What I'm Doing Now
I'm currently reading 'The Courage to be Disliked', a book by Japanese authors explaining the psychology of Alfred Adler - a rival of Freud. It uses a conversation between an angry student and a patient teacher to make it's points. A rare perspective on how to live in comparison to popular present mainstream views. I've learned a lot about an area of psychology I knew very little about and it's had a profound effect on the way I see much of life and is starting to change the way I live my life.
I've very recently finished reading 'Everybody Lies', a fascinating look at how big data, and Google searches in particular, tells us what people are really thinking and how they are behaving, rather than what they tell us they are thinking and behaving, and 'The Incurable Romantic', in which psychotherapist Frank Tallis opens his casebook and tells stories about obsessive and unhelpful conditions of love.
I've also recently read two books about the Second World War and the Holocaust. 'East West Street' is a wonderful book about the author's Jewish grandparents’ and their experiences in World War Two, set within a very broad legal and historic context, and 'The Tattooist of Auschwitz' tells the story of a Jewish man who was was given the job of tattooing numbers on prisoners when they arrived in Auschwitz, and how his love for a fellow prisoner gave him meaning, along with strength and courage to survive to the worst of circumstances.
I manage to 'read' a lot of books as I listen to them using Audible on my long dog walks and also read a paperback or Kindle book when commuting on the train and last thing before I go to bed at night.
My main focus this year is the writing of two books and one online course.
The first book is a list of practical strategies to help to manage and reduce anxiety, with the working title of '12 Exercises to Reduce Anxiety, Overcome Fear, and Take Control of Your Life'.
The second book has the working title of 'Do what you can't? A guide to overcoming anxiety, living with courage, and creating a brighter better future' This book is about going beyond anxiety and creating a more fulfilling life.
The online course is about using daily intentions to change your life, looking specifically at three types of intentions:
Values driven intentions that shape the way we live.
Mindset intentions that determine our attitude.
Behavioural intentions that impact how we act in specific situations.
I plan to self-publish all of these in Kindle, paperback and audio formats.
I'm also working on making audio versions of all of my previous and future blog posts (maybe in podcast format, but reluctant to use this term as EVERYBODY has a podcast now!).
Health and Life
I'm currently walking my dog for around 2 hours a day in countryside (much easier with the long summer days) and also walk as much as I can when going about my normal everyday activities (walking to the train station and taking walking breaks during my working days). I want to up my cardio activity by getting back into running and also engage in more strength training.
I do a form of meditation every day, either classic vipassana meditation, breathing exercises or sophrology exercises (a combination of breathing and body movements). I practice mindfulness throughout the day as much as I can, and continue to use the Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) skills of defusion, expansion, and engagement when needed and when I remember. Defusion is probably the most powerful psychological skill I've ever learned and has helped change my life more than any other intervention I've learned. Click here for a simple description of defusion along with some practical exercises.
I'm also taking steps to improve my diet, which in recent months has got progressively worse. I'm reducing the amount of sugar and processed food I've been eating and increasing my water and vegetable intake.
I've recently deleted my Facebook account due to Facebook's data privacy lapses and also their stance towards hosting abuse videos and disinformation (e.g. Sandy Hook deniers, Nazi sympathisers). I still use Twitter but I've reduced my social media time to around 20 minutes a day (enough to catch up on news and events without events without getting caught up in rage / anxiety cycles that can dominate the day). I use the extra time to read, breathe, or do some gardening.
This update was July 30th, 2018.