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Don’t Panic – Seek More Information

We've all been there: something bad happens and we start to spiral thinking of all the horrible possibilities. For me today that was leaving my bag on the train. I got off and was halfway to the supermarket before I realised I didn't have my wallet because it was in...

Use Your Own Words

As a teacher I ask my students to prove they have understood the material by expressing it in their own words. We should also ask of ourselves when we are sharing our opinions and engaging in political debate: "Am I using my words, or am I parroting someone else."...

Who Wins in an Argument?

We put a lot of time and effort into winning, but we sometimes fail to recognise what "real" winning is as opposed to beating the other player. What do we gain when we "win" an argument? Maybe it's respect, a sense of accomplishment or the elation of demolishing a...

Blame and Perspective

Blame is built into the English language, and this affects us deeply, and silently. If I drop my mother's favourite china plate in the kitchen, in English we might say, "You dropped the plate!" You... I live in Japan, and in Japanese we might instead say お皿が落ちた! -...

Judging is Easy, Empathy is Hard

We judge. Human beings judge. It's unavoidable. We can choose, however, to set our first judgements aside and look again, look harder, and look for the story that we aren't seeing. What's the difference between the story we see, and the story the other person might be...

Why Do We Feel Shame?

Shame is one of the most counterproductive and long-term harmful emotions. When we feel shame we self-destruct, we push others away and we make the situation worse - without intervention this can feel like a downward spiral. Depression feeds on this (the shame of...