This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

close x

Monthly Archives: October 2016

Walking Towards a Better Mood – New Research

Walking in front of a brick wall that says 'good' in a mural - suggesting walking is good for you

Walking towards a better mood.

It’s official: walking off a negative mood, and seeing quick results no matter what your speed, is possible.

A team of researchers at Iowa State University have confirmed that walking can blast away a negative mood. Better still, it does not need to be a fast aerobic stroll. Astonishingly, a 12-minute walk at speeds of just 3mph will raise a bad mood.

A study involving 400 undergraduates at Iowa State University and published in the Journal Of New Emotion has confirmed this amazing fact.

Surprisingly, the researchers also found that the walk location was unimportant. Forget the thought of the beautiful Sussex downs in autumn hues.  Participants who merely walked around an urban, drab and featureless university concourse (not to shame those at Iowa – many campuses aren’t easy on the eye) were just as likely to report an improvement in mood as those who had walked in beautiful surroundings.

Even students who walked on a treadmill for 12 minutes reported an increased mood. In contrast, those who sat at the end of the treadmill waiting for their friends felt worse than when they entered the gym.

Walking Off a Bad Mood: Why You Should Try It

Jeffrey Miller, study author and assistant professor at Saint Xavier University, said: “There seems to be something about that brisk, purposeful walk that is really good for you.”

The study increases the previously held view that even a short walk can be a valuable counter-measure in a difficult situation. So, what are you waiting for? You could take some of the heat out of that imminent meeting with the boss. It is certainly worth a try.

These findings also add weight to the already well-known physical benefits of walking.  Previous research has concluded that regular walking can slow dementia progression, prevent osteoarthritis, lower overall cancer risk and help in weight and blood pressure maintenance.

Try walking the next time you feel stress or worry clouding your thoughts: no matter the location, the walk itself could make a tangible difference to your mood.

Written by Dr Chrissie Tizzard, Chartered Consultant Psychologist, PsychD, BSc, MSc, C.Psychol, C.Sci, AFBPS. Dr Tizzard is the Clinical Director of Christine Tizzard Psychology ( 

health News wellbeing0 comments

Parents: Are you Nagging or Scaffolding?

Nagger or scaffolder? Parent is asking a child to do something but they are being ignored through a wall put up by the child.

Are you a nagger or a scaffolder? Find out what ‘scaffolding’ means, in parenting terms.

Have you heard about the ‘nagging or scaffolding’ parenting debate? It’s several decades old, but a constant challenge for parents. Here’s a tale that explores nagging and scaffolding – two different parenting strategies…

I returned my three eldest grandchildren to their parents after their usual Friday tea.  Their brilliant mum’s smile quickly changed to a look of concern. She watched as each child discarded coat and bag to the floor rather than to the colourful child sized pegs in the hallway.

“Why”, she asked, “Can’t they remember to empty their lunchboxes or hang up their uniforms? Why must I remind them every day?”

She continued: “Everybody says they are lovely kids – so why do I constantly have to nag them to do these simple tasks? This may also sound familiar to you.

Showing true allegiance to the three amigos, I cautiously suggested she might be about to engage in a spot of ‘scaffolding’ instead of a bout of ‘nagging’.

Over half a century ago, the Russian psychologist, Vygotsky introduced the idea of the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD), or ‘scaffolding’. Scaffolding is a process where an adult helps a child master something that the child could not otherwise manage alone. Tidying up after themselves does not seem to fit the definition… or does it?

Emotionally healthy children are usually totally caught up and immersed in the possibilities of their world. They are bubbling over with the potentialities of life, or they should be. In the few hours after school, they made clay fish in the studio (now drying for firing and glazing). Spellbound, they had silently watched a marsh harrier and two buzzard’s hunting field mice. They had noisily mastered a drum routine and provided the lowdown on Justin Bieber’s newest hairstyle. Over tea they’d debated truth and honesty. Is it ever ok to lie?  Specifically, “if you don’t want to go to tea at a friend’s house, is it better to tell a lie rather than hurt their feelings?”

Yes, they had to be reminded to wash their hands before tea, prompted to flush the loo and encouraged to wash hands again. They also needed prompting to remember to take their school clothes home. I believe the word ‘scaffolding’ trumps ‘nagging’.

Kids have busy brains. A preoccupation with their immediate interests ensures they lay down the pathways that leads to a rounded adulthood. The downside is that their cognitive and emotional processing can’t always keep up with their appetite for life.

Parents be reassured – your children won’t grow up to be lazy because they forget to put their lunchbox crusts in the garbage. Children’s frustrating forgetfulness usually means they are simply flying with the wonder of life. Parents are both blessed and cursed with having the job of getting their kids to touch down to earth long enough to do the housekeeping of life. Ironically, nagging is folly. A child isn’t primed to respond to a nag – they know the nag is on a loop, so there is no need to comply quickly. Positive reinforcement may be the way to go.

Now, whose are these trainers on the doorstep?!

Further reading: Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes.

Written by Dr Chrissie Tizzard, Chartered Consultant Psychologist, PsychD, BSc, MSc, C.Psychol, C.Sci, AFBPS. Dr Tizzard is the Clinical Director of Christine Tizzard Psychology ( 

parenting0 comments