakfast meeting with parents,” while the Headmaster is confessing to his deputy, “Some days my school feels like a powder keg that’s about to explode.”
Teaching has never been so stressful.
Mike Fisher, the founder of the British Association of Anger Management, says anger management needs to be taught in every school across the land, to children, teachers and parents, as part of the national curriculum.
But what good would it do?
The most obvious benefit of combating stress in schools, will be happier schools, in which parents teachers and pupils do a better job and the kids benefit the most.
  • Pupils, teachers and parents will be more calm.
  • Pupils will be more confident and receptive to learning.
  • Classrooms will became exciting places to be.
  • Pupils will respond better to a stress free environment.
  • Behaviour will improve.

Anger management programs don’t promise to banish all the causes of stress in schools, but they do promise to teach pupils, teachers and parents alike, the strategies to deal with their anger issues in a more constructive way.
A simple exercise for any teacher.
As highlighted by Kelly McGonigal during a TED sponsored talk in Edinburgh, the belief that stress is what makes stress stressful is explored. Check out the link here.
So its with this in mind, why not try the well known Decide-First method?
  • Be quiet for a minute or two. Lock yourself in the store cupboard if you have to. Sit on a chair and take a moment or two to meditate.
  • Close your eyes, relax your body and take a deep breathe.
  • Make a decision there and then to remain calm and relaxed throughout the day, no matter what unforeseen circumstance come your way. 

Its that simple. Stay in the car, close your eyes and decide that no matter what happens, you won’t get stressed out about it.



As Kelly McGonigal said in her talk, “when you choose to view your stress response as helpful, you create the biology of courage, and when you choose to connect with others under stress you create resilience.”
Its having that belief of being stress free which washes away the stress. Being stress free in the classroom, is a decision you make.
Stress doesn’t happen to you, you let it happen to you.
Check out what Mike Fisher and the British Association of Anger Management has to offer.
These websites www.stressexperts.co.ukwww.beatinganger.comwww.angermanage.co.uk are the perfect place to start.

Young People and Anger.


As society in general gets more and more angry with the world around them, it’s inevitable that their children will follow suit. Its commonly acknowledged that children are products of their upbringing and if anyone is to blame for their children’s behaviour, more often than not, you can point the finger at their parents.
But is it really fair?
Aren’t we all in the same boat, doing what we can to survive this ride we call life? Haven’t the parents got enough to deal with, as much as their children? Too many questions maybe, but questions worth asking. What makes young people angry? And can we as parents help them find peace with the world and peace with their inner emotions and feelings? In my book the answer will always be, yes we can!
What makes young people angry?
It’s the same for children and adults alike, but just in a different context. Jealously, rejection, anxiety, pressure and stress are felt by children as much as their parents. Children express their anger and stress in exactly the same way too. Adults and children alike shout, throw tantrums, smash things, throw things, hit things and hurt things. The things are also the same across the age spectrum, be it their toys, themselves or their loved ones.
It can be argued that children get a worse deal than adults because children’s worries are dismissed without hesitation. We’ve all heard of the ‘Children must be seen and not heard’ rule of a more stricter age, and children are shouted down as a matter of routine. Stop it, shut up, don’t be so silly. Teenagers are tarred with the same brush as a matter of course too. Even wearing a hoodie provokes scorn and criticism.
Is it any wonder our young people are becoming more angry than ever before?
Young people have never been under as much pressure to conform and behave. Do this, do that. Don’t do this and don’t do that. And of course, smile while you’re doing it and appreciate it too. Young people from their grib to their last day at school, are bombarded with advice from adults who don’t necessarily know whether what they are advising is correct or not. Aren’t we all making it up as we go along?
What can we do to help?
Mike Fisher, founder of the British Association of Anger Management would say “If you really want to sort out problem youngsters you may need to start by getting help with your own anger issues.”
He goes on further to say, “A child learns from example, and the angry parent spawns the sadistic bully of a child we read about with alarming frequency in the media.” This stark observation demonstrates in no uncertain terms, that to help our young people deal with angry, we must first address our own anger.

