Is individuality dead?

In a recent New Scientist Magazine, an article, posed a question is individuality dead? The author Alex Pentland, stated in the article, that a study carried out by social scientists, using a smart phone app, found some remarkable results.individuality_peer group_eleoscounselling

Using big data, the study looked at mobile phone habits, credit card purchases, and social media interaction, and came to the conclusion, that the driving force between any adoption of a new behaviour is motivated by the interaction with peers.

The article states that we learn more than we think of our peers, the study postulated that social learning pays an equally significant part in us as humans, as our genes or our IQ.

The next time you abandon instructions for a piece of flat pack furniture, or are trying to learn something complex, such as a piece of software, and instead of reading the instructions, ask your friend to show you how to do it, you are, fundamentally, relying on social learning. It makes sense if you think that learning from somebody, who has already mastered the task, can cut out the arduous chore of using instructions and getting it wrong yourself.

The case in point, how many times do you Google or YouTube something to find out how to do it? I know I do this all the time, as often instructions online is straight to the point, and therefore, show you how to get on with the task in hand. I have recently learned to use formulas within Microsoft Excel, the video instruction was clear, precise, and informative. What’s more, it enabled me to complete a complex graph quickly, I know that if I’d of sat and work through a manual, I may have lost patience, not only with myself, but also with the manual.


The study looked at how important individual choices are, compared to shared habits, the researchers looked at patterns of communication and found out that communication is the single most important factor in productivity and creative output. The idea of a collective intelligence is muted in the argument. I do wonder, how much of this will be integrated into the workplace, as it is often the person who shouts loudest gets listened to instead of the quiet person at the back of the room with the bright idea, how many times have you experienced this?

The conclusion of the arguments stated that it was about time we rethought our ideas of individuality, I would argue that some of the greatest individuals on this planet, have been free thinkers and consequently swam against the flow of conventional thinking, if you consider someone like Albert Einstein.

The idea of a collective consciousness is nothing new, the existential philosopher Soren Kierkegaard spoke of the herd mentality. Maybe this is what this article is trying to prove.

Finance clerk runs up £6 million debt, using online gambling.

Online-Betting (1)

This week the media highlighted the case of the Finance clerk who gambled more than £6 million on online bingo. Jacqueline Balaam was winning  up to £15,000 of time, but continued to gamble, if even after winning these large amounts.

This exemplifies just how addictive online gambling can be. Unfortunately, one of the aspects of online gambling perception is that it’s not real money, but it is.

With the rise of advertising for online gambling, offering enticing incentive to gamblers. This will often hook somebody who is susceptible to a gambling addiction. There are often three phases of gambling addiction. At first there will be the winning phase, little win’s, which will you force, a sense of  security that you have beaten the system somehow, or you are lucky. Then there is the losing phase, which for some, is enough to stop gambling altogether, but unfortunately, for some people, there’s another phase often called the catch up in which you are trying to make good your losses. The full detail of Ms Balaam, gambling, is not known, but there is a good possibility. This is exactly what Ms Balaam, was doing.

People with are constantly bombarded now with advertising on television, online and social media, enticing us to gamble. Unfortunately, the excitement of gambling can be as addictive as any drug. The primal areas of the brain called the limbic system appears to play a major role in pleasure sensations of addiction, unfortunately, one of the downsized to modern technology is we have more access to things which can possibly be addicted, such as online gambling.

A generation or two ago, one would have to go to the bookies, a casino, or join a card school. Fundamentally, today one can gamble away as much as Ms Balaam simply by downloads an app onto a mobile device and enter a credit card number.

if you feel you may have a gambling problem and  would like to talk to someone , Eleos counselling can help . Just click the link below.





Outsmart Road Rage

stresssed man road rage


Incidences of road rage  have become more prevalent in the UK. Many people found guilty of such offenses, often face a custodial sentence or in some extreme cases end up in prison.

In the past, what is now commonly known as “road rage”, was a comparatively rare on British roads. Nevertheless, since the 1990’s, aggressive driving has increasingly hit the headlines and there has been several high-profile cases in which people have lost their lives, due to these incidents turning into violence and assault.

Much research has been done on the cause of road rage, as it is a useful benchmark to measure modern attitudes to anger and the causes of anger.

It is strongly suspected that the rate of road rage is much higher than reported, as many people do not want to admit they get angry at all. Moreover, many might consider incidences of road rage as part of modern day driving.

It is not surprising that the incidences of road rage are higher in the male population, rising sharply in young men.

