Tag Archives: Psychology

Changing My Life With Fitbit Charge 2

Assalaamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu,

So it’s been a long, LONG time since I discussed my health and fitness regime on my blog…

Probably because it went down the drain and has been needing a reboot for quite a while so in this post I’m going to talk about my new fitbit charge 2, how fantastic it is, how well it’s worked for me Alhamdulillah and why maybe you should probably think about buying one too.

JUST A CRAZE?

So this fitness fitbit thing has been on my radar for the past year or so, even without a TV or taking much interest in popular culture, some things like this do creep in to my view and attracts my interest, like what’s that? Does it work? Is it worth the cost?

Especially as I keep seeing them increasingly at work, who give them out as one of the prizes for taking part in certain healthy living schemes they promote to make us extra super fit uber productive workers!

But at £120 or there about’s it’s quite an expensive bit of kit, for what is effectively a digital watch if it doesn’t work so I was going to wait and see if seems to be the real deal.

I also thought it wouldn’t help me in my current stage of getting healthy, which is trying to slim down enough so I can get out and jog without too much risk of damaging my knees or getting shin splints.

Then the Mrs went and bought me one as a present…

SO DOES IT WORK?

Short answer is yes… if you stick with it. The concept is not something new, the monitoring of in-comings and outgoings has been around for decades and effectively does the same as MyFitnessPal mobile phone app but much more efficiently as you only need to enter in your in-comings, the daily exercise grind is all entered for you when the phone updates from a bluetooth connection to your fitbit device.

By seeing your steps going up and up, as well as the number of floors you’ve done or minutes exercised etc, it gives you a real sense of getting somewhere, a tamagotchi type buzz of achievement as you hit each target and smash them and keep going onward and upward.

Now if you’re going to cheat, forget to enter in that sneaky burger or chocolate bar you had at lunch, then maybe the fitbit is not for you, but if you’re willing to stick with it then by effectively monitoring you food and exercise you will quickly see where you are going wrong, what habits you need to break and what you need to work on and it’s all available to see on the phone ap or on a PC dashboard.

It even measures your sleep pattern and asks you to enter your water intake each day, these being two areas of health and fitness people often fail to monitor.

RESULTS SO FAR

So results so far, in a month and a half of using the fitbit has been losses of 10lbs, as well as some reasonable gains in muscle mass around my shoulders and arms and corresponding fat losses from my substantial waist and the rest of my body.

If you want an idea of what 10lbs of fat looks like, see the image here, or else weigh out 10lbs of butter as animal fat is about the same mass and size as butter.

The beauty of the fitbit is that it enables you to choose your own exercise regime and then monitor the results, so if you want to push the weights, there is an option for that, if you want to run or jog, an option for that and so on and so on.

Unlike with other health and fitness regimes I’ve tried, there is no where to hide with fitbit, it’s harder to cheat and if you fail you not only see it on the scales but you can see why it is on the app or dashboard.

GOING FORWARD

I can really see myself using this for a long time to come and as I’ve lost weight, I’ve gained energy, as opposed  to feeling drained and lethargic which happens when people only diet and don’t exercise.

Extra energy I’ve been able to put into studying the deen, getting into reading al-Adab al-Mufrad as well as getting into listening to lectures and reading more about my own totally unprofessional interest in psychology.

Given how quickly the fitbit has helped me slim down I can see myself being back in the gym in the matter of the next couple of months, as opposed to 6-9 months which was my previous target and getting on those running machines to target that hard to reach subdermal fatty layers and push myself to my higher goals in gaining and maintaining a more healthy body.

A healthier body has brought me more confidence, a better relationship with my family as I’m not constantly tired, except sometimes in a good post exercise good way and finally restored my confidence in being able to Insha’Allah get my body back into shape whilst I still can given my age.

If you were like me, struggling to know where to start with getting healthy, then fitbit could easily be good for you and if you only gain the benefits I have so far, worth the £120 expenditure.

Assalaamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu,

Gingerbeardman

Advertisements

Jordan Peterson – How to Improve Yourself Right NOW (and Why)

Assalaamu Alaykum,

I have a strange hobby, actually I have a few of them but this one I am discussing today is picking up interesting text books on subjects I know little or nothing about and starting to read, to see how much I can understand and where I don’t understand the topic what I need to learn to get there and doing so.

I am not claiming to be some sort of genius or anything, but it just helps me grow in understanding as a person and I might then read about this subject for a few weeks, months or sometimes longer.

So whilst studying English at college I used to browse the library and from this I developed a casual interest in psychology which unlike many other subjects has stuck with me since.

So no formal training or education, just a passing interest but one which I find often helps me relax from my daily life and also in understanding the world and though sadly it’s something which with marriage I had to slow down with and sometimes stop at times because with marriage, kids, life etc you have to prioritize your time, still it interests me.

My favourite teacher and speaker in this field at the moment is a man called Prof. Jordan Peterson who brings a whole other element to psychology which can often be aloof and distant from the concerns of man’s daily life in that he brings it down to a practical level.

Actually, that’s not really true. He brings the average man or woman up  to a level they can understand basic psychology which is a much better way of teaching and helps you ask important questions about yourself, your life, how you got to where you are and how you can get to where you want to go.

How did this happen and how can I stop it happening again?
How do I improve myself and what is the most efficient method of doing so?
Where do I want to be in x years and how do I get there?

I’ve reached a point in my life myself where these questions are reaching a greater degree of importance, I am conscious of time, that I have to work smart and not just work hard so for a while you’ll probably start seeing more and more posts on psychology and related fields popping up on this blog.

Hope you enjoy this short video and find it as beneficial as I did where Prof. Peterson some practical steps on improving your life, and why you should start doing so right now. Good advice for a natural procrastinator like myself.

Assalaamu Alaykum,

Gingerbeardman

Maybe There is a Reason Allah Made Men Forgetful

Assalaamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu,

Every man here will sympathise I am sure, unless he has an eidetic memory the frustrations of getting into an argument with his wife, and she can bring up past mistakes in detail whilst he is pretty sure there are some similar good points from his side, but right there and then the details just are not there.

Point and often argument lost in many cases and men in they are wise learn other coping mechanisms to deal with this side of relationships over the years.

My own personal one being not allowing the matters to escalate to that level in the first place because it’s not possible to ‘win’ in such a situation against a woman, even if you come up with the pertinent facts she just changes angle and brings up some related topic, or something totally unrelated until she ‘wins.’

But what if we could remember brothers, what then?

Being a somewhat typical INTJ personality type, I thought I’d come up with a cunning plan to get around my male memory and I did once make a spreadsheet of every thing done in our relationship, good or bad but this included every argument and misdemeanor for about two months in a row.

Not a good idea apparently and it was one of the worse times in our marriage at least from my point of view as I found myself becoming more agitated and not my usual calm self, as each day I would submit the latest entries, and dwell on past problems.

I became more liable to see flaws I would otherwise have not seen, or else let go long before, in the past. Every relatively minor little thing became another bitter addition to the previous few days list of what were really totally minor and petty disagreements.

I’d often become vexed, walking around doing a Mr angry impression with the Mrs not knowing why and often I was more annoyed with an unresolved issue from days or even weeks before I’d read about that morning than I was about the actual thing which was on my mind right then.

So maybe for good reason we are forgetful creatures, perhaps it’s really a good thing, or mostly so.

This old English saying (actually most languages probably have this one) has a lot of truth in it…

“MEN DO NOT FORGIVE, THEY FORGET. WOMEN FORGIVE EVERYTHING BUT NEVER FORGET!”

Whenever I have to listen to a brother or sister discuss the problems in their marriage, men tend to have a few ‘big’ items they just cannot let go off, where as the sisters… the sisters can write long lists sometimes even with dates of every infraction real or imagined most of which the man cannot even remember happening.

In our lives trying to follow Islam brothers need to learn to forgive, struggle and strive to forgive others especially our spouses and sisters need to learn to let things go, if a matter is resolved and in the past don’t keep bringing it up every time you are angry with him.

