Aug 22

Why Good Advice Might Be Bad Advice (and vice versa)

Go to Italy. by QuinnDombrowski, on Flickr

Original Photo © Quinn Dombrowski, QuinnDombrowski on Flickr.
CC BY-SA 2.0


[post status: a little rough, but there’s something useful buried in here!]

Here’s some advice you might hear if you’re dealing with anxiety:

“It doesn’t matter WHY you’re struggling, accept the feelings and focus instead on the present”

Sounds great. But, then, so does this: “we should confront and heal our past traumas so they stop bothering us in the present”!

And these good-sounding bits of advice seem to be contradictory..!

How are we supposed to know WHEN to confront past traumas, and when to let go and focus on the present?

(And I bet you’ve come across loads more of these seemingly-contradictory pairs of advice.)

Here’s an answer I often return to:

Read more…

Aug 06

‘Working Conversations’ Talk about Anxiety

You might be interested in this talk I was invited to give recently at the University of Liverpool.

The occasion was “Working Conversations”, a conference intended to discuss what a better mental health service might look like.

I was invited to share my experiences with anxiety, some thoughts about custard, and to throw open a few questions for the ‘proper’ experts to consider during their discussions for the rest of the day.

Hopefully I did an alright job! You can see the talk via this link.

I’m very interested in your feedback, so please do let me know what you make of it below!

Jul 17

Low Effort Post

Occasionally I wonder if I should post something of absolutely zero value, in order to demonstrate that it’s okay to do something totally rubbish and with zero effort from time-to-time.

Read more…

Jun 06

Have Fun, For Fun’s Sake!

[This relatively sensible post was originally written for puttylike.com]

I often feel pressure, like questions are burnt into my brain by endless repetition:

Am I contributing to the world right now?

Am I making enough money?

Am I deepening myself, learning new skills and growing as a person?

You might think that achieving any of these goals would be sufficient, but sometimes even when I manage one of them feels like it’s not enough. While I’m learning something valuable, I still feel pressure that I’m not contributing, or earning, or… or… or…

Read more…

Status update

“Work is accomplishment without creativity or nourishment”

May 17

You Can’t Not Do Things, You Can Only Do Them

[Another quick post today.]

Sometimes it seems as if the solution to a problem is to NOT do something.

For example, if our problem is “I can’t stop thinking about this person” it might seem that we simply have to stop thinking about them.

Obvious, right?

No. Actually, that’s impossible.

Read more…

May 03

Do More Things You Enjoy

[SUPER QUICK POST]

Today, some Incredibly Obvious Advice Which I Always Forget.

You know those things you enjoy doing?

(Perhaps you don’t. For me, modern life often turns into a kind of repetitive drudgery where days blend into one another. Even so, there’s usually something at some point lately which brought some joy. It’s useful to notice “what’s been fun, joyful, enjoyable, good lately” every now and then.)

Here’s my suggestion: try and do more of those things you like.

Read more…

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…

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