I’m often struck by the bile and verbal abuse on social media, particularly Twitter. In normal life, people tend to be respectful of acquaintances who don’t share their opinions. The online world is less polite in this respect. Venting on social media can be an outlet for your frustrations, but you should resist the urge to do so – black-and-white, hyper-critical thinking can become a bad habit, hurting your mood and relationships.
Sometimes, you can get away with bad decisions – for example, a drunk driver not crashing on their way back from the pub – but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a bad decision. Similarly, you can be unlucky; good decisions can lead to unforeseen outcomes. My latest Southern Star column talks about outcome bias, and how it can lead to unnecessary regret, rumination and self-criticism.
Brewing fresh coffee before the morning chores, cosying up with a hot water bottle as you settle into your Saturday night movie, changing into lounge clothing after turning off the laptop - we all have our own little rituals. My latest Southern Star column explores how rituals can enrich experience and create meaning.
Dr Marsha Linehan, who founded DBT and is one of the most celebrated psychologists in the world today, spent two years in a psychiatric hospital when she was 17. Marsha eventually found a way out of her own personal hell and resolved to ‘help people find the path to getting out of hell’ themselves. In this column, I explore Marsha's invalidating relationship with her mother, her intense self-loathing, and her advice for people who hate themselves and who try to be someone they're not.
People often make the mistake of thinking that good mental health is all about positive thinking. As a result, many people turn to books like Norman Vincent Peale's The Power of Positive Thinking or Rhonda Byrne's The Secret. That's not a good idea: an excessive emphasis on positive thinking can be very dangerous, as America discovered under the leadership of Donald Trump.
Have you ever found yourself worrying about something you’ve got to do in the near future – say, giving a work presentation to a large group of people – and thought: if I’m this anxious now, imagine how freaked out I’m going to be on the day itself?
Here’s the thing: chances are, it won’t be that bad at all. My latest column is about anticipatory anxiety and explains that the anxiety you feel when anticipating a feared event is not a true predictor of how you will feel on the day.