Self-Knowledge

How Mental Illness Closes Down Our Minds

It may sound odd or impolite to suggest that most of us, when we are in the grip of mental illness, are no longer capable of thinking. That’s not how it…

Sociability

Companionship and Mental Health

One of the cruellest aspects of mental illness is that it strips us of any ability to believe that other people might be suffering in the way we are. We aren’t…

Self-Knowledge

The Role of Love in Mental Health

The one ingredient on which any recovery from serious mental illness depends is also one which, curiously and grievously, never makes an appearance in any medical handbook or psychiatric diagnostic, namely…

Self-Knowledge

The Role of Sleep in Mental Health

Part of the reason why many of us have a tangled and unhelpful relationship to sleep can be traced back to the way we first learnt about the subject many years…

Self-Knowledge

The Role of Pills in Mental Health

A standard strategy, when we are physically unwell, is to head to the doctor, take a pill and then expect, in a short while, to feel a lot better. This recourse…

Self-Knowledge

Mental Illness and Acceptance

One of the great contributing factors to mental illness is the idea that we should at all costs and and all times be well. We suffer far more than we should…

Self-Knowledge

What is Mental Health?

So efficient and hushed are our brains in their day to day operations, we are apt to miss what an extraordinary and complicated achievement it is to feel mentally well. A…

Leisure

Zen Buddhism and Fireflies

One of nature’s odder creatures is the firefly, a soft bodied beetle that emits a warm yellow glow from its lower abdomen, typically at twilight, in order to attract mates or…

Self-Knowledge

Trauma and Fearfulness

Some of the reason why we are far more fearful, inhibited and sad than we should be is that we are – unbeknownst to ourselves – wandering through our lives with…

Self-Knowledge

Trauma and EMDR Therapy

The fundamental idea behind psychotherapy is that we tend to grow mentally unwell because we haven’t been able to think with sufficient clarity about the difficulties in our past, typically in…

Sociability

How Often Do We Need to Go to Parties?

One of the major reasons why our lives are busier than they might be is that we come under immense pressures to ‘go out’, usually in the evening, typically to one…

Work

How to Retire Early

One of the most common and deeply-cherished fantasies of our times is the idea that we might ‘retire early.’ Websites abound promising to help us with the dream, managing our finances,…

Leisure

How to Read Fewer Books

The modern world firmly equates the intelligent person with the well-read person. Reading books, a lot of books, is the hallmark of brilliance as well as the supreme gateway to prestige…

Work

Winners and Losers in the Race of Life

Our societies have advanced tendencies to label certain people ‘winners’ and others – logically enough – ‘losers’. Aside from the evident meanness of this categorisation, the underlying problem with it is…

Sociability

What Love Really Is – and Why It Matters

There is so much talk of love in our societies, it would be natural to think that we must by now know what it is and why it counts. Love is…

Work

The Concept of Voluntary Poverty

A distinctive feature of modern times is the extent to which we tend to devote our brief lives to making – or aspiring to make – money. We worry as we…

Work

Being on the Receiving End of Pity

Given how outright mean many people are, it might be odd to single out as particularly problematic and especially painful a kind of treatment that might, on the surface, seem very…

Self-Knowledge

On Despair and the Imagination

It may sound strange to locate the problem here, but some of our most despairing moods are caused by failures of the imagination. We are not merely ‘sad’; we cannot picture…