Secure attachment

If a child feels cared for, loved and validated, they are more likely to achieve success. A mother’s love is a “dangerous instrument”, said John Watson, an American psychologist and early 20th-century behaviourist. He believed that affection from parents stunts children’s emotional development. What a long way we have come from this way of thinking.…

Help for insomnia and sleep

Can’t sleep?  You’re not alone.  Whether you experience difficulty falling asleep (onset insomnia), or wake several times during the early morning hours (early-morning insomnia), these simple behavioral interventions can assist in developing good nighttime routines. It can be helpful before you start implementing these interventions, to track information about your sleep as it currently is,…

The importance of breaks

The creation of positive rituals around your stress and recovery time is likely to be a key to your productivity whether at work or at home. In the early 1980s, psychologist Jim Loehr was trying to figure out the difference between tennis stars and those who played well but didn’t quite make it to the…

Dealing with post-holiday blues

We’re all probably familiar with the feeling: a sense of regret as we contemplate the approaching end of our holiday. Here are a few tips for easing back into your routine. I asked another psychologist who’d recently returned from a Hawaiian holiday what she practices when trying to readjust to reality. Here are our combined…

Bad habits triggers

Once you identify the triggers that are specific to you, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is much easier. To eat less, you have to put less food in your mouth. Easy, right? If only it were that simple. People who have tried a number of different diets often realise that maintaining a healthy weight is less…

How to cultivate optimism

“I want to be happy,” Anne whispered, her eyes on the floor of my office.  “My friends tell me that to be happy I just need to think positive, so I say positive affirmations to myself — but it’s not working!” Anne’s situation is not unusual.  She is a bright, successful woman, and yet unhappy. …

Exercise and the brain

We all know that exercise is good for us, but in a new book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, John Ratey explains the latest research on exercise and the brain. He focuses on how exercise benefits many of the problems seen by clinical psychologists and other mental health professionals (stress,…

Managing expectations

So often, we have expectations about how events will turn out but what can psychology tell us about managing our expectations? Recently I saw the movie, 500 Days of Summer. In one scene, after the main character, Tom, has broken up with his girlfriend and she has invited him to a party (as friends), we…

The theory behind acting happy

Cosmetic doctor, Dr Sarah Hart, wrote a blog for Mindfood magazine on using Botox for depression, a treatment based on facial feedback theory. The facial feedback theory states that facial movement can influence emotional experience.  In this case the idea was that Botox made it difficult to frown, favouring a more neutral facial expression that…