Psychologists have pondered over the reason why men are more forgetful, and this has been measured and proven to be so but for whatever reason Allah has designed and made us different in this way. I am not sure there is one reason why, but perhaps if men were less forgetful they would not be able to fully function in their overall tole as leaders of the household.

We are made to be forgetful of these little details in arguments and life and if this makes married life run along more smoothly so Alhamdulillah I am grateful to Allah he has made us this way.

Assalaamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu,

Gingerbeardman

Coolnessofhind – The Dark Shoddy “Science” Behind PREVENT

Originally blogged by CoolnessofHind on 30th September, 2016 – https://coolnessofhind.wordpress.com/2016/09/30/the-dark-shoddy-science-behind-prevent/

the-science-of-pre-crime

In July of this year, I posted a blog asking the question in relation to the revelation that PREVENT was underpinned by a theory (Extremist Risk Guidance – ERG22+) formulated by British psychiatrists, What would these US psychologists make of Britain’s PREVENT Strategy? The American professors bluntly stated that the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) agenda was “at best misguided, and at worst, vicious.”

The Pseudo-Science of PREVENT

CAGE’s devastating expose – The Science of Pre-Crime: The ‘Secret’ radicalisation study underpinning Prevent’– proves that Britain’s CVE – PREVENT – really is indeed, misguided, resulting in decisions which are vicious. The report exposes a 2010 study authored by two psychologists who are linked to the national security industry, Monica Lloyd and Christopher Dean, and used to formulate the pre-crime intervention model ERG22+.  Shockingly the authors themselves admitted that the research was lacking. Below are key quotes taken from the study:

“The current lack of demonstrated reliability and validity remains the main limitation of the ERG at this time. It remains essentially a qualitative tool that requires a level of professional judgment and experience to be effectively used.”

““The ERG is work in progress…”

“There remain important questions to be explored, most notably around reliability and validity,”

The study is fraught with further problems, some of which I have summarised and listed below:

  • Data is based discriminatorily on twenty Muslim prisoners convicted of terrorism.
  • Not all those convicted of terror-related offences are violent offenders.
  • The study ignores possibility of response bias (the extent to which prisoners provided answers that they felt the authorities wanted to hear)
  • The authors admit excluding political context as a specific factor
  • The authors, coming from a forensic perspective, leads them to “pathologise and look for explanations at the individual level” which results in applying a “very static and de-contextualised understanding as to why individuals become involved in political violence.”
  • The limited scope of the study which is problematic for specialists to implement is now being extrapolated to children in schools and patients in hospitals.
  • The limited scope of the study has been stretched to “all forms of extremism”

The Dangerous Implications of ERG

Highlighting the manifest danger of PREVENT, Professor Arun Kundnani wrote,

“With hundreds of thousands of public sector workers in Britain now required to absorb the government’s Extremist Risk Guidance and apply it in their work, the dangers of this research have never been greater.”

Also worth noting is that ERG is also being used in child law cases and determining the wardship of children. Remarking on the secretive, untested nature of ERG, Professor Adam Geary is quoted in the foreword of the report as stating,

“The limits of the ERG research used to create state duties raises profound questions about transparency and accountability… Seemingly, a line of recent case law suggests that individuals and families are being brought before secret courts on the basis of definitions derived from classified research, and thus raises immediate concerns in relation to our justice system.”

The clear implication of the above is that shoddy pre-crime science is potentially resulting in miscarriages of justice, with children being removed from families on the basis that their parents pose an “extremism” threat.

The Comical Home Office Spin and the Non-Academic Study!

The thoroughly surgical report has been reviewed by eighteen professors and academics, has forewords penned by noted professors, and is backed by a joint-statement by over 150 professors and academics including Marc Sageman and Noam Chomsky.  In other words, it carries considerable PREVENT-crushing weight.

In the face of this, there is only so much spin the Home Office and RICU – its propaganda department – can issue before it begins to look rather ridiculous.  If the Home Office statement is anything to go by, it seems this farcical state was unavoidable.

