Cradled by therapy

Why therapy works is still up for debate. But, when it does, its methods mimic the attachment dynamics of good parenting In 2006, a team of Norwegian researchers set out to study how experienced psychotherapists help people to change. Led by Michael Rønnestad, a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Oslo, the team followed 50 therapist-patient pairs, tracking, in minute detail, what the therapists did that made them so effective. Margrethe Halvorsen, a post-doc at the time, was given the job of interviewing the patients at the end of the treatment. That's how she met Cora - a woman in her late 40s, single, childless, easy to like. As a kid, Cora (a pseudonym) had suffered repeated sexual abuse at the hands of her mother and her mother's friends. Before entering therapy, she habitually self-harmed. She'd tried to...

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SOTT FOCUS: MindMatters: Breathe Deep to Reap The Benefits of a Healthy Mind: The Tao of Natural Breathing

Correct breathing should come as natural to us as, well, breathing. But it doesn't. In fact, most of us so take the simple act of respiration for granted that we have learned to breathe shallowly and, indeed, incorrectly - allowing for a host of all sorts of detrimental knock-on effects. But what does that have to do with the world of ideas and the 'life of the mind' anyway? Well, quite a lot actually as we're coming to learn. This week on MindMatters join us as we delve into Dennis Lewis' The Tao of Natural Breathing - where a number of crucial connections are made not only between the science of breathing and physiological well-being, but also the benefits given to cognition, our emotional life - and greater perception of our inner and outer directed states of awareness. There are...

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Giving your children experiences instead of toys boosts their intelligence and happiness

Recent studies have revealed that giving your child too many things to play with can result in the opposite of the desired effect - they may actually be less happy. Childhood development researcher, Clair Lerner, suggests that when children are showered with toys and games, they start playing less. An abundance of toys can overwhelm and distract kids, making them lose the concentration needed to learn from these toys. Lerner's discoveries were mirrored by Michael Malone, a professor of Early Childhood Education at the University of Cincinnati. Malone's studies showed that fewer but better toys lead to increased cooperation and sharing when it comes to valuable life skills. Furthermore, too many toys push children into more solitary play while causing a type of unproductive overload. ...

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Procrastination is an emotion regulation problem, not a time management problem

If you've ever put off an important task by, say, alphabetizing your spice drawer, you know it wouldn't be fair to describe yourself as lazy. After all, alphabetizing requires focus and effort — and hey, maybe you even went the extra mile to wipe down each bottle before putting it back. And it's not like you're hanging out with friends or watching Netflix. You're cleaning — something your parents would be proud of! This isn't laziness or bad time management. This is procrastination. If procrastination isn't about laziness, then what is it about? Etymologically, "procrastination" is derived from the Latin verb procrastinare — to put off until tomorrow. But it's more than just voluntarily delaying. Procrastination is also derived from the ancient Greek word akrasia — doing something against our better judgment. "It's self-harm," said Dr. Piers Steel, a professor...

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Social Nourishment + Restorative Solitude = Human Thriving

Humans thrive on a smorgasbord of "social nutrition" that includes both restorative alone time and meaningful social interactions, according to a new study. The more choice people have about the social diet, the better they do. The findings (Hall & Merolla, 2019) were published on December 6 in the journal Human Communication Research. Jeffrey Hall of the University of Kansas and Andy Merolla of UC Santa Barbara are the co-authors of this study. Almost 400 people participated in this diary-based study. For 28 consecutive days, each participant documented his or her "social diet" along with feelings of subjective well-being. The researchers use the term "social biome" to describe the unique blend of social interactions and alone time that people experience in daily life. "Your social biome can be thought of as homeostatic social system," Hall said in a news release....

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