Insight


Boost your health and mental performance in just 10 minutes

17th January

Research shows that it can take as little as ten minutes to improve our physical health, psychological wellbeing, and our mental performance.

All around the world, scientists have been discovering that simply spending time outdoors in nature has measurable, significant benefits for both physical and mental health. For example, an investigation led by Cornell University’s Genevive Meredith recently summarised the conclusions reached by multiple groups of researchers looking at time … Read more


5 ways to deal with feelings of insecurity or inadequacy

20th December

Many people feel insecure or inadequate. Others say that they lack confidence or have low self-esteem. But even when the words differ, the end result is often the same.

My book The Confidence Project provides a wide variety of both quick fixes and longer-term techniques for boosting confidence. But here are five different tips and ways of looking at things:

1. Be careful about using positive self-affirmations
Some gurus and … Read more


Debunking 5 myths about mindfulness

22nd November

I’ve written about mindfulness, its benefits in terms of stress and wellbeing – and how to work on it before. But here are 5 myths about mindfulness.

1. Mindfulness benefits everybody

WRONG! There are a small number of documented instances of mindfulness practice having adverse effects for some people.

A team of British, Italian and Spanish researchers led by William Van Gordon at the University of Derby recently pointed … Read more


Is it better to take notes by hand or by computer?

25th October

When I meet with a client face-to-face, I tend to write notes using pen and paper. When I’m sat at my computer, I usually take notes using my keyboard. But what does the science say about the effectiveness of pen and paper versus keyboard and screen?

Researcher Audrey van der Meer at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology has run several studies using electroencephalogram (EEG) equipment to scan the … Read more


Identifying and tackling sources of stress at work

27th September

Surveys repeatedly find that many people report feeling stress as a result of their work.

I have written before about the fact that stress is not something that simply happens to you. You can take steps to deal with the emotional impact of problematic situations.

However, the best way to reduce stress is often to tackle the particular problem that is bothering you such as an individual colleague, a … Read more


How to cope with stress

30th August

Whenever I run a workshop (or give a lecture on Zoom) about stress, I usually start off by explaining that stress is not something that has to happen to you. Yes, certain events such as redundancy, relationship break-ups and illness tend to be difficult for many people. But some people help themselves to cope better.

In stressful circumstances, I’m sure you have heard that some people engage in a coping … Read more


3 research-based facts about happiness in work and life

2nd August

Ask people what they want in life and they often say that they want to “be happy”. But why does happiness matter? And how can you achieve happiness?

1. Being happy may help you to be better at your job
Some people dismiss happiness as inconsequential. For example, I’ve heard a few managers say that they don’t really care whether their employees are happy so long as they are performing … Read more


4 ways to ‘self-nudge’ yourself into achieving your goals

5th July

What are your goals right now? I currently have a variety of professional and personal goals about staying in touch with clients, my eating and exercise habits, reading non-fiction books, improving my Cantonese language skills, staying in touch with friends and family, and so on.

A recent research paper in the journal Behavioural Public Policy by social scientists Samuli Reijula at the University of Helsinki and Ralph Hertwig of the … Read more


Maintaining mental wellbeing during the coronavirus

7th June

How are you doing during the pandemic? A few months ago, I wrote about some behaviours that I have personally found useful in terms of maintaining my productivity and psychological wellbeing.

Here are some other things that I am personally finding helpful in terms of maintaining my mental wellbeing:

Work while standing up
Prior to the pandemic, I used to spend about an hour or couple of hours travelling – … Read more


Why and how does cynicism hurt us?

10th May

How cynical are you? Let’s try to estimate your level of cynicism by considering the extent to which you agree with three statements:

  • Generally speaking, you can’t be too careful when dealing with other people.
  • Most people would try to take advantage of you if they got the chance.
  • People are mostly just looking out for themselves.

The more you agree with those statements, the higher your level of cynicism. … Read more


Staying well and productive under the coronavirus

15th April

The UK – like many other countries around the world – is currently in lockdown. As a psychologist, I’m used to working mainly face-to-face with people – coaching people one-on-one, running workshops for a dozen or so people, or giving conference presentations to hundreds of people at a time. Clearly, none of that is possible.

Here are some personal methods that I have found useful for staying productive and managing … Read more


How to be 10% Better

15th March

Here’s a quick quiz for you. Please answer “yes” or “no” to the following eight questions:

1. Would you like to feel less stressed?
2. Would you like to boost your motivation and get better at achieving your work and life goals?
3. Would you like to lose weight or get physically healthier?
4. Would you like to make better decisions either at work or in life?
5. Would you … Read more


5 big job hunting errors

16th February

I coach quite a few people who want to find new jobs. I’ve been doing a lot of this recently and it made me think of some of the commonest mistakes I’ve been seeing people make when job hunting.

1. Sending the same CV out to multiple employers
Do you have considerable, directly-relevant experience on your CV? If the answer to that question is ‘yes’, then by all means just … Read more


Instant change: super fast techniques for feeling better and boosting your performance

15th January

Want to change your mood or boost your performance?

There’s increasing evidence that the body and mind are tightly connected. Of course we all know that our minds can direct our bodies. But the opposite is also true to a degree: what we do with our bodies can affect our minds – how we feel, how we think and how we perform.

I’ve written before on this body-mind connection, specifically … Read more


Have you set your PINT goals?

24th November

What are your goals in life?

New research suggests that most human goals may fall into four broad categories. Researchers led by Benjamin Wilkowski at the University of Wyoming used what’s known as a lexical approach to investigate the structure of goal-related words in the English language.

The researchers initially identified more than 140,000 English nouns; they then asked hundreds of people to rate the extent to which the nouns … Read more


Eat your way to happiness

27th October

Do you ever feel anxious, moody or depressed? Well, a growing body of evidence suggests that what we eat may have very real effects on our mental health.

A group of scientists recently published the results of a major study in which they monitored the physical and mental health of 15,546 adults over a 10-year period. A team led by Almudena Sanchez-Villegas found that higher levels of added sugars and … Read more