Mar 31

Do You Plan, Ruminate, Worry, Poke, Prod, and Fumble? How to Stop Overanalysing Your Life

[This post was originally written for puttylike.com]

I’ve been planning to write this post for approximately seven years.

Every possible paragraph has been carefully researched. Each of my thoughts has been studied intensely by a number of focus groups so that they are perfectly formed.

(In fact, the focus groups were themselves chosen by focus groups, although it took me several months of careful focus-grouping to realise that that was the correct strategy.)

As such, I am confident that this post is the very best it could possibly be, except-

Wait.

Read more…

Mar 25

How to Write a Great Non-Fiction Book, Probably

diary writing by freddie boy, on Flickr; how to write a book

Original Photo © Fredrik Rubensson, froderik on Flickr.
CC BY-SA 2.0

Instead of my usual musing about anxiety & brains & life & things, today I’m going to answer some questions I got sent about how to write a book.

Specifically, my correspondent wanted to know how to write a great non-fiction book.

Before you say it… god knows why they came to me.

I certainly don’t claim to be a world expert in writing non-fiction. At best, I’m probably the world’s foremost humorously custard-based mental health writer.

Even so, my comedy book about anxiety has been surprisingly successful, so perhaps something in my experience might be useful to somebody.

As I started replying to the email, I realised this might benefit from being more widely shared. So here we are.


How to Write a Book, A Bit:

Read more…

Mar 18

Sort of Fake It till you Sort of Make It

[post status: a quick & messy throwaway thought]

It’s a two-way street between our feelings and our actions. Sometimes we perform well because we’re confident, but acting confident also helps our performance.

Hence the popular advice: “Fake it till you make it!”

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Feb 27

Do You Feel the Need to Be Impressive?

[This post was originally written for puttylike.com]

Hi, my name’s Neil Hughes and, because I’m human, I want you to be impressed by me.

This is a normal urge. We are social animals, so it’s natural to be concerned about our status within the tribe.

Our brains: Am I important? What do people think when they meet me?

As ever, there’s both a healthy mindset and an unhealthy mindset about our own impressiveness. Here’s an example of each:

Read more…

Feb 17

Jiggling an Imaginary Rope Helps You Re-Evaluate Your Life

[Warning: contains mild physics.]

Imagine a short piece of rope. We’ll call him Ropert.

Let’s imagine that Ropert represents our lives.

Read more…

Feb 01

Why You’re So Confused About What You Want

[This post was originally written for puttylike.com]

There’s lots of advice out there on how to achieve your dreams.

But what if I don’t know what my dream even is?! How on earth do I move on when I have difficulty realising what I even want?

Read more…

Jan 18

Is it Too Late for Me?

[This post was originally written for puttylike.com]

At some point, everyone worries if it’s too late. Time comes for us all. Our lives drip away at a constant rate of one second per second. This is – to put it mildly – slightly worrying.

Worse, we can’t escape the realization that every choice we make forces us to leave all other paths untaken. Decisions made in childhood can prevent us from entering whole professions decades later.

Then there’s the media, “helpfully” presenting constant images of youth, subtly reinforcing the idea that if we haven’t achieved enough by the time we’re twenty thirty forty whatever age, we have failed.

And so our brains put a ticking clock on every dream, and we wonder… “Is this it for me now? Am I stuck? Is it too late?!”

Read more…

Jan 04

The Past is The Past is The Past

Time by dkalo, on Flickr

Original Photo © Dimitris Kalogeropoylos, dkalo on Flickr.
CC BY-SA 2.0

[Status: Only a quick undeveloped realisation.]

Isn’t it weird that something that happened years ago “feels like yesterday”, while something that happened last week “feels like forever ago”?

Well actually, I’ve just realised it might not be weird at all.

Read more…

Dec 14

Some Reminders About Your Value

Value by MootreeLife, on Flickr

Original Photo © Jackie, mootreelife on Flickr.
CC BY-ND 2.0

 .


It’s surprisingly easy to forget these things about ourselves:

Read more…

Dec 05

Doing Things is Overrated… So Stop (A Bit)

resting by Michael Cory, on Flickr

Original Photo © Michael Cory, khouri on Flickr.
CC BY 2.0

You know that bit in the Simpsons intro where Maggie is steering on a pretend wheel to mimic the driving that Marge is doing?

Maggie (copyright Fox, or whoever owns the Simpsons these days)

Maggie Simpson (copyright Fox, or whoever owns the Simpsons these days)

Our brains would genuinely be happier if we could attach a fake steering wheel to “life” and pretend we were controlling everything that happens to us.

Read more…

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