Join a club to beat the post-Olympic blues

The best way to continue the Olympic feel good factor is to get involved with a group activity.

This is the view of the University of St Andrews' Dr Fergus Neville, who will discuss his latest research into the nature of collective experiences* - such as crowd mentality - in a lecture at the forthcoming Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society's Social Psychology Section. The conference takes place in St Andrews from 21 to 23 August.

Dr Neville will explain that his findings look into how social relations between strangers can be transformed in a positive way by a "perception of a shared identity" and that being in a crowd at events such as the Olympics can become an emotional experience.

Professor Stephen Reicher, the co-author of the research, will add that the study also shows how people's relationships to one other are transformed.

He will use the example of how the shared a passion for Team GB created a national community where people "support, respect and trust each other".

The research suggests it may be group participation and a sense of "us-ness" that is beneficial to individuals rather than the competitive event they have gone to see. Therefore, the experts advise that the best way to overcome the post-Olympic blues is to join in a group activity such as a sports team or activity club.

* Journal of the Academy of Social Sciences, Vol 4 Issue 3, 2011: 'The experience of collective participation: shared identity, relatedness and emotionality'

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