Read our posts about emotions

9 Ways to Cope with Social Anxiety

9 Ways to Cope with Social Anxiety

The demands of social situations make some of us feel extremely anxious. Those of us who do suffer from social anxiety know that there is not much worse than the feeling that grips you when you can’t say a word, you’re blushing, you keep preparing what to say in your head only to miss the opportunity… Social anxiety can be contradictory in nature. People with social anxiety tend to approach social situations with feelings of unworthiness; thinking that they aren’t good enough, or smart enough, or pretty enough, or interesting enough. At the same time they...
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How To Deal With Anger

How To Deal With Anger

Anger isn’t a mental illness...but as anyone experiencing difficulties with the ‘the red mist’ will tell you, it can feel like it is.   ‘Dave’ is a man in his mid-thirties who began by informing me that his anger issues go back to his mid-childhood. As he matured and advanced in his career however, their impact upon his life seemed to reduce. Something was now changing for Dave, however, and he wanted help to understand why. The techniques Dave had developed for managing his anger were becoming much less effective. His relationship with his wife was making...
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Stoicism: A Simplified Modern Guide

Stoicism: A Simplified Modern Guide

In this article, I present a simplified set of Stoic psychological practices, that could both act as a ‘daily philosophical routine’ and as a very concise introduction to Stoicism as a way of life. A key Stoic idea which informs these practices is that: ‘...to become educated (in Stoic philosophy) means just this: to learn what things are our own, and what are not’ (Discourses, 4.5.7). The practical consequence of this distinction is essentially quite simple: ‘What, then, is to be done? To make the best of what is in our power, and take the rest as it naturally...
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Vincent Deary: Why Change is So Difficult

Vincent Deary: Why Change is So Difficult

I’m standing in a room facing about thirty people. They have come to hear me talk about habit and change. It’s part of the work of publicising my book. This is all new to me. The laws of habit, my old accustomed ways, are in temporary suspension. There is a new narrative taking shape. A story in which I am an author and some kind of authority. I’m claiming to know How To Live. People have paid to come and hear me talk about that. For the first time in a long time there has been rehearsal. I am having to think. There are feelings. I can feel, as I stand in the room,...
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Don't Rush Forgiveness

Don't Rush Forgiveness

In my psychotherapy practice I often sit with people who are struggling with forgiveness.  Many of us, whether in therapy or not, have a hard time forgiving both ourselves and others. Someone close to us betrays our trust. Someone takes something from us, be it a purse, a car, or our very sense of safety in the world. We’re told when this happens that we must not act like victims. We’re “survivors” of every awful thing that befalls us. We seek the experience of forgiveness in order to free ourselves from hatred, anger, grief and again, victimhood. But forgiveness is...
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The Draper Complex: When a Man Turns Against His Defences

The Draper Complex: When a Man Turns Against His Defences

Mad Men's Don Draper is not Tony Soprano.  The weird world of psychoanalysing fictional figures  had a field day with the latter – from labelling him with narcissistic or anti-social personality disorder to settling on a severe Oedipus Complex.Whatever the conclusion, the Mafia boss was clearly symptomatic. However little you’d expect a man like Tony to seek psychotherapy, he had to. You cannot run the North Jersey crime syndicate while suffering panic attacks. People don’t turn against their defences when they are perceived to be working in their...
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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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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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Why Envy is Toxic

Why Envy is Toxic

A very wise friend who was also a psychotherapist had just listened to my litany of complaints about a female colleague.  I was bothered by how little interest she took in things I had done, how little acknowledgement of my  work, and most of all by her constant put downs and snide remarks  about activities I was involved with. ‘Envy’ said my friend.  ‘Classic envious behaviour.  She doesn’t want you to have anything and what you have got she wants to spoil .’ It was obvious that  the two of us might be competitive.   We were in the same area of work, both trying to...
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