Would you describe yourself as left wing or right wing? According to recent research the way your brain responds to images of disgust can predict your political leanings with a phenomenal degree of accuracy
Many dog-owners were moved by Walnut the Whippet’s last journey across Porth Beach in Newquay. Walnut’s owner, Mark Woods, was accompanied by hundreds of well-wishers as he carried his special pet along the beach, before the frail and elderly dog was put into a ‘final sleep’ at the local vets.
The Russian playwright Anton Chekhov is alleged to have said, “Any idiot can face a crisis — it’s this day-to-day living that wears you out”. We can all recognise this. You see mostly people can endure major traumas and heartaches with great resilience. They may have a rough time in the process, but invariably they end up in a stronger position. We are pretty robust creatures when it comes to the big things that happen to us.
What do you value in your life? You won’t need reminding that you only have one shot at it. Miss it and it’s gone for good. In 2012, an Australian nurse, Bronnie Ware, working in palliative care, wrote a moving book called “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying”. She found five repeating themes when people near the end of life talked about their life regrets.
When did you last discuss something with someone and came to the conclusion that they were right and that you were wrong? For many of us the answer to this question will be, “Not for a while”. We all want to be seen as open-minded, but in reality, humans struggle to change an opinion once they have mentally signed up for it. We tend to defend our position even in the face of many contradictory facts.
Are you procrastinating your life away? Are you forever putting things off until tomorrow? If you are, then you won’t be surprised to hear that you are probably underachieving in your life. However, the research also tells us that if you chronically procrastinate you are more likely to experience stress and other health problems. How does that work?
[Guest author - Sarah Counter, Cognitive Behavioural Therapist with Outlook South West]
We all know that exercise is good for us, research shows that physical activity can boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy, as well as reducing the chances of stress, depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. However sometimes it can be hard to engage in mainstream exercise for various reasons such as illness and as such we can find ourselves inactive with reduced mobility which can have a significant impact on mood.
I was ten minutes late for a dental appointment last week. It had been a fraught journey. I explained to the dentist that I had been stuck at a level crossing, held up behind a learner driver and then couldn’t find a parking space. This was all actually true, although, if I’m honest, I was also slightly over-egging it. To give reasons for our actions is very normal. And, our brain can fire out these reasons all day long. We give reasons in order to be reasonable. If I had been asked why I was late, and replied, “No reason”, then I would have been unreasonable.
Our thoughts are not to be trusted. This may sound a little extreme, but learning this fact can be tremendously helpful. The normal human brain provides a relentless ongoing commentary about the world and what we are doing. Sometimes the stories in this commentary are factual. But more often than not, they consist of judgements, evaluations, predictions and protests. For example, I had one client whose brain would routinely call him a ‘stupid, useless moron’ every time he made a mistake. (He was in fact a university lecturer!).
Guest Written by...
Catherine Collin, Clinical Psychologist & Director