The people around us

I discovered the other day that someone I have known for many years committed suicide. This is the second time I have experienced someone connected to me taking their own life; a friend of mine also committed suicide when he and I were both in our late teens. Knowing one person who took their own life is relatively common – the statistics show that around 1 in every 6200 people worldwide commits suicide. But knowing two is certainly getting to be unusual. Continue reading “The people around us”

Chemicals and depression

There was an article on the BBC News website a couple of weeks ago outlining a potential new treatment for the severely depressed. The treatment is nasally-administered ketamine which, according to a study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, led to significant improvements in the symptoms of heavily depressed and suicidal patients.

The effects were short-lived, levelling out after 25 days, but were considered to be significant enough that the team behind the trial are now entering phase three trials (the last phase of clinical trials in which the drug is tested for efficacy and safety on a large group of patients) with the intention of bringing a new product to market. Continue reading “Chemicals and depression”

Is life about happiness?

I’m not sure why, but I have never seen happiness as a necessary outcome of my life. Indeed, for large portions of my life, I haven’t even seen my own happiness as desirable. I don’t know whether that is, in itself, good or bad but I do know that at many times I have lacked a way of clearly orienting myself in the world. I am still not able to do so all the time but I certainly have a much clearer idea about which direction I am travelling in. Continue reading “Is life about happiness?”

Man walking on beach

How to get started exercising

The Basics

There is a great deal written about exercise: how you should exercise, when you should exercise, what body parts you should exercise… The MOST IMPORTANT PART of exercising is simply deciding to do it and ACTUALLY DOING IT.

Once you have made the decision, just do it – in whatever form you feel most comfortable and engaged with. Walk, run, swim, pogo stick, skip, play football… Whatever takes your fancy, just do it. Continue reading “How to get started exercising”

Mindfulness

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is one of the most valuable and transformative meditation techniques I have tried – and I’ve tried plenty! I am always sceptical of techniques and processes that make bold claims to change your life but in this case there is not only anecdotal evidence (myself included) but also scientific evidence.

The technique is remarkably simple but it is the deliberate practice of it that makes it so effective. Keep reading