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    Minimalism as the examined life

    A couple of thousand years ago, an uncompromising Athenian philosopher by the name of Socrates said that the unexamined life is not worth living. It’s a provocative idea. Similar sentiments surface and resurface across history, and across cultures. Perhaps we need to hear this message again and again precisely because we find it so hard to take on board. Perhaps,…

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    Mindfulness meditation: Reinventing the wheel?

    “You’re just reinventing the wheel! This has all been said before! What’s the point?” Some people imagine that inspiration comes from nothing, that creativity is like a sort of psychological Big Bang. It doesn’t. It isn’t. Scientific ideas evolve over time, and they’re often based on earlier, non-scientific ideas, at least to start. Take the atomic theory — the idea…

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    Don’t wait on confidence

    You wake up, uncomfortable, to beeping sounds and urgent voices. “He’s awake!” There are voices. Hurried footsteps. You notice the uncomfortable tubes. You’re in hospital. Over the next hour you learn you’ve been suffering from a mysterious it-could-only-happen-in-Hollywood illness. You’re recovering now but you have completely forgotten who you are. You have simply no recollection of your previous life. You…

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    Use your brain’s processing power wisely

    Back in the day it was common to charge by the hour for time on a computer. I suppose that dying institution, the cyber café, still does this, and of course in research facilities and university departments across the globe, time on a mainframe or supercomputer is still allocated on a chargeable basis. Computer scientists break down complicated things (like…

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    Our ironic attitude to death

    As a culture, we avoid talking about death. Whether it’s because of existential angst (the worry about what’ll happen to us after we die?), a simple association with sadness and sorrow (we’ve experienced other peoples deaths but by definition we’ve never died ourselves), or because of an empathic understanding of how sad our death may make our friends and loved…

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    Why I am a Coaching Psychologist

    Last semester, a student asked me “Why are you a Coaching Psychologist, and not a therapist, when you clearly know so much about psychotherapy?” (I paid him for the flattery later.) I gave a rather glib answer at the time, and since then I’ve been wanting to find time to marshall my thoughts and be honest and upfront about my…

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    Mindful eating helps your brain control appetite

    As a psychologist, I probably shouldn’t be surprised, but I still am. I remember drawing hugely complex diagrams of the nervous system for my masters degree, showing all the nerves going into and out of the brain, making contact with virtually every organ and system of the body. I know, intellectually speaking, that the nervous system, and thereby the brain,…

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    Three signals that you’ve eaten enough

    You may not have spent much time thinking about what it means to have had enough food. It’s obvious, isn’t it? You stop when you’re full. If someone asks, “how do you know when you’re full?” you might respond that it’s just like asking, “how do you know you have a pain in your knee?” The answer is, “you just…