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Pets and Positive Psychology (1)

Pets and Positive Psychology (1)

Nov
8

There are many animal lovers keeping pets in Hong Kong. Pets are not only playmates for them, but are also their family members. They always make us happy. Some research found that keeping pets could enhance our health both physically and mentally. Dog is one of the most popular types of pets in ...

There are many animal lovers keeping pets in Hong Kong. Pets are not only playmates for them, but are also their family members. They always make us happy. Some research found that keeping pets could enhance our health both physically and mentally.

Dog is one of the most popular types of pets in Hong Kong due to their adorable appearance and pleasant characteristics. According to a research conducted by American Heart Association in 2013, dog owners may engage in more physical activity than non-dog owners. It could help reduce their cardiovascular risks. Moreover, pet owners may have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as a lower incidence of obesity. [1]

Other than benefiting our body, owning pets can also enhance our mental health. We can gain positive experiences by interacting with our pets. These positive experiences lead to positive emotions, boosting mental energy accordingly. Moreover, we could develop close attachment with our pets from the accumulative positive experiences and emotions. Psychologists point out that humans have certain inherent psychological needs. One of them, which is called ‘relatedness’, refers to feeling related with others and experiencing care. It may bring us positive outcomes, such as enhancing well-being, if these needs are satisfied. Developing attachment with pets and making them be our significant ones in life can make ‘relatedness’ satisfied. It could help us accomplish psychological needs and have a better social life. There are foreign charities providing companionship to senior individuals through pet ownership. This win-win idea can save the lives of companion animals in shelter by giving them a new caring home, and bring an adorable companion with happiness to the elderly at the same time.

This article has introduced the advantages that pets bring to us physically and mentally. Please look forward to our next article which will further talk about how pets bring us happiness in next week.

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Positive ageing

Positive ageing

Jun
3

The quality of some old age homes in Hong Kong has been questioned in recent few weeks after a report on disrespectful act on the elderly in one was made.  This triggers many Hongkongers’ worries about ageing and care-taking resources in the end stage of their lives. Researchers in the ...

The quality of some old age homes in Hong Kong has been questioned in recent few weeks after a report on disrespectful act on the elderly in one was made.  This triggers many Hongkongers’ worries about ageing and care-taking resources in the end stage of their lives.

Researchers in the Chinese University of Hong Kong and City University of Hong Kong published a qualitative study in 2006 on the views of middle-aged and older adults on positive ageing in Hong Kong.  By engaging ninety-five people aged 40 or more from all walks of life in fifteen focus groups, they found that the dimensions of positive ageing are good health, having a positive attitude, active participation, social support from family and friends and financial security.  For good health, the majority thinks it means being able to be independent in self-care with good mobility.   Having a good attitude is also important as it means having a sense of purpose in life and generally feeling content.  Positive ageing also means having active participation in different types of activities including hobbies or learning.  Support from spouses, children or other family members is also very important for maintaining good mental health.  Being financial independent is also viewed as very important for attaining a content and positive life in old age. 

How could one achieve positive ageing?  The researchers found that the first and important step is to start to prepare for old age earlier in one’s life.  For those who start earlier in financial planning and changing into a healthier lifestyle, the probability of achieving positive ageing increase.  The second step is to take the action to start a healthy lifestyle, such as having healthier diet and regular physical exercise.  Thirdly, to keep a positive attitude towards ageing is also very important.  Perceiving ageing as the golden age of the one’s life for enjoyment is beneficial to ones’ mental health.  Another good investment for old age is the development of good family and interpersonal relationships earlier in ones’ life.  The close bonding between family members and friends provides tremendous emotional support when ones facing all sorts of difficulties and ill health in old age.  Last but not least, the building up of financial resources and establishment of ones’ preferred living arrangement are also important for cultivating positive ageing.  If we have better planning and more positive attitude, positive ageing is not difficult to achieve.

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The Long Lasting Love

Apr
20

The 34th Hong Kong Film Awards was held on 19th April with the usual center of attention being given to the awardees of the Best Actor and Actress.  This year, the attention was given to the Best Actor, Sean Lau and his wife.  Having a 23-year of relationship with his wife, Sean ...

The 34th Hong Kong Film Awards was held on 19th April with the usual center of attention being given to the awardees of the Best Actor and Actress.  This year, the attention was given to the Best Actor, Sean Lau and his wife.  Having a 23-year of relationship with his wife, Sean expressed his wholehearted gratitude to her for the unfailing support and love in their marriage.  What makes this couple so special that most of the Hongkongers admiring their satisfactory marriage?

As a married wife for more than 20 years myself, I empathize that they must have gone through a lot of ups and downs in the marriage.  In his classic book “The Art of Loving”, Erich Fromm, a renowned psychoanalyst, stated that love demands practice and concentration.  According to him, love requires discipline in the practice as in mastering of any form of art.  We need to contribute in the marriage in our daily routine in a disciplined way, as if one gets up at a regular time each day.  Besides, concentration is also one of the important components in practicing love.  Fromm stated that learning to concentrate is to learn to be alone with oneself and this is a fundamental condition for the ability to love.  It is because, if we are attached to another person, we may treat him/her as a “lifesaver” and this is not true love.  In order to love a person truly, we must overcome our own narcissism.  Long lasting marriage requires the couple to be able to see from each other’s perspectives and compromise in the face of conflicts.

Like Sean and Amy, as well as myself, each long-term relationship is not as easy as the outsiders see.  As mastering any form of arts, loving requires discipline and concentration, as well as overcoming one’s self-centeredness.

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