The secret to thriving even through the tough times

emotions mindset resilience Jul 07, 2021

In his book simply titled, “But I survived”, Tadeusz Sobolewicz shares the story of his personal ordeal surviving six Nazi concentration camps, a Gestapo prison and a nine-day death march. It is the harrowing tale of a man who fought bravely to stay alive in hellish conditions for the duration of World War 11.  

Thankfully, most of us will never have to face such extreme hardship but Sobolewicz’s story nonetheless has relevance for our lives today. We may not be trying to escape death but difficulties come in all shapes and sizes. And this tragic tale of woe is also one of hope. Hope that whispers, “you can too”.    

Of course, we know that for every Sobolewicz, there are many more who give up. Plenty who try and fail and fail to rise again.

So, what enables one person to overcome whilst another crumples in defeat?

I believe the answer lies in resilience. Resilience is the antidote to succumbing, complaining, blaming and numbing....

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What do financial investing and emotional health have in common?

emotions wellbeing Jun 16, 2021

No, this has nothing to do with the idea that money makes you happy. I’m no financial guru and I’m not about to share tips on investing in stocks and shares. But one thing I know from the financial masters is that investing succeeds because of compounding.

Albert Einstein described compound interest as “the eighth wonder of the world”. It’s a faster way to grow money because you earn interest on interest. In a nutshell, you invest money which earns interest giving you a bigger sum of money. The following year, you earn interest on that bigger sum and this cycle continues causing exponential growth.

Now the miracle of compounding, as it’s sometimes called, doesn’t just apply to money. It works equally well in other areas including our emotional health.

There are many things we can do to take care of our emotional well-being. Each time, we make one of those “investments”, we lift our baseline mood to a higher level. The next...

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5 Simple Ways to Demystify Emotions

alexithymia autism emotions Jun 09, 2021

Have you ever recognised someone but not been quite sure who they are? That sense of knowing but not knowing at the same time. The person looks familiar but you aren’t sure how or if you know them.

These impressions are like the way we experience our emotions. Especially the softer ones. Strong emotions are easier to detect but there are times when it’s hard to put your finger on what you are actually feeling.

This isn’t surprising when you consider the nature of emotions. Like our thoughts, they are neural messages which are not easily defined or understood. They can linger or be fleeting. They can layer or combine with each other to create different nuances.  

Most of us can read internal physical states, like pain, hunger or thirst without difficulty. We don’t easily confuse these signals unless they are very mild.   

Autistic children, do however, have more difficulty recognising their internal physical states1. This tends to disappear in...

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The salt and pepper approach to managing emotions

emotions stress Jun 02, 2021

Salt and pepper, knives and forks, socks and shoes, hot chocolate, and marshmallows. There are some things which just go together … although the jury is still out on hot chocolate and marshmallows.

Each of these things has a unique function. If you run out of salt, you can’t improve the taste of food with extra pepper. Two knives don’t make for easy eating and an extra pair of socks won’t cut it if you’ve forgotten your shoes.  

Synergy is defined by the Oxford dictionary as “the interaction or cooperation of two or more organisations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.

When it comes to our emotions, we are similarly equipped with two complimentary systems that work in a synergistic way.

On the one hand, we have neural pathways in a part of the brain known as the limbic system. These neural networks help us to make sense of our world. They underpin our emotional...

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The truth about emotions that most people don’t know

If you’ve lived for a minute, you’ve probably seen the words “keep calm and carry on” written somewhere. That was the slogan put out by the British government to prepare people for World War 2. More recently, it makes for good marketing and you can find it’s cousin on just about anything from socks for woman in labour (“keep calm and push”) to mugs for stressed out teachers (“keep calm and pretend it’s on the lesson plan”).

I know the intention is good but actually, it’s terrible advice! As some wise soul said, “never in the history of calming down has anyone calmed down by being told to calm down”.

Staying calm is about keeping things under wraps. But emotions are unpredictable. They make us feel vulnerable. And in a heightened emotional state, we are prone to saying or doing things that we later regret. So, we resort to control. 

Through our childhood years and beyond, we are very likely to hear...

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