The importance of sleep

Here is an interesting TED talk about the importance of sleep.

“Walker shares the wonderfully good things that happen when you get sleep -- and the alarmingly bad things that happen when you don't, for both your brain and body.”

Note - you can’t ‘catch up’ on sleep, there is no sleep debt.

Tips for better sleep at about 14:30

  • restrict caffeine use

  • keep a routine (as I mention elsewhere, the most important part is to wake up at the same time every day, including weekends)

  • if you’re in bed for a while and can’t get to sleep, get up and go somewhere else and do something relaxing, then return to bed

  • keep it cool - around 18 degrees celsius

Steve Hayes on being psychologically flexible and living with purpose. Must see. Don’t be put off by the thumbnail!

What can we do to prosper when facing pain and suffering in our lives? More than a thousand studies suggest that a major part of the answer is learning psychological flexibility. Steven C. Hayes is one of the researchers who first identified that process and put it into action in the form of a popular acceptance and mindfulness method called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

When the Pressure to Be Happy Makes You Miserable

Read the article: The Happiness Racket: When the Pressure to Be Happy Makes You Miserable

My comments:

It's all very well using certain techniques to improve well-being - mindfulness is a good example. Sure it can feel good to practice mindfulness. What's the purpose of doing so? The linked article reminds us that doing things just to feel good isn't necessarily worth pursuing. Doing certain things just to feel good can cause more problems than we had to begin with. Anything can be done under the banner of 'so I can feel good' or 'so I feel better' or 'so I can be happy'. All sorts of personally destructive actions can be justified under these banners. 


One question is, how well do these actions work in the long term? Do they really get you to where you want to be in life, doing the things you want to do?


With techniques like mindfulness, they become useful and 'work' when we use them for a particular purpose and when we stay responsive to the current environment. Mindfulness helps us get present so we can clarify what is important in that moment, in that situation, and then do something thats actually worthwhile and helps us in the long run. It's all to easy to become embroiled in thinking that leads us to become stuck - we think hard about something that happened or will happen without following through on useful actions.


Focussing on actions that work for you, in the long run, in response to your current environment/circumstances might just be the most useful thing you can do. Sure, there are 'techniques' that can help you along the way - it depends how you use them and when you put them into practice. 


The single best thing you can do for your health....

This is a really interesting and useful video about one thing you can do to improve your health and well-being. At the start of the video, the narrator runs through what this 'thing' can help with, and I knew the answer quite quickly without knowing anything about the content. Thats not because I'm super smart - it's because I researched this topic and did a small study for my Masters degree many years ago. It's something I often talk about in my work, and something I do myself. This 'thing' is something that pretty much anyone has access to depending on your situation and the benefits are widespread. 

Learn what this 'thing' is here: the single best thing you can do for your health

Public workshops

Russ Harris (author of the Happiness Trap and many other books) is a great presenter and top bloke to boot. He's running an educational workshop for the public in August this year. Find the details at:

No worries?

Here is an interesting blog post on worrying.

Just note that there is no true anti-anxiety medication - they are just muscle relaxants and too easily to become reliant on as well. Many people seek treatment to come off that medication after getting 'hooked' on it. Thats how the Betty Ford clinic started.