Don’t beat yourself up just yet.

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via Unsplash

Have you seen that Vanessa Hudgens clip where she says “People will die. And it’s sad, but inevitable!” I could never be like that, I understand COVID is still out there, and it sounds so horrible, but…you know?

In an Instagram voice message, my friend expresses frustration: then guilt. We miss eachother. We want to meet up. We know we can’t.

We’ve both been working, eating, sleeping and studying in our bedrooms with very little human contact for 7 months.

I do know.

Increasingly this autumn, the phrase “pandemic fatigue” has been bandied around. Pandemic fatigue isn’t referring to a COVID-19 symptom, but a psychological one. …


The reason it survived two millennia

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Levi Clancy // Unsplash

As a psychologist, my favourite philosophy is Stoicism.

A lot of other philosophies can be interesting to muse over. Like pointing out clusters of stars, and wondering what shape they form. Beyond intellectual fancy, though, -isms rarely strengthen us.

Stoicism is practical and it works.

Philosophy can get so caught up in whether or not God’s dead, it forgets that most of the time we can’t spare a thought for metaphysics because we’re busy being a human — which is to say, a mess.

Stoicism never forgot.

In this story, we’re going to look at how Stoicism shaped psychology — and helped keep your modern mind healthy in the process. …


“Real” jobs don’t exist.

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Image via Unsplash

I graduated from a university consistently ranked as one of the top 50 in the world.

You know how many uni friends I have who graduated into the life we’re “supposed” to have? Who have already landed a full-time graduate job in 2020, moved to London, and fall into the landlord category of young professional?

One.

Renting the top flat of a terrace that two roommates have already evacuated. Both lost their London jobs in the pandemic and suddenly couldn’t afford to live there anymore.

For every friend I have in a full-time city job, I have three that are making jewelry at home. …


Learn from a University of Missouri study.

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via Unsplash

Heartbreak is defined as a state of “devastating emotional loss”.

Almost all of us will be heartbroken by the loss of a romantic partner at some point in our lives. It’s as universal and fundamental as love.

That doesn’t make it any less painful.

Based on the strength of the relationship lost, heartbreak varies in severity and duration.

A study by the Journal of Positive Psychology found it takes 11 weeks, on average, to feel better after the loss of a romantic partner. This was regardless of being the dumper or dumpee. Those with secure parental attachments recovered faster.

For a marital split, the healing process can take 18 months once finalised — divorced couples are likely to have been separated long before that. …


A quick experiment to examine your mindset.

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Image via Unsplash

Creativity isn’t just for artists.

Anything you do that generates ideas to solve a problem is creative.

Creativity is both trainable and testable. The quick below exercise will help you test and train your own.

The Dog

Here’s the problem:

Your neighbour’s dog won’t stop barking. You’ve talked to him, and he refuses to do anything. How can you get the dog to shut up?

Grab a piece of paper and scribble down as many ideas as you can. 2 minutes. No peeking. Go.

The Solutions

Are basically infinite. …


The wonderful simplicity of positive psychology’s exercise

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Image via GIPHY

A lot of famous psychology is centered around people being terrible.

If it’s Freud, everything is your parents’ fault; if it’s Zimbardo, people put on a uniform and turn into monsters; if it’s Milgram, people are willing to electrocute a stranger. Yikes.

As a psychologist, this has often frustrated me. The truth is that most people are good, most of the time.

If so much is going right for so many people if so many people are well-adjusted and happy, then why aren’t we focusing on and learning from their habits, too?

This is how I became interested in positive psychology — and grew happier in the process. …


The studies behind the cultural obsession.

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via GIPHY

Is there any other mental health condition that receives such dark glamour as psychopathy?

As a culture, we’re obsessed.

(I’ll let you draw your own conclusions on that last one when we go over the symptoms.)

Cutting through the cultural myths to the actual science is hard — especially when the media is quick to label any violent criminal, rapist, or murderer a psychopath as a freebie catch-all for “bad person”. …


And two ways we can work with them.

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via Unsplash [link]

“So, next time you see someone sleeping, make believe you’re in a science fiction movie. And whisper, ‘The creature is regenerating itself.” — George Carlin

We spend a third of our lives asleep, without really knowing why it happens, or what it is.

Can you imagine spending a third of your life at work, without ever learning what your job was? You’d go into each day expecting its failure or success to be a total gamble, beyond your control.

Don’t treat your sleep like Russian roulette.

The science of sleep has made leaps and bounds over the last half a century. It’s made up some of my favourite neuroscience and psychology papers in the U.K. …


A masterclass from research on the flow state.

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via GIPHY

Attention is our most precious resource.

It’s also one we’re giving away like free sweets. We give up hours of attention each day with little to show for it — scrolling Facebook, watching YouTube compilations.

What if we could spend this same time in an intensely rewarding way?

This is where the flow state comes in. In 1975, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a famous psychologist and founder of positive psychology, investigated which states people felt the happiest in: which enabled them to find meaning in their lives.

He interviewed rock climbers, surgeons, shepherds, artists, and scientists of all incomes and backgrounds. He found they all held the ability to attain a state of “effortless absorption and control” in common. …


Lessons on how our lives can fuel our creativity.

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Virginia Woolf, circa 1928. Via Alamy.

The benefit of having a writer as prolific and beloved as Virginia Woolf is that, long after the woman herself is gone, we still hold the key to the inner rooms of her mind.

It’s all caught on those thousands and thousands of pages.

You could devote your whole life to reading this one woman and still have questions on your deathbed. Reading her is a little like the endless full shelves in the Library of Babel: if a feeling can be felt, if a word exists, Woolf has felt and used it somewhere.

“Communication is truth; communication is happiness. To share is our duty; to go down boldly and bring to light those hidden thoughts which are the most diseased; to conceal nothing; to pretend nothing.” …

About

Hannah Davies

Accredited psychologist, England. Smuggling useful truths out of academia. Gen Z.

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