The Benefits of Doing Nothing

Susan Pearse

Susan Pearse is a writer, speaker and leadership consultant specializing in mindfulness and attention.

Along with her business partner Martina Sheehan, she is co-founder of Mind Gardener offering mindfulness based retreats and workshops for individuals and organizations.

She is co-author of a number of books including “One Moment Please: It’s Time to Pay Attention”, “Wired For Life: Retrain Your Brain and Thrive”, and the book which forms the basis of today’s discussion, “Do Less Be More: How To Slow Down And Make Space For What Really Matters”.

In today’s episode we discuss why doing nothing matters, some of the reason people find it difficult to let go and relax, we answers questions such as when does productivity spillover into busyness, how to know the difference between relaxing and wasting time, and how relaxation can actually help, rather than hinder, your ambitions.

We also offer a few tips from Susan’s book “Do Less Be More” on how to master the art of doing nothing including how to go on a date with yourself, having a not-to-do list, and the beauty of boredom.

Related Links

SusanPearse.com – Best selling author, leadership expert and co-Founder of Mind Gardener.

MindGardener.com – A space dedicated to supporting your journey with tools, inspiration and guidance.

Mind Gardener – Facebook Page

Book Recommendations

                    

Image courtesy: Jon Collier

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Depersonalization and Feelings of Unreality

Dr. Elaine Hunter

Elaine Hunter is the consultant clinical psychologist and clinical lead of the Depersonalization Disorder Service (DDS) at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, and since 1999 has been developing a cognitive behavioural model of DPD.

She is the co-author of “Overcoming Depersonalization and Feelings of Unreality: A self-help guide using cognitive behavioural techniques“, and has written many published papers on the theory and practice of working psychologically with Depersonalisation Disorder.

Dr Hunter has a longstanding interest in international development work including 7 months teaching CBT to Public Health Clinicians in Uganda and Zimbabwe, and helping to set up a psychology service in Sierra Leone for nationals who worked in the Ebola treatment centers during the epidemic.

In today’s episode we explore what it feels like to experience depersonalization (and derealization), whether depersonalization is a symptom of anxiety or the result of a chemical imbalance, common circumstances which can trigger an episode, the cognitive behavioral perspective on how and why depersonalization becomes chronic, and some tips and advice on how to deal with the symptoms.

 

Related Links

What is Depersonalization? – YouTube

Depersonalization Disorder Service at South London and Maudsley NHS – YouTube

The disorder that makes people unable to feel love – BBC Two (Victoria Derbyshire)

Watching the world through a clear fog – BMJ Podcast

Depersonalization Disorder – BBC Radio 2 (Jeremy Vine)

Book Recommendations

     

Images courtesy: Amy Elyse 

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The Year of Less

Cait Flanders

Cait Flanders (@caitflanders) is former binge consumer turned mindful consumer.

Between 2011-2016 she was the writer the behind the popular personal finance blog “Blonde on a Budget”, where she documented her journey out of $28,000 worth of personal debt.

She is currently the author of CaitFlanders.com where she has expanded her interests into issues as diverse as minimalism, travel, health, social media.

Her latest project, “The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store“,  is a self-help memoir that documents her life for the first twelve months of a two-year shopping ban and decluttering experiment, and also forms the basis of today’s conversation.

In today’s episode we discuss the links between consumerism and things like addiction and self-esteem, the challenges and benefits of decluttering your life, and also offers some tips and ideas on how to spend both your money, and your time, more wisely.

Related Links

CaitFlanders.com – Minimalism, travel, health and social media blog

Cait on Instagram

Cait on Twitter

The Slow Home Podcast with Brooke McAlary

Book Recommendations

     

Image courtesy: Cait Flanders

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Getting My Head Shrunk

Prof. Tim Carey

Back in Episode 25 I sat down with Warren Mansell to discuss a new and relatively unknown (at least to the general public) form of psychotherapy called the Method of Levels.

Because Method of Levels isn’t as well known as the likes of standard CBT or psychodynamic therapy, I figured the best way to give people an insight into how it actually works would be to give it a try, record the interaction and then let you guys listen in on it.

As well as the session itself, which was recorded with Warren Mansell at his office at the University of Manchester, this episode begins with an introduction to Method of Levels by its co-founder Tim Carey, and I finish up by giving a brief retrospective analysis of what I took away from the session and how it helped me. In other words, it’s a long one. Enjoy!

