In stressful moments we have no control over our racing heart, our surge in blood sugar, or the levels of stress hormones in our body. However, there are two things which can counteract the levels of anxiety which we do have control over. Firstly, taking slow, deep, ‘belly’ breaths can slow our body’s anxious state. The second thing we have control over is our smile.
Last year I hit the grand old age of sixty and I have to say it knocked me somewhat. Reaching forty and fifty had hardly touched me. But I wasn't ready for sixty. This got me thinking about the psychological aspects of growing old.
Do you recognise the phrase, ‘Put some elbow grease into it’. It generally implies that your efforts are a bit lacklustre and you need to apply a more oomph.
Now, as a psychologist, I wonder whether we need to apply some ‘elbow grease’ in our life. Do we expect the good things in life to be delivered on a plate? Do we give up too easily? Does modern life make us too soft?
Why is committing to exercise so hard? We all know that it will make us happy, reduce stress, improve our health and prolong our life. Even though it is a real ‘no-brainer’, many of us struggle putting it into practice.
Can you get through a whole day without complaining? I don’t mean the justifiable protest at getting shoddy service or goods. Instead, I mean the more day-to-day moaning and whinging about other people or the world in general.
We all have the potential to make tiny changes in our lives. From building fitness, to learning a language or how to dance, through to practicing meditation or yoga. The possibilities are endless.
Have you noticed the big increase in articles in the media telling us “how to be happy”? It’s a great idea but there are some problems to consider. Firstly, aiming for short term pleasures can bring happiness, but this can soon fall flat and often brings a heap of unwanted long term side effects.
Generalised Anxiety Disorder is the name we give to people who worry too much. Now, everyone worries, but an estimated eight percent of us, or 36,000 adults in Cornwall, worry so much that they lose sleep and feel physically ill with worry.
How often do you experience a real sense of gratitude? This can be either having a sense of being grateful for just being alive or being thankful to others around you for what they bring to your life.
Depression, unlike ordinary sadness, is something that we can’t just snap out of. It is a life-sapping condition that takes a heavy toll on our ability to live a normal life. And unfortunately it is on the rise and, at a conservative estimate, will be affecting 20,000 adults in Cornwall this year.
Whichever way you look at it, getting older in years is a process involving an inevitable steady decline. That’s the bad news. Is there any good news? One good thing is that many large scale studies would suggest that, on average, levels of happiness and contentment can rise as we get older. We tend to savour and appreciate life’s precious moments.
It is a common experience to find ourselves in a bad mood after an argument? But, what can we can do about this, if anything?
Nearly everyone has an irrational fear of something. Many fears, such as heights, spiders and snakes, have been hard-wired through evolution. Avoiding these things was good for survival. However, nowadays we also encounter modern phobias, such as, the fear of syringes and flying in an aeroplane.
What does 2016 hold in store for you? For many of us, we have some things we would like to do much more, and some things we’d like to do a lot less. So, maybe we would like to spend more time with our families, or keeping fit. Or on the other hand we’d like to be watching less TV, drinking more moderately, or to stop being so crazily busy.
Like our lives in general, Christmas has dramatically changed over the years. The great majority of us have lives that centuries ago would have been on a par with royalty! On a material level we have an abundance of food, warmth, clothes, electronics, and so on. Does this make us happier?