Read our posts about soul

Beauty: What Lies Beneath the Makeup

Beauty: What Lies Beneath the Makeup

Inspired by the media coverage of the no-makeup selfie campaign by Cancer Research UK, I decided to research the influence of makeup on women’s lives by setting myself up as guinea pig for my student paper at the University of Warwick.   One day I went out barefaced and the next I wore noticeably more makeup than usual. How would I feel? And how would other people respond to me? I normally wear minimal makeup, but the idea of going out makeup-free even for a day made me feel uncomfortable.  I was concerned about looking unprofessional at work and...
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How To Become A Better Listener

How To Become A Better Listener

Our environments have become increasingly and worryingly noisier. We talk and text constantly on mobile phones.  It’s the norm to see couples and friends out eating and drinking, and everyone will have their heads down texting or tweeting, even whilst in conversation. So it’s not surprising that as our digital talk increases we’ve steadily become poorer listeners, not better ones. So how does one become a better listener and can you learn to listen well? We’ve become adept at a type of hearing which processes information through our own personal filters. Most...
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Losing My Identity: Sally Brampton

Losing My Identity: Sally Brampton

Quite recently, I lost my identity, which sounds rather careless given that I hadn't, until some days had passed, realised it was missing. It started with a phone call, one sunny morning. Something I had loved, and had spent years involved with in happy occupation, was taken away. It took all of three minutes. I put down the phone and looked around the room. Nothing had changed. Everything was still in its place. But everything had changed. Once I had dusted myself down, I shrugged and thought, "Well, that's that. Time to move on." I didn't take it...
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The Beautiful Game and Depression

The Beautiful Game and Depression

Footballer Gary Speed, former captain-turned-manager of the Welsh national team, had movie star looks, a million pound mansion, a beautiful young wife and two sports-obsessed sons. He seemed to have the world at his feet. But three years ago he took his own life after an embittered battle with depression. With the World Cup in Brazil only days away it is easy to cloak our footballers with the super human strength of gladiators in Ancient Rome. However when the arena clears and the applause dies away, cases like Speed’s are sadly far from rare. A study carried out by...
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Learning to Grieve

Learning to Grieve

No-one wants to grieve. I remember a moment at the hospital with my husband, who had collapsed that morning with what turned out to be a brain haemorrhage. Things were going from bad to worse, and then worse again; it was becoming clear that he might not survive. My mind rebelled, in advance, against what I knew I might have to go through – the shock, the sadness, the painful work of rebuilding my life. It felt completely daunting and I simply did not want it to start. Grieving is about coming to terms with loss and change, and we humans are creatures of habit. We...
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Intuition: Unlock the Power

Intuition: Unlock the Power

Philosophers and scientists have endeavored to understand intuition for thousands of years, and many of the great spiritual leaders have talked about intuition. Psychotherapist Carl Jung classified our experience into thinking, feeling, sensation and intuition, and he described intuition as being like a ‘compass’ in life. Intuition also involves the input of nerve networks around the heart and gut. Modern psychology and neuroscience has identified that the non-dominant part of the brain (your right brain if you are right handed) is the site of visual,...
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Culture Tip: All in the Mind

Culture Tip: All in the Mind

I had to stop the car when I was driving home from the Tavistock clinic recently. There was nothing wrong with me, or the car, I just needed to focus on what was happening on the radio. A young woman, Sally, suffering from long-term depression and what she described as a ‘constant state of disassociation’ was telling presenter Claudia Hammond why she was nominating her friend, George, in the individual category for the BBC All in the Mind 25th Anniversary Awards. She read out part of the email she had sent to the programme in support of her nomination. Anyone who...
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How to Stop Feeling Stuck

How to Stop Feeling Stuck

As a psychotherapist, I meet people all the time who are feeling stuck. Motivation and interest elude them and they’re unhappy. I wanted to help people get back on their feet, not just to survive, but to thrive. Life gives us an opportunity to become the person we’re meant to be by fulfilling our unique purpose. But many people feel out of touch with their purpose. Instead of moving forward with energy and joy, it’s as though they’re caught in an eddy. Even if they knew how to get moving again, they wouldn’t know which direction to go. Somewhere along the...
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Culture Tip: To Rise Again at a Decent Hour

Culture Tip: To Rise Again at a Decent Hour

This week's Culture Tip is the first, and may possibly be the last, to incite in me an urgent need to increase dental flossing. Joshua Ferris’s new novel To Rise Again at a Decent Hour follows anti-hero, Paul O’Rourke, who is a Red Sox fan, an avowed atheist and an acclaimed New York dentist with a thriving practice. He is a man who cares deeply about oral hygiene and his pain at his patients’ dental deterioration is palpable. He is impotent in the face of a prolific alter ego who, it seems, might just be a kinder, nicer and far from agnostic him. Paul...
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Why I Left My Enchanted Cage

Why I Left My Enchanted Cage

I am standing on a bench in the Green Dragon and waving a black handbag. You have to guess what three designer items I am wearing, I say. Everyone laughs as they look at my wintry gear: yak jumper, cashmere jumper, alpaca coat, zigzaggy pony skin belt. We’re at a Green Drinks night in a free house in a small market town called Bungay in Suffolk. It’s a monthly event in which my local Transition Initiative, Sustainable Bungay, discusses environmental issues within a frame of social change. Tonight I’m the ‘expert conversationalist’ and the topic is Give and Take...
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