 

Related Links

The Method of Levels (MOL) – A way of helping people listen to themselves

PCT Web – The theory of control that is changing our world view

MindSurf App – Manage Stress and Improve Quality Of Life (Android, iOS)

Book Recommendations

Images courtesy: Pascal 

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Asking Kids Philosophical Questions

Just a bit of fun to bring in the new year. We subjected my little boy Roman and his cousin Oliver (both 7-years-old) to a bunch of philosophical questions to see what kinds of answers their innocent young minds might conjure up.

 

 

If you fancy running some of these past you own kids, here are 20 philosophical questions I cobbled together from various questionnaires scattered around the interwebs:

  1. Do aliens exist? Why/why not?
  2. How do you know you’re not just dreaming right now?
  3. How would the world be different if animals could talk?
  4. If you could make one rule that everyone in the world had to follow, what rule would you make, and why?
  5. If you could invent something that would make life easier for people, what would you invent?
  6. If you could give one gift to every kid in the world, what gift would you give?
  7. If you could be invisible for a day, what would you do?
  8. If you could grow up to be famous, what would you want to be famous for?
  9. What makes somebody a good friend?
  10. Of all the things you are learning, what do you think will be the most useful when you are an adult?
  11. If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
  12. If you had three wishes, what would they be?
  13. When you’re scared, what do you do to make it less scary?
  14. Who’s the worst person in the world?
  15. Who’s the best person in the world?
  16. What is the most disgusting thing you can think of?
  17. What’s the hardest thing about being a kid?
  18. If you could time-travel, where and when would you go?
  19. What is the meaning/purpose of life?
  20. What is the key to happiness?

Be sure to let us know of you got any particularly funny or creative responses from your little ones in the comments sections below.

Image courtesy: Lord Jim

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Aging & Loneliness

Dr. Carla Perissinotto

Carla Perissinotto is an Associate Professor in the Division of Geriatrics, and first Associate Chief for Geriatrics Clinical Programs at the University of California San Francisco.

She is the recipient of the highly-competitive HRSA Geriatric Academic Career Award 2010-2015, and in 2012 gained international recognition for her study on the effects of loneliness on the health of older adults.

Carla is a contributor to the geriatrics and palliative care blog GeriPal, and every year, as part of her efforts to improve the care of older patients in low resource settings across the globe, volunteers her services in Chiapas, Mexico at the Hospital San Carlos which serves the indigenous people of Chiapas.

In today’s episode we discuss how loneliness is distinct from things like depression and social isolation, how it’s possible to be surrounded by family and friends and still feel lonely, how feeling lonely can have a negative impact on our long term physical health, and why we as a society are guilty of neglecting our older generation.

 

Related Links

Carla Perissinotto, MD – UCSF Faculty Profile

GeriPal – Geriatrics and Palliative Care Blog

Health Benefits of Staying Social: Connecting with Your Community – YouTube

Campaign to End Loneliness – UK

Age UK – The Uk’s largest charity working with older people

The Silverline – The free, 24 hour, confidential helpline for older people

Book Recommendations

          

Image courtesy: jucanils

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Stoicism 101

Prof. Massimo Pigliucci

Massimo Pigliucci (@mpigliucci) is Professor of Philosophy at CUNY City College, New York.

He is the co-founder and former co-host of the Rationally Speaking podcast, and founder of the philosophy blogs Footnotes to Plato and How to Be a Stoic.

He is the author of a number of books including “Nonsense on Stilts, How to Tell Science From Bunk“, “Answers for Aristotle, How Science and Philosophy Can Lead Us to a More Meaningful Life“, and the book which forms the basis of today’s discussion, “How to Be a Stoic, Ancient Wisdom for Modern Living“.

In today’s episode we explore the philosophy of stoicism, and why being a stoic has nothing to do with being a grumpy bastard.

We explore the four cardinal virtues of stoicism: practical wisdom, courage, justice, and temperance, the ways in which stoic philosophy relates to modern psychological therapies like CBT,  how stoicism can make your more flexible in the face of adversity, and we even give you three starters exercises to flex your fledgling stoic muscles.