Young people are the unseen and unacknowledged victims of their parent’s fury. While parents argue, scream and shout, its easy to forget that their children hear every cruel word being spoken, and with each cruel word spoken, an indelible mark is inflicted.
Is it any wonder the NSPCC’s child-line is being rung non-stop?
Leaving the last word to Mike Fisher, “A child emulates what he sees, angry behaviour rubs off in many ways. For example, a child from an angry household won’t respond to reason when he gets to school, he won’t understand relationships which don’t display anger. Education then suffers, leading to career prospects suffering and on into criminality. The cost to society is enormous.”
His warning is stark and to the bone, if the parents don’t deal with their anger, their children will suffer.
For more information about Mike Fisher and the British Association of Anger Management check out his websites at www.beatinganger.comwww.angerguru.com andwww.stressexperts.co.uk.

STRESS AND GOING TO UNIVERSITY


Thousands of young men and women have gone to university this week. Some for the first time, some for the second and some for the last time. They’ve left home to spend their most formative years learning the skills to venture forth into the big wide world and get themselves a job on the strength of their academic results.
University-student_stressThousands of young men and women grinning with nerves as they wave their parents goodbye and turn their backs on their childhood. Nervous smiles as they ponder what to expect; making new friends and fitting in, managing their own finances, controlling their own time and deciding what to cook.
Many will prosper and have the time of their lives. Many will make friendships which will last a life-time and many will excel at their chosen subjects and go onto get their perfect jobs and enjoy a career of wealth, happiness and fulfilment. Many will fall at the first hurdle and many will succumb to the stresses and strains of university life and drop out. Many students go for the wrong reasons, be it to impress their parents or to get their parents off their backs. Many go simply because they have nothing else better to do and many go because the prospect of getting a job and working for a living fills them with dread. Whatever reason, the truth of the matter is stark; university throws up many hidden threats which can push the stress levels of any young person to their limits.
But not all Stress is Harmful.
It’s with this in mind that you should remember that stress can be useful. Don’t be scared and shy away from it. Its inevitable to feel a certain amount of stress at having to complete a 3000 word essay by the next day. It’s inevitable to feel stress at having to be at a lecture hall at 9am after getting back from a night-out on the town at 8.55am. A certain amount of stress will make you excel and rise to the challenge. Good stress is called Eustress and should be embraced as a friend and ally. The challenge is to know what’s useful and what’s harmful. To know when to embrace stress and when to dump it.
Three easy steps to beat Stress at University?
1. Make time for yourself. This simple piece of advice applies across the board, be it to reduce stress at work, at home or at university. Everybody will be demanding your time, be it lecturers, friends and family. All these people are important and of-course its only right and proper to make time for them. But there is one person more important than all these people and that person is YOU! So switch off your mobile and shut your laptop; close your text books and put down the pen. Walk outside and go for a walk, make yourself a cup of tea or listen to music. The old proverb of ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’ is so true and so prevalent in today’s age.
2. Say No when you need to. There will always be pressure on you to get your head out of the books and go down the pub. Down that extra pint and knock back that extra shot. Socialising can be the best thing about university because there is no better way to make friends and foster lasting relationships, but you can over do it. Saying No is a sign of maturity, and saying No at university can make the difference between a 1st, 2nd or 3rd.
3. Make use of the facilities. Universities are great places to live and learn, offering a wealth of after class activities. Whatever your passion there’s an activity to compliment it. Get involved and sign up. Whether its sport, theatre, debate or cooking; universities offer it all. With bars, shops, sports centres, tennis and squash courts, health centres, theatres and concert halls all within easy walking distance, there is no excuse not to get involved. Harking back to that aged old proverb, ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’, to make my point. Stress will come at you from a variety of different angles, but remember, stress is easy to control and manage. Use stress when you need to and dump it when you don’t.
Going to university can be the best time of your life. Embrace the experience with open arms and submerge yourself in everything it has to offer.
Enjoy university but don’t let stress get the better of you.