The Best Mental Health Advice I’ve Ever Heard.

Johann Hari on the importance of looking at mental health from a social perspective as well as a pharmaceutical one. He cites the example of a a GP named Sam Everington who in addition to offering antidepressants, encouraged the patients who came to him with depression to work together to turn a pice of derelict land into a garden:

As they got to know each other, they did what human beings do when we form tribes and groups; they started to solve each others’ problems.

So for example one of the people in the group was sleeping on the bus was sleeping on a bus. Everyone else in the group was like “well of course you’re depressed, you’re sleeping on a bus! They started lobbying the local council to get him a house. They got him housed. It was the first time most of them had done something for someone else in years. That made them feel really good.

And the way Lisa put it to me “As the garden began to bloom, we began to bloom.”

Beautiful.

Understanding Procrastination.

Psychology Today with a comprehensive guide to what procrastination is, what its consequences are, and how to beat it.

For habitual procrastinators, who represent approximately 20 percent of the population, “I don’t feel like it” comes to take precedence over their goals or responsibilities, and can set them on a downward spiral of negative emotions that further deter future effort.

Procrastination also involves a degree of self-deception: At some level, procrastinators are aware of their actions and the consequences, but changing their habits requires even greater effort than completing the task in front of them.

Well worth a read. Especially if you’re looking for something to take your mind off that big project that’s due tomorrow…

"You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending."
A game that helps to build a habit of meditation.

This is interesting. It’s the first game I’ve ever heard of with the explicit goal of helping players to build a meditation practice. It’s available for Mac and PC and has excellent ratings on the Steam store. So if you find yourself at the intersection of gamers who are struggling to develop a meditation practice, why not check it out?

Is Racism A Mental Illness?

An interesting piece in Vice on whether racism should be classed as a mental illness. It’s a tempting comparison to make, but as mental health advocates point out, classifying a failure of basic critical thinking such as racism, in the same way we classify genuine illnesses like depression and schizophrenia, is only likely to further stigmatise mental illness.

This video of Jane Elliot speaking on the Oprah Winfrey Show is priceless though, and I think her classification of racism as an illness is a reflection of the time when she made her comments rather than any attempt to dismiss real mental health concerns:

If you judge other people by the color of their skin, by the amount of a chemical in their skin, you have a mental problem. You are not dealing well with reality.”

A Letter on Justice and Open Debate.

The restriction of debate, whether by a repressive government or an intolerant society, invariably hurts those who lack power and makes everyone less capable of democratic participation. The way to defeat bad ideas is by exposure, argument, and persuasion, not by trying to silence or wish them away. We refuse any false choice between justice and freedom, which cannot exist without each other.

Perfect.

Who Are You Really? The Puzzle Of Personality.

Brian Little (an introvert) gives an absolute fantastic (and hilarious) talk about the ways in which personality influences behaviour and communication:

So the person who seconded him asked Tom, and me, “What do you make of Michael?” Well, I’ll tell you what Tom said in a minute. He spoke in classic Extrovertese. And here is how extroverted ears heard what I said. Which is actually pretty accurate.

I said “Well, Michael does have a tendency at times, of behaving in a way that some of us might see as perhaps more assertive than is normally called for.”

Tom rolled his eyes and said “Brian! That’s what I said. He’s an asshole!”

Now as an introvert I might gently allude to certain assholic qualities in this man’s behaviour, but I’m not gonna lunge for the A-word!

Brilliant.

The Art Of Doing Nothing.

Of all of the things we try to do, nothing is the hardest. In fact, doing nothing is so difficult, that most people go their entire lives without even attempting it. And why should they? Humanity has spent its entire existence doing things. We’re really good at it. We hope we dream, we invent. We…continue reading on Medium…
Why do I sometimes feel depressed for no reason?

Mild depression is quite common. We all have periods in our lives when we feel sad, and have trouble shaking it off. It may not seem like a big deal, but if we let mild depression fester, then it can diminish our health and quality of life.

With everything that’s going on at the moment, our mental health is under greater threat than ever before. Lifehack.org offers an interesting look at why we sometimes feel mildly depressed for no apparent reason, as well as some tips for dealing with the blues when they arise.

How do we fight cancel culture?

Cancel culture is particularly interesting to me. Maybe it’s because I write for a living. Maybe it’s because I hate bullies and mob mentality. Maybe it’s because I’m clinging to the hope that one day the things I say will matter to somebody. Whatever the reason, this tweet stopped my thumb in its tracks during…continue reading on Medium…