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Applying to University? Read This.

Applying to University? Read This.

Imagine buying an expensive item for which you have over 40 different choices. A phone, say, or a laptop. You might feel a little anxious about choosing the right one. Now imagine buying an item costing £33,000 which will affect your future, and having over forty thousand choices. Feeling anxious yet? Your teachers won’t tell you this, and your family probably doesn’t know it, but choosing a university course (combined with studying and worrying about your grades) can cause massive stress. But it doesn’t have to be that way if you follow some simple guidelines. 1....
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Is Your Diet Causing Chronic Inflammation?

Is Your Diet Causing Chronic Inflammation?

When studying nutrition I was initially very taken by the idea, provided by one of my tutors, that inflammation is the seat of all chronic disease. This concept had never crossed my mind before as I had always thought of inflammation as being the acute kind – the pain, heat, swelling and redness that is the result of scraping your knee or cutting your finger. Of course this kind of inflammation is important and, in a place without antibiotics or antiseptics, it is life-saving. This is because it is the body’s primary mechanism for dealing with trauma and...
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The Ground Beneath My Feet: a Fear of the Unknown

The Ground Beneath My Feet: a Fear of the Unknown

I was 13 when I had my first panic attack, though I didn’t know what it was then. I was at a café in Biarritz when I got a chicken bone lodged in my throat. My entire body went white hot; I became convinced I was going to die. The blood drained to my feet, every bit of me screamed to get outside, so I walked around the block eating yoghurt until the fear drained away. When we got back to New Zealand, the same white heat would flow through my body again whenever we would go to a café or restaurant. I had to give myself ‘outs.’ Sit facing the door. Don’t order food....
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How Couples Counselling Deals With Affairs

How Couples Counselling Deals With Affairs

As part of the BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) requirements for Continuous Professional Development, I recently attended a training course on Affairs and their impact on the couple relationship. It was a fascinating course with therapists from different cultures, training and moral values. Affairs are always a controversial subject, often touching both therapists and clients deeply and on a personal level. A quarter of couples coming for relationship counselling present an extramarital affair as their reason for seeking counselling. A...
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How Empathy Can Advance Your Career

How Empathy Can Advance Your Career

Empathy can work for you, at work.  By putting yourself in the shoes of a prospective employer, your colleague or your boss, you can find more positive ways of responding to challenges. Here are three scenarios where empathy made a real difference. The ‘difficult’ boss Clare, a senior manager, was tearing her hair out trying to please her line manager (a female, board level executive). Clare felt her boss undermined her constantly, by challenging every detail of her plans and reports, and wanting reasons (in writing) for every decision. Clare was on the brink of...
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How to Meditate: Discovering Headspace

How to Meditate: Discovering Headspace

In his book Headspace: 10 Minutes Can Make All The Difference, Andy Puddicombe writes: "This is meditation, but not as you know it. There's no chanting, no sitting cross-legged, no need for any particular beliefs… and definitely no gurus." This, then, is  Meditation 2.0,  aiming to free the practice from its hippy associations . Puddicombe is mindfulness's first poster boy, a former monk and  circus trainer, who boasts good bone structure and an Abercrombie & Fitch dress sense. The New York Times has already suggested he is "doing for meditation what Jamie...
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What I Would Tell the Younger Me

What I Would Tell the Younger Me

I can see my younger self through the years: the chubby, shy  teenager, the employee in a new job determinedly trying to work out how to make myself a good journalist but no less important, how to be liked. The young adult wondering if I would meet a man with whom I might make a family, and tremblingly uncertain that any man who I wanted would want me . Then there’s the woman in her 40s with a partner, a home, children, a job she cherished and yet was still beset by uncertainties, the feeling that she had not done well enough , hadn’t achieved as others had or seized...
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What is Yin Yoga?

What is Yin Yoga?

The American cartoonist Scott Adams once observed, “There are two types of yoga: the kind that hurts like crazy, and the kind that looks like you’re sleeping.” Yin yoga definitely falls into the latter camp.
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