Read our posts about mind

How Apathy Blocks Empathy

How Apathy Blocks Empathy

Empathy is vital for cooperation and friendship. Without empathy there would be no humanity, just a world of disparate individuals without the social glue to hold them together. Empathy is the experience of understanding another person's perspective – you place yourself in their shoes and feel what they are feeling. When we empathise we not only mirror the distress of the other person, but are moved to respond in helping ways. In other words, empathy helps us take care of one another. When we are distressed by the suffering of others, that distress becomes...
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How Meditation Cured Dan Harris's Panic Attacks

How Meditation Cured Dan Harris's Panic Attacks

US journalist Dan Harris’s on-screen meltdown radically altered his life. Before his nationally broadcast panic attack on ABC news, Harris was your average over-worked, professionally anxious reporter. He’d joined the network at the extremely young age of 21, and was  thrown into the deep end when he was sent to Afghanistan to cover the Taliban. After a long stint dodging bullets in Afghanistan and then Pakistan, he returned home to a studio-bound job  with a severe case of undiagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder. He dealt with this by dosing himself up on...
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The Psychology of Fashion

The Psychology of Fashion

As the seasons change they bring with them hosts of new choices about what to wear.  How to manage to look chic and stay warm? And, as life gets busier, how not to over-heat physically or emotionally. The selection of something to put on is not just an aesthetic or practical decision. It’s also about what suits our mood. On a minute-by-minute basis, we are assailed by a range of emotions. And every morning we make a decision about what to wear. The two are closely connected. The selection of something to put on is not just an aesthetic or practical decision. It’s...
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Boarding School Survivors

Boarding School Survivors

“Are we going to be head of rugby?” a well-dressed mother self-consciously jokes with another. They stand by their BMWs in the forecourt of a prep school accepting their tiny sons for the first time. Trunks have been carried in, housemasters have made brisk reassuring comments, and the ‘settling in period’ has begun. There are no tears. The scene comes from a BBC 40 Minutes documentary, made 20 years ago, called The Making of Them, in which young boarders were discreetly filmed over their first few weeks at prep school. It is available on YouTube, but careful: it...
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How to Gain Power From Misfortune

How to Gain Power From Misfortune

This obstacle in front of you —this frustrating, unfortunate, problematic, unexpected problem preventing you from doing what you want to do. How do you tackle it? What do you do? Probably what most people would do, and what you are doing right now: nothing. Whatever our individual goals, most of us sit frozen before the many obstacles that lie ahead of us. But what blocks us? Systemic issues of rising unemployment, skyrocketing costs of education, and technological disruption? Or personal insecurities of being too old, too scared, too poor, too stressed, no access, no...
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Andrew Solomon's Ode to Identity

Andrew Solomon's Ode to Identity

Andrew Solomon spent 10 years talking to more than 300 families about their children to discover what it means when your child is radically different to you, when the apple does, to contradict the saying,  “fall far from the tree”. This incredible project has won him the Wellcome Book Prize 2014. He was drawn to this subject following a journalistic assignment at a dwarf convention, but it was also because he felt so different from  his own parents. First of all as a seriously dyslexic boy whose mother worked tirelessly to get him help; secondly, as a gay man,...
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Can Celebrities De-Stigmatise Mental Illness?

Can Celebrities De-Stigmatise Mental Illness?

Long gone are the days of lowered voices and nervous shifting glances at the mention of the T word; more people than ever before are seeking therapy for a whole host of reasons and are speaking about it openly on sites like this, or to their families, and their friends. But have things changed for the better-known members of society, where a mental health diagnosis might affect public perception or their ability to make a living? In the last 10 years, the answer appears to be yes. From accomplished actors to decorated sportsman, from successful pop stars to seasoned...
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What Therapy Did For Me

What Therapy Did For Me

I have the dubious distinction of having made my therapist cry - when I said goodbye recently, after four and a half years of therapy, I gave him a small artwork I’d made which featured the words ‘you helped me change my life’.  He was moved; it was gratifying to see him cry, since I’d struggled not to throughout our entire relationship. But I was truly grateful for his care, his insights, humour and professionalism. We’d had quite a few laughs together, along with the agony, sadness and confusion. What I have now accepted is that there are times in your life when you...
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Why Philippa Perry Loves This Therapist Directory

Why Philippa Perry Loves This Therapist Directory

I am really delighted that Louise Chunn has set up the Welldoing.org directory and this is why. Up until now, it has been hard to know how to find a suitable therapist and whether you get a good match with one is far too much down to luck. I’m going to share some case studies with you: Good outcomes in therapy should not be so dependent upon chance encounters. An acquaintance told me that her partner had gone to the doctor for an erectile dysfunction problem.  The doctor referred this 48-year old man to a female counsellor who looked about 22; he felt too embarrassed...
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Why Introverts Don't Like Parties

Why Introverts Don't Like Parties

Extroverts crave excitement. They often take chances, and they tend to act on the spur of the moment. They find it hard to motivate themselves to finish tasks, but they generally have lots of friends, and love to party. Introverts, on the other hand, prefer to avoid excitement and pressure from the outside world. They’re more...
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