Protest, it's good exercise.......

Mike Ballard swillsqueal at
Wed Dec 25 17:35:23 MST 2002

Protesting May Be Good for Your Health
Reuters Health 12/23/02
LONDON (Reuters Health) - Taking part in protests and
demonstrations can be good for your physical and
mental health, a new British study suggests.

Psychologists at the University of Sussex found that
people who get involved in campaigns, strikes and
political demonstrations experience an improvement in
psychological well-being that can help them overcome
stress, pain, anxiety and depression.

The finding fits in with other studies suggesting that
positive experiences and feeling part of a group can
have beneficial effects on health.

"Collective actions, such as protests, strikes,
occupations and demonstrations, are less common in the
UK than they were perhaps 20 years ago," researcher
Dr. John Drury said in a statement.

"The take-home message from this research therefore
might be that people should get more involved in
campaigns, struggles and social movements, not only in
the wider interest of social change but also for
their own personal good."

The results emerged from in-depth interviews with
nearly 40 activists from a variety of backgrounds.
Between them, they had more than 160 experiences of
collective action involving groups of demonstrators
protesting against a range of issues. These included
environmental damage and industrial matters.

Volunteers were asked to describe what it was about
taking part in such collective action that made them
feel so good.

"Many published activist accounts refer to feelings of
encouragement and confidence emerging from experiences
of collective action," said Drury. "But it is not
always clear how and why such empowerment occurs, so
we aimed to explain what factors within a collective
event contribute to such feelings."

He said the interviews revealed that the key factors
were that participants felt they had a collective
identity with fellow protestors. They also derived a
sense of unity and mutual support from taking

Such was the strength of the feelings they experienced
that the  effects appear to be sustained over a period
of time.

"Empowering events were almost without exception
described as joyous occasions," said Drury.
"Participants experienced a deep sense of
happiness and even euphoria in being involved in
protest events. Simply recounting the events in the
interview brought a smile to the face of the interviewees."

"Man first begins to philosophize when the necessitites of life are supplied."  Aristotle

"determinatio est negatio"  Spinoza

"There are no ordinary cats."  Colette

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