 

Related Links

How to Be a Stoic – An Evolving Guide to Practical Stoicism for the 21st Century

Footnotes to Plato – Because all (Western) Philosophy Consists of Footnotes to Plato

Massimo’s YouTube Channel

Stoic Philosophy Facebook Group

Stoic Fellowship – Helping to Build, Foster, and Connect Stoic Communities Around the World

Book Recommendations

                          

Image courtesy: Bradley Weber

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Building Resilience

Glenn Schiraldi, PhD

Dr. Glenn Schiraldi is a graduate of West Point, a Vietnam Vet, and founder of Resilience Training International.

Glenn has served on the stress management faculties at The Pentagon, The International Critical Incident Stress Foundation, and The University of Maryland, where he received the Outstanding Teacher Award.

Glenn is also author of a number of books including “The Self-Esteem Workbook“, “The Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Sourcebook“, and the book which forms the basis of today’s discussion “The Resilience Workbook: Essential Skills to Recover from Stress, Trauma, and Adversity“.

In today’s episode we discuss what precisely resilience is and what it means to be resilient, how resilience can act as a barrier that protects us from things like stress, depression and anxiety, and some tips on how you can cultivate and building resilience in yourself.

 

The discipline which makes the soldiers of a free country reliable in battle is not to be gained by harsh or tyrannical treatment. On the contrary, such treatment is far more likely to destroy than to make an army. It is possible to impart instruction and give commands in such a manner and such a tone of voice as to inspire in the soldier no feeling, but an intense desire to obey, while the opposite manner and tone of voice cannot fail to excite strong resentment and a desire to disobey. The one mode or other of dealing with subordinates springs from a corresponding spirit in the breast of the commander. He who feels the respect which is due to others cannot fail to inspire in them respect for himself. While he who feels, and hence manifests, disrespect towards others, especially his subordinates, cannot fail to inspire hatred against himself.

— John M. Schofield

Related Links

Resilience Training International – Glenn’s website

How Resilient Are You? – Take Glenn’s Resilience Checkup

Book Recommendations

                         

Image courtesy: Gabriela Fab

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Sex, Spirituality, and Self-Consciousness

Jessica Graham

Jessica Graham (@deconstructjg) is an actor, producer, and meditation teacher.

She has appeared in a number of films including “And Then Came Lola”, “Devil Girl”, and “2 Minutes Later” which won her the Best Actress Award at the Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.

She is a contributing editor of the popular meditation blog “Deconstructing Yourself“, and the author of the book which forms the basis of today’s discussion, “Good Sex: Getting Off Without Checking Out”.

In today’s episode we explore Jessica’s journey from sexual trauma and disengagement to sexual awakening and spirituality.

We discuss the influence of social media on body image and how different environments can have positive or negative effect on our sexual self-image, common reasons why people feel self-conscious and dissatisfied with their sex lives, the importance of honesty in getting what you want in the bedroom, and how practicing mindfulness between the sheets can lead to a more satisfying sex life.

 

Related Links

Wild Awakening – Dedicated to helping you become more human through psychospiritual evolution, using meditation and self-inquiry.

Mindful Sex with Jessica Graham – Facebook Page

Jessica’s YouTube Channel

Follow Jessica on Instagram

Simple Habit Meditation App – Get two weeks free with this link (for limited time)

Book Recommendations

          

Images (modified) courtesy: Hey Paul Studios (Brain, Gut

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Psychobiotics: Microbes, Mood and the Gut-Brain Connection

Scott Anderson

Scott Anderson (@Psychobiotic) is a veteran science journalist with specialization in medical research and computer programming. He is the author of a number of books covering topics as diverse as Human Embryonic Stem Cells and Video Production skills, and he was also one of the creators behind the computer game Lego Island, which was one of the biggest selling computer games of the 90’s.

Scott runs a laboratory called Freedom Health that studies bacterial health in racehorses and has developed prebiotics for animals and humans, and his newest book “The Psychobiotic Revolution“, along with John Cryan and Ted Dinan from the APC Microbiome Institute, explores how and why your brain health and state of mind are intimately connected to your gut microbiome.

In today’s episode we discuss the history of the gut-brain research, how the gut and the brain communicate with one another, why the bacteria living in your digestive system may contribute to mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety, how western dietary habits lead to the destruction of a healthy gut ecology, and we also discuss some of the pre and probiotic foods that you can start consuming to bring your brain and body back into balance.

 

Related Links

Feed Your Microbes, Nurture Your Mind – John Cryan, TEDx Talk

Food for thought: How gut microbes change your mind – John Cryan TEDMED Talk

Book Recommendations

Images (modified) courtesy: Hey Paul Studios (Brain, Gut

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