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Lee Hulbert-Williams PhD – Page 3 – Happicademy
  • All posts,  Well-being

    Use your brain’s processing power wisely

    Back in the day it was common to charge by the hour for time on a computer. I suppose that dying institution, the cyber café, still does this, and of course in research facilities and university departments across the globe, time on a mainframe or supercomputer is still allocated on a chargeable basis. Computer scientists break down complicated things (like showing you cat video on your phone) into individual calculations. Each design of computer processor can figure out a certain number of these calculations per cycle, and it cycles a certain number of times per hour. It takes a certain amount of work (let’s define that as processing power multiplied…

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    Our ironic attitude to death

    As a culture, we avoid talking about death. Whether it’s because of existential angst (the worry about what’ll happen to us after we die?), a simple association with sadness and sorrow (we’ve experienced other peoples deaths but by definition we’ve never died ourselves), or because of an empathic understanding of how sad our death may make our friends and loved ones (at least, we assume so). This is very understandable but it’s counterproductive all the same. By treating death as something unspeakable we avoid it’s consideration at all cost. The effect of this avoidance is huge. Though it might feel like bringing a sledgehammer to break a nut, remembering that…

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    Mindful eating helps your brain control appetite

    As a psychologist, I probably shouldn’t be surprised, but I still am. I remember drawing hugely complex diagrams of the nervous system for my masters degree, showing all the nerves going into and out of the brain, making contact with virtually every organ and system of the body. I know, intellectually speaking, that the nervous system, and thereby the brain, is hugely influential in everything the body does, but I still can’t help it. I just figure if you were inventing a machine that needs fuel, you’d have a fairly simple fuel gauge — a little meter that says “stomach full, well done”. Nope. I’ve written in other posts about…

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    5 ways procrastination can happen and what to do about them

    All of us procrastinate at some point. Some of us do it quite a bit. Quite a few of us do it so much that it seriously gets in the way of us achieving our goals and getting what we want in life. Here’s a quick run-down of some of the ways you’ll spot procrastination, and my ideas on beating them. Many of the solutions are in fact interchangeable because procrastination has only a couple of underlying causes, but these pairings up of procrastination type and solution seem to be the ones my students have best luck with. (Obviously these are things I’ve seen in other people, not myself. I’m perfect.)…

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    How to bring creative thinking into your work — become playful

    Unless you’re an artist, you may not often think about creativity as being important for your work (or your life), but unless you work on a factory production line with a particularly autocratic boss, creativity matters. At its core, creativity is nothing more than coming up with new ways of doing things, and it’s the keystone of interesting work. You might think of progress itself as nothing more than the creativity that stuck around. When we feel stuck on a project, the sense of dissatisfaction comes from the fact that we have a problem to solve and none of the solutions currently on the table feel quite adequate. We need alternative…

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    Three signals that you’ve eaten enough

    You may not have spent much time thinking about what it means to have had enough food. It’s obvious, isn’t it? You stop when you’re full. If someone asks, “how do you know when you’re full?” you might respond that it’s just like asking, “how do you know you have a pain in your knee?” The answer is, “you just do.” Of course there are different types of knee pain. Sharp and stabbing, dull and aching, and so on. In just this way there are different types of “feeling full” (though I prefer the phrase “had enough” to “full” and you’ll see why later). If we pay attention to these…

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    Full on water — re-learning what your stomach feels like when it’s full

    Portion sizes have increased hugely over the last forty years. Lisa Young and Marion Nestle published a great study in American Journal of Public Health in 2002 showing that cookies were twice the size they had been thirty years prior, and that a portion of pasta now had roughly twice the number of calories compared to its 1970’s counterpart. Some things hadn’t changed much, but overall, food manufacturers are clearly trying to get us to eat more and more of their products. And why wouldn’t they? They want to make money. There are two responses to this rising pressure to eat more. Marion Nestle is valiantly fighting the good fight and…

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    Dealing with cravings by surfing the urge

    Surfing that craving might help you lose weight Craving sweet, fatty, or otherwise unhealthy food might be one of the biggest hurdles that trip up those of us on the path to a healthy weight. Food cravings are a perfectly normal part of life. It’s rare you come across someone who says they never ever have a strong desire to eat some particular food. Lucky b*******s! For the rest of us, there’s urge surfing. “What is this magick of which you speak?” I’m glad you asked. Gordon Marlatt coined the phrase ‘urge surfing’ in a chapter he wrote for a book on achieving behaviour change published in 1994. It’s a…

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    We could all use a little help

    I read a piece this week in The Philosophers’ Mail called Why you need to go and see a therapist. It’s a really good piece, but it’s a bit narrow in scope. The basic premise is simply that “thinking about our lives is so hard,” that “getting therapeutic help should – ideally – be an ordinary and wholly unsurprising thing.” The article also discusses how most of us see therapy as something for the crazy and traumatised, and certainly not for all of us so-called ‘normal’ people. (Who, honestly, can say they’re ‘normal’?) Well, I agree that therapy has this image, that it has stigma associated with it, but that isn’t…

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    How to put up with the little annoyances to get what you really want in life

    Western societies have a huge problem when it comes to living a meaningful life. In the last fifty years we’ve seen two huge shifts further towards individualism, first with the swinging sixties, and then again with the have-it-all greed-is-good eighties. If you ask all but the very old, most folk today will say that living a good life means being able to do what you want, having plenty of good experiences, having friends, etc. This is pretty different from a couple of generations ago when lots of people would surely have used elevated phrases like “pillar of the community” and “a real gentleman”. Those ideas were about service to others.…