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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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I'm a Female TV Sports Addict

I'm a Female TV Sports Addict

Do you realise the pressure I’ve been under this summer? Not because of my job, or an unusual number of family celebrations. Instead, it’s the pressure of watching every World Cup game, the tennis, the Tour de France and keeping an eye on the Premiership transfer market, whilst still maintaining a semblance of normal family life. I love watching sport; I was brought up on it. It was a family thing - tennis and athletics for mum, footie for dad. I remember the delicious ritual of closing the curtains to keep out the summer sun while we watched the Olympics,...
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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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My Mad Fat Diary: Journals as Therapy

My Mad Fat Diary: Journals as Therapy

It doesn't matter in which decade you were an adolescent, My Mad Fat Diary will resonate. It's dark, funny, touching and painfully true. I was never fat (though I thought I was, agonising over my weight when it crept over – shock horror! – 9st) and never mad (though it's jarring to re-read my diaries and see the young me passing off casual mention of suicidal thoughts as "nervous tension"), but watching this programme is a sweet agony. It transports me right back to those teenage years of acute self-consciousness and vulnerability when binge-eating followed by...
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Can TV Make Us Happy?

Can TV Make Us Happy?

With the National Television Awards tonight and controversy over television programmes filling the papers again, it might be a good time to look at how the television we watch affects our well-being. Our brains are incredibly susceptible to what we watch, in part because of two bits of biological programming. One is that we’re designed to not waste energy, so sitting down and having information come to us feels easy. The other biological quirk is that new experiences register as stronger than familiar ones, we’re hard-wired to seek out novelty. Television provides us...
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What Lena Dunham's Girls Can Teach Us About Female Friendships

What Lena Dunham's Girls Can Teach Us About Female Friendships

In popular culture female friendships have often been portrayed either as giggly gossips or as catty and competitive, while girls (and women) themselves are on a quest for an ideal girlfriend - a soul mate who always understands them, with whom they share all intimate secrets and with whom they never argue. For giggly, think of the Sex and the City quartet doubled over in wicked laugher at the men they take to bed; for catty, think of Lady Edith doing her best to ruin Lady Mary’s chances for happiness in Downton Abbey, for the ideal, think of sweetness between...
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