Read our posts about mind

Get the Best out of Life: Resilience and Stress Management

Get the Best out of Life: Resilience and Stress Management

When was the last time you took a walk just to relax and admire the beauty around you? When was the last time you listened to bird song with your headphones off and no blaring music? We live in a very hectic society, which is fast paced, competitive and busy. Many people now have electronic health trackers to monitor the number of steps they take. This is a good thing, as exercise is good for you physically, mentally and cognitively. We are very aware that we have to look after our physical health, but much less so in terms of looking after our mental...
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Suicide Prevention: How you can help

Suicide Prevention: How you can help

Suicide is in the news a lot at the moment. We hear from public figures talking candidly about their experiences. Bravely sharing how, whilst gripped by depression, thoughts of suicide became a real threat to their life. The sad and untimely death of Robin Williams who took his own life highlights the private and tortured mind behind the public face. The emotional pain (the driver for suicidal thoughts) was just too much to cope with. His ‘exit from stage left’ marked by an unanswered question – why? For every person who takes their own life, there are...
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Why Self-Compassion is as Important as Self-Esteem

Why Self-Compassion is as Important as Self-Esteem

My eleven-year-old daughter was complaining about her friend Mary. ‘She’s keeps boasting about her new school,’ she confided, looking despondent. ‘It’s got the most amazing netball courts and clubs for everything...and she’s got much nicer clothes than me...' As she began to sob, spouting a familiar litany about how her life was so much worse than Mary’s, I thought of Kristen Neff. She’s an American academic from Houston, who has put numbers to what I’ve long suspected as the mother of two daughters: the competition game starts young, and girls in particular...
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Under Pressure: Societal Goals and Stress

Under Pressure: Societal Goals and Stress

Failure to achieve important goals induces stress. Although some of these important goals (such as the need for control, competence and relationships) are universal, there are substantial variations between societies in the way goals are expressed. People’s goals are determined to a large extent by the society in which they live. If, within a particular society, high value is placed on things that most people achieve, then most people will experience few stressors. However, if high value is placed on things that few achieve, then many people will experience...
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How To Deal with Passive Aggressive Behaviour

How To Deal with Passive Aggressive Behaviour

Passive aggressive behaviour can be one of the most difficult behaviours to deal with because it’s expressed in obscure, underhand ways. The person may appear passive on the surface but is really acting out their resistance towards you in an indirect or hidden way. When someone is behaving with disguised hostility, they don’t reveal their true motives and you end up tying yourself in knots trying to work out what’s going on. You may find yourself getting upset and angry but can’t be entirely sure it is justified. Passive aggressive behaviour: verbal Typically,...
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The Psychology of 50 Shades of Grey

The Psychology of 50 Shades of Grey

The Valentine’s weekend release of Sam Taylor-Johnson’s film of 50 Shades of Grey is impossible to book, so eagerly anticipated is the adaptation of E.L James' erotic novel, the UK's fastest selling paper back of all time.  The story of the filming pitches the director and scriptwriter in a battle with James as they struggled to make a film of a highly commercial soft porn caper. But what’s it like on a psychological level? There is much of the cheesy tongue in cheek on view, as university student Anastasia (Dakota Johnson) goes to interview entrepreneur...
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Why Do Some People Get More Stressed Than Others?

Why Do Some People Get More Stressed Than Others?

People experience and respond to stress in different ways. There are seven reasons why this happens: 1) Personality There are several dimensions of personality, but the most important dimension, the one that explains most varience, is neuroticism versus stability. The term ‘neurotic’ has a meaning in common usage and one that isn’t flattering. By contrast, to the psychologist, the dimension of neuroticism - or negative affectivity - is simply a dimension on which people vary and should not imply a value judgement. Nice people can be neurotic! A person high in...
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Writing Music to Overcome Depression

Writing Music to Overcome Depression

One afternoon I had a moment of clarity and wrote all of the words, in one prolific sitting, to a song for my Dad. He moved to America when I was four and I dragged a heavy anchor of anger and disappointment behind me most of my life as a result. I describe in the piano ballad how I was confused and missed him as a child, felt that he didn't know me as a teenager, as an adult I needed him and finally in the present day, I forgave him. Along with a very long letter, I sent this song, which I called ’The Gift’, to my Dad in the mail. It was the closure that I...
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Postnatal Depression: What it is and How to Deal With it

Postnatal Depression: What it is and How to Deal With it

Estimates suggest that between five and ten percent of women suffer from postnatal depression after having a baby. It's normal to have what’s known as the ‘baby blues’ to some degree in the days and weeks after the birth, this generally involves feeling more tearful and vulnerable than usual and doesn’t last very long. When these feelings become persistent and are joined by other symptoms, then postnatal depression may be diagnosed. Unfortunately, due to the misconception that postnatal depression means not bonding with your baby many women don’t realise...
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OCD: What are Obsessions and Compulsions?

OCD: What are Obsessions and Compulsions?

There is a lot of confusion around Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and a great many inaccurate portrayals of OCD in the media have led to thousands of people thinking they have OCD when they don’t. Many people will describe themselves as ‘a bit OCD’ if they like things done in a certain order or they like to keep their homes clean and tidy. This is not OCD. It is perfectly normal to have preferences for order and routine, and cleanliness works on a sliding scale with some people being very particular and other people being a lot more relaxed about their cleaning...
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