Mental Health

Podcast #052 What Is Your Secret Name?

That may well seem a strange question to ask. It comes from my conversation with Kary Oberbrunner (who I introduced in Podcast #051). Kary has released the second edition of his book, “Your Secret Name: An Uncommon Quest To Stop Pretending, Shed The Labels and Discover Your True Identity.” You can get a flavour of our conversation from the 2 minute video conversation with Kary below (apologies for the lighting changes towards the end and yes I do need to tidy up my office!): On the podcast we learn about
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Podcast #044 Lasting Happiness

Happiness! Who doesn’t want it? A recent google search on ‘how to be happy’ turned up 626 million results. Compare that to typing in ‘Donald Trump’ and you get 237 million items or ‘Brexit news’ where there is just 90 million! We all want to be happy. But what do we mean by happiness? I can be happy eating an ice cream and I can be happy meeting a long lost friend. But those two experiences are clearly very different. How can I find a happiness that leads to deeper
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How to get out of your head

How do I handle all the overwhelm and the many distractions I find myself having to deal with not just on a daily but even moment-by-moment basis? We have been looking at this 18 minute video by David Allen that gives much wisdom into this increasingly common life challenge: David Allen’s fundamental point is that the best way to deal with feelings of overwhelm is to get everything that is on your mind out of your head into some trustworthy external system. The simple act of writing it down is
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Why feeling overwhelmed can actually be a mind trick

I know that can seem hard to believe – but trust me on this! One of the marks of modern life is the nagging sense of all the things that need to be done. The list never seems to finish and it is so easy to feel overwhelmed and exhausted thinking about all you have to do. But does that have to be the case at all?  This 18 minute TED talk by David Allen gives a helpful perspective on how to deal with the feelings of overwhelm and never-ending
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Are you out of your mind?

That might well seem like a strange question for me to ask, especially as I work as a psychiatrist! It is actually from this 18 minute video by David Allen, who has spent many decades researching how the most productive people use their time in the least stressful way possible. I have been following David Allen’s work for approaching a decade and found his insights enormously helpful. I think you will too. Here are three ways our brains can help or hinder us: David Allen’s first main insight is that
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An incredibly brief history of medicine

The British National Health Service (NHS) reaches 70 years of age on 5 July 2018. There is much to be thankful for and celebrations to mark this anniversary are taking place all over the United Kingdom. In that time there have been previously unimaginable changes in medical treatment. In the UK it is remarkable how the NHS has evolved to continue to provide universal health care for the whole population, while still being free at the point of delivery. However, in the overall history of medicine the NHS is relatively
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What is it like to have a stroke?

Jill Bolte Taylor is a Harvard-trained neuroanatomist who experienced a severe bleed in the left hemisphere of her brain in 1996. By the afternoon she could not walk, talk, read, write, or recall any of her life. It took eight years for her to completely recover all of her physical function and thinking ability. This 18 minute talk from 2008 was given twelve years after her experience. Such was the impression she made it was the first TED talk to go viral on the Internet: This is a deeply personal
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The Master and His Emissary

You can make a pretty strong case for saying that the human brain is the most complex object in the entire universe. It contains 100 billion nerve cells (called neurones). Each of these neurones contains a vast electrochemical complex and powerful micro-data-processing system. As complex as each cell is it would fit on the head of a pin! And in spite of all the research in the last century there is much we still do not understand. Someone who has thought about this a lot is Iain McGilchrist. He is a
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Podcast #041: How can faith and prayer enhance mental health?

I was recently pleasantly surprised to be invited by a prestigious financial institution to speak on the subject of how prayer and faith can enhance mental health. It was a wonderful privilege. On this podcast I unpack the main elements of my talk along with exploring how money is such a helpful analogy in pointing to understanding spiritual treasure. In particular we explore: How faith and prayer enhance mental health as I am able to delight in God for who He is rather than what I can get out of
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The power of the right question

I now suspect it was bound to happen sooner or later. I was recently on a skiing holiday and managed to break a bone in my left arm. As I write this I am plastered up with a sling and can just about type with a single finger! At this point it would be so easy to get frustrated and disappointed with life, myself and the universe. I could ask myself questions like, “Why am I such a bad skier? Why did I allow myself to go on that slope?
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Preventing permanent solutions to temporary problems

I have a friend who over 10 years ago made a serious suicide attempt. His wife had called me at around 8.30am saying he had left home very early without speaking to her. She knew he had a lot on his mind and was worried about him. He had not responded to her repeated calls or texts. He was not at his office. We agreed the police needed to be called. Thankfully his attempt was unsuccessful and all these years later he is in a much more positive place. Sadly that
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An unspoken and hidden epidemic?

One of the great tragedies of modern life is the increasing numbers of people who feel life is not worth living. It is a difficult subject that gets relatively little coverage and yet when you look at the statistics it is quite staggering how widespread an issue it is in our increasingly complex and challenging world. According to Dr Catherine Le Gals- Camus, a former WHO Assistant -Director General, Non-communicable Diseases and Mental Health,  “Suicide is a largely preventable public health problem, causing almost half of all violent deaths as
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How to get better at almost anything

This short 5 minute video helpfully illustrates what is needed to get better at practically any skill. While the focus is on physical activities such as playing an instrument or throwing a ball, the same principles are assumed to apply to any field of endeavour you might want to get better at. In a fast changing and increasingly complex world the need to learn new skills and to be able to get better is vital if not essential. Hence practice becomes very important if we are going to improve in
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3 prescriptions for lifting depression without pills

This 16 minutes talk by clinical psychologist Susan Heitler provides helpful insights into dealing with depressive and negative thoughts without the use of medication. What she proposes is looking first at what in your life may be causing you to feel the way you do. The analogy of the common cold is helpful. While a common cold can be quite mild, in the short term it can leave you feeling quite miserable. There is also the risk of the cold developing into something more serious like a sinus infection or
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How can faith and prayer enhance mental health?

I was recently asked to talk at a financial institution on this subject from a Biblical perspective.  Its a huge subject and I was given only 10 minutes along with speakers from Jewish and Muslim backgrounds! This is a summary and transcript of what I was able to say. As it was at a financial institution it made sense to use money as an important theme! Indeed as we have previously discussed there are 2350 verses in the Bible on money – more than there are on faith or prayer
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    This information is for educational purposes only, and is in no way intended to be personal medical advice. Please ask your physician about any health guidelines seen in this blog, as everyone is different in his or her medical needs.