The anatomy of road rage

For illustration, we will be using a hypothetical incident of road rage; but this will sound familiar to you. Steve a salesman for a large IT company, he is late for a meeting, with an important customer. Unfortunately, it is Monday morning and Steve gets caught in heavy traffic on the motorway. Steve goes to pull off for his junction, at this moment He has undertaken by a driver, who cuts off. Steve slams on the brakes and slams on the   horn and is quite shaken up by this incident, as he pulls up to a roundabout, he sees a driver of the car. Steve winds down his window to talk to him. This starts a verbal altercation. Steve gets out of the car in a rage and hits the other driver, as he sits in his car. Unfortunately, a police patrol car is it the same roundabout and Steve is arrested  for assault.

What has gone wrong? Here is how Steve reaction has fired up some primitive responses, which is commonly known as the three spheres, or primal reactions.

  • Resources
  • Residents
  • Relationship

The next time you are cut up like Steve, you will have the knowledge you need to stop these primal responses. Neuroscientists would tell you that Steve reaction is grounded in the primitive limbic system, the brain. The limbic system is for controlling survival responses, its perceived threat, but only if certain factors are in place. In the case Steve, He saw the motorway as a limited resource, and the other driver stopping  him getting to work, effectively stopping him   maintaining his residence,  and potentially being humiliated, or shamed in front of other drivers, or contribute to this, which is part of the relationship response.


Unfortunately, what happened to Steve happens to a lot of us. We believe we have anonymity as a driver, but this is a perception which is not real. Like the cyberspace, text messaging and even voicemail, anonymity is not benign. What is missing from this scenario? Steve could not see the face of the other driver. Seeing the face of the other person, you have an issue with plays a vital part in moderating your anger. Unfortunately, Steve is sitting in a machine and is lacking that vital information. Fundamentally, he lacks proper  a relational component of direct human,  his primal responses kicked in, because of the  lack of information and his anger when unchecked.

What happened to Steve, can happen to you. One of the steps you can take is to notice how long it takes for you to get angry. Furthermore, notice how long it takes other people to get frustrated, angry with you. Asking yourself why they became frustrated keeping this question in mind will help you recognise rage and anger.

If you  or someone you know, has  a problem with anger and would like to talk to someone about this then Eleos counselling offer and unique succession anger management course. Just click on the link below




Internet Addiction

eleoscounselling,internet_addictionCan somebody be addicted to the Internet?

Being online has become part of everyday life, for lots of households in the UK. Most people are able to control the time they spend in cyberspace, others can become pre-occupied with the Internet and are unable to control the time they spend online,  which can certainly lead to problems for some people. Like any form of repeated behaviour, such as gambling, exercise, and shopping, the Internet can become addictive.  The brain can become the psychologically addicted, or neuroadapted. Effectively, the brain becomes wired to accept a certain kind of stimulus and when it doesn’t receive that stimulus it goes looking for it. For some, escaping into cyberspace, when life becomes too difficult for them, or they have to deal with difficult situations or emotions has become a way of life. Below are some of the symptoms which can be, warning signs that a person has become cyber dependent.  Excessive time online, can also be a coping strategy to deal with life’s difficulties, if this is a sole coping strategy it can leave one feeling isolated and alone. Furthermore, contribute to a dependency on its use.

Warning signs of Internet addiction

  • Finding yourself losing track of time whilst online
  • Experiencing mixed emotions which may include a sense of well-being or guilt/ whilst online.
  • Favouring online activities to spending time with your family and friends
  • Unsuccessfully attempting to curtail your online use.
  • Feeling irritable and depressed when you are away from your computer all the time spent has been interrupted.
  • Using your computer to deal with negative feelings such as sadness, anger, guilt and shame.

Excessive time online can cause physical discomfort and pain, mainly because you are sitting among place for a great deal of time. There are some of the physical difficulties, one can have from excessive Internet use.

  • Pains or numbness in your hands that can spread to the wrists, elbows and shoulders. This can be the beginnings of carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Pains in your back or neck
  • Irritable or dry eyes or eyestrain
  • Severe headaches
  • Disturbed sleep

Recognising you or someone close to you has a problem

The first and most important step in treating any form of dependency, including Internet addiction, is recognising that there is a problem. It is normal for an individual to deny they have a dependency, but if the cost of online use outweighs any benefit. There is a need for some form of treatment.


Eleos counselling has many years helping people overcome addictions. If you would like to know more you can click on the link below and it will take you to a more comprehensive page on addictions.