04. April 2024
You're trying to stick to a healthy eating plan, feeling good about your progress. Then, you succumb to temptation, and eat a slice of cake. Suddenly, a nagging voice whispers, "Well, you've already blown it, so might as well enjoy the whole cake!" Can you relate? My latest Southern Star column looks at what psychologists have dubbed the what-the-hell effect.
2024 · 21. March 2024
Anyone who has cycled a bike knows what it’s like to cycle into a strong wind, and how you focus on how hard it is to be blown back. Unfortunately, we don’t take the same notice if a tailwind pushes us forward; instead, it’s quickly forgotten. It’s human nature to react this way. Our brains have a built-in negativity bias which means we notice and focus on the headwinds, but often forget or barely notice the tailwinds. My latest column looks at how we can overcome this negativity bias.
2024 · 07. March 2024
In times of crisis, emotions can be overwhelming. My latest Southern Star column explains why it can be very helpful to use the TIPP (Temperature, Intense exercise, Paced breathing, and Progressive muscle relaxation) technique to manage overwhelming emotions.
2024 · 22. February 2024
World-renowned CBT researcher and OCD expert Prof. Paul Salkovskis once asked therapists attending an OCD workshop to write down: ‘Today my partner (or best friend) will die in a car crash’. Only one third did this – the others changed the wording or said they were unable to do so. Clearly, many of us are prone to superstitious, magical thinking. My latest column explores the issue of thought-action fusion and details some simple exercises to test the power (or lack of power) of your thoughts.
2024 · 08. February 2024
Negative thinking isn’t good for you, but the same can be said of excessively positive thinking. My latest Southern Star column explores magical thinking – the false belief that your thoughts or wishes can somehow influence the external world.
2024 · 25. January 2024
Everyone wants to be happy – or do they? My latest Southern Star column explores how many of us devalue happiness in our day-to-day lives.
2024 · 11. January 2024
A negative thinking style can hurt your mood and well-being. My latest Southern Star column offers some CBT tips on how to develop a more helpful, balanced thinking style in 2024.
2023 · 28. December 2023
If you’re a socially anxious person, you might dread the idea of socialising, and cope with this anxiety by engaging in what CBT researchers call safety behaviours. Such behaviours - foe example, excessively rehearsing what you will say to a person, avoiding eye contact, wearing cool clothes to avoid blushing - are designed to manage anxiety-provoking situations. It's an understandable strategy, but safety behaviours are not a good idea. My latest column explains why.
2023 · 14. December 2023
CBT places a lot of emphasis on cognitive distortions – essentially, thinking errors that can hurt our mental health. In my latest Southern Star column, I talk about one of the most common and potentially damaging cognitive distortions – disqualifying the positives in your life.
2023 · 30. November 2023
Imagine a genie appears in front of you and grants you three wishes. The genie will grant any wish you make. What are your three wishes? My latest Southern Star column explores how people tend to answer this question and why we often forget about happiness as we go about our daily lives.

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