The Home Office responded by stating,

“The guidance that is used was based on a peer-reviewed study, carried out to meticulous academic guidelines and published in two publicly available academic journals.”

However, in the very same report, the Guardian sought the views from one of the study’s authors, Monica Lloyd.  According to Lloyd, the original study was “not an academic piece of work” but instead was an internal report by practitioners that was “done to the highest standard it could be done”.

Lloyd’s statement not only directly contradicts the Home Office, which claims that the guidance is based on an academic, peer-reviewed study, but it also reinforces the baselessness of PREVENT by clearly saying that the “study” is in fact an “internal report” which is not academic at all!

There is simply no coming back from this.  Some PREVENT-pushers have sought to deflect the report’s piercing findings through peripheral points which upon closer inspection, are hokum, (one individual on social media claimed the study was not secretive – directly contradicting the author’s claims directly quoted in the report). However, such efforts are simply embarrassing, reflecting the derelict state of the fatally wounded PREVENT Strategy.

Pertinently, such questions are also irrelevant. As the report incisively notes, “what is relevant now is for the government to answer difficult questions on how it came to institute a policy of assessing pre-criminal behaviour in 2011 using the ERG, when in 2015 the authors of that study were hesitant of its wider efficacy.”

The level of urgency for answers is accentuated given the disastrous consequences of PREVENT. From child psychological abuse in schools, to securitisation of purportedly confidential charities like the NSPCC; from the normalisation of political Islamophobia to the pecuniary and reputational losses suffered by Muslim teachers due to their privately held religious beliefs; from the castigation of political views on Palestine and shaping Muslim discourse and beliefs, to restriction of political participation of teenage Muslims who have already come into contact with PREVENT. PREVENT has and continues to leave a trail of neocon closed society destruction in its wake.

End PREVENT

When fake, ventriloquised “experts” like Sara Khan are paraded for days on disparate news channels regurgitating lines most likely authored for her by the Home Office in defence of PREVENT, it is a damning indictment of mainstream media that the report and its findings have not been reported in all major outlets (the “impartial” BBC, the Times, the Telegraph have not reported on it at the time of writing). However, this is not a stumbling block in the efforts to resist and ultimately remove PREVENT.  The movement against PREVENT has always been a grassroots, civil society-led one. It must continue to remain so, with or without the support of propaganda outlets.

PREVENT is an unjust strategy which has shredded the rule of law. Those Muslims – including Muslim organisations which claim to represent Muslims in Britain – whom support PREVENT or its reincarnation, must now accept that there is no more room for excuses.  Support of such failed, groundless strategies is support for the discrimination and persecution of the Muslim minority, intended or otherwise.

Civil servants and employees of public institutions and schools should reject the implementation of PREVENT on peaceful civil disobedience grounds until the law placing the PREVENT duty on statutory footing is abolished and the Strategy of stigmatisation is completely scrapped. This may seem like a drastic step, however, it is a necessary one, for relationships which hold society together are being torn apart through the atmosphere of suspicion fostered by PREVENT.  Such damage will take years if not decades to heal.

Now is the time to say no to the British neo-Stasi state. Now is the time to end PREVENT.

CoolnessofHind

thescienceofprecrimeprevent

In July of this year, I posted a blog asking the question in relation to the revelation that PREVENT was underpinned by a theory (Extremist Risk Guidance – ERG22+) formulated by British psychiatrists, What would these US psychologists make of Britain’s PREVENT Strategy? The American professors bluntly stated that the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) agenda was “at best misguided, and at worst, vicious.”

The Pseudo-Science of PREVENT

CAGE’s devastating expose – The Science of Pre-Crime: The ‘Secret’ radicalisation study underpinning Prevent’– proves that Britain’s CVE – PREVENT – really is indeed, misguided, resulting in decisions which are vicious. The report exposes a 2010 study authored by two psychologists who are linked to the national security industry, Monica Lloyd and Christopher Dean, and used to formulate the pre-crime intervention model ERG22+.  Shockingly the authors themselves admitted that the research was lacking. Below are key quotes taken from the study:

“The…

View original post 1,110 more words