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Compassion: Why Being Gentle to Yourself is the Foundation of Happiness

Compassion: Why Being Gentle to Yourself is the Foundation of Happiness

It took me a very long time to work out the difference between being kind to myself and actually being kind to myself. I used to think a long hot bath, a yoga class or a new pair of shoes would suffice to ease a low patch or quieten my noisy inner critic. These gestures may have helped a bit, but they remained just that – actions representing a kindness rather than actions that also felt kind to myself when I did them. I could practise yoga for an hour and still feel bad. I might even feel rubbish at yoga and leave a class feeling even worse. Learning to be truly kind,...
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Culture Tip: The Pale Fox at Chisenhale Gallery

Culture Tip: The Pale Fox at Chisenhale Gallery

The Pale Fox, the first UK solo exhibition of the French, New York-based artist Camille Henrot, is currently on show at Chisenhale Gallery a publicly funded space that garners awards and frequently punches above it’s weight in terms of its programming and outreach work with local communities. On the day I saw the show there had already been a visit by members of the East End Women’s Institute and the gallery was filled with comprehensively tall-haired students from Wimbledon College of Arts. Henrot was awarded the Silver Lion for most promising artist at the Venice...
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Talking to a Friend Isn't the Same as Therapy

Talking to a Friend Isn't the Same as Therapy

Guardian journalist Zoe Williams has known integrative psychotherapist Julia Bueno since they were teenagers. But they have never before spoken about Julia’s profession - how it works, why she does it, and whether Zoe is sceptical about the whole process. Welldoing put them together for a truth-telling session. ZOE: My prejudice about therapy is that it's every day, it really gets into your life, it goes on for eight years, the therapist doesn't say very much and you talk yourself into an answer . JULIA: Therapy isn't like that. You are thinking about 'old...
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Why We Love Massage

Why We Love Massage

For as long as humans have walked on two legs we have consoled each other with our hands when injured or sad. The kindly touch from other humans soothes our tears and makes our pain more manageable. Massage therapy is the formalised method of a natural impulse but what a proliferation of styles and modalities there are!
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Getting to Know Your Genitals

Getting to Know Your Genitals

As a psychosexual therapist I often deliver sexuality and sexual education workshops to the wider public, and I have delivered many training days to male, female and mixed gender groups.  The groups consist of people of all ages - ranging from as young as 16, to over 70 years old – which gives me insight into a wide array of thoughts and viewpoints. One of the topics which surfaces frequently, is the different relationship men and women have with their genitals.  Of course, there is a big difference between the sexes ... in males, genitals are external and boys from...
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Yoga Through the Ages

Yoga Through the Ages

Yoga for your whole life From baby yoga to chair-based yoga for pensioners: there’s a class for every age and stage of life. When you approach yoga with the right mindset, it’s a truly ‘whole life’ practice that will sustain you throughout the decades. But different times in life call for different types of practice. What suits the hyperactive teenager is no good for the exhausted mother of toddlers, and what engages the retired arthritis-sufferer won’t sustain the driven 30-year-old career-builder. In this article, I want to take a look at yoga through the stages of...
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Culture Tip: The Book of Mormon

Culture Tip: The Book of Mormon

The next morning my cheeks are aching. A solid two and a half hours of smiling is hard to beat, and that’s exactly what The Book of Mormon induced in me. From the makers of South Park, the musical charts the progress of Elder Cunningham and Elder Price, two Mormon missionaries sent to Uganda on a divine quest to baptise as many people as possible. It simply feels gloriously unacceptable.  This musical is camper than a Carry On film, and so self-aware it almost hurts. It would be easy to piously reject jokes about rape, racism and Aids, but once you embrace the...
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Knitting Therapy

Knitting Therapy

The feel of soft yarn between your fingers, the rhythmic click-click-click of knitting needles, the satisfaction of watching your work growing inch by inch while at the the same time your breathing slows, your body relaxes and the cares of the day slip away with every stitch. No wonder knitting is so popular. People knit for four main reasons - relaxation, stress relief, therapeutic qualities and in order to be productive. The rise of this old-fashioned hobby over the last few years has very little to do with thrift - after all, you can buy a scarf on the high street...
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