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Some current research evidence for therapeutic uses of reading & writing (1st post)

I was asked by a friend to write a short piece on research evidence backing up therapeutic uses of reading & writing to be used in a local initiative supporting health workers in a diverse range of settings.  Today's and tomorrow's post give the piece with hyperlinks to the various research studies that I mention.  A combination of the two posts is downloadable as a Word doc or as a PDF file.

Effective weight loss: a wake-up call and a personal story

I was talking to an old friend recently and I remarked on how well he was looking.  He said he had lost two stone in weight and his waist circumference had gone down from 42 to 34 inches.  Wow!  I was very interested to hear how he had done it and he very kindly agreed to write his story:  

A Wake-up Call 

Salman Rushdie "Those who do not have the power over the story that dominates their lives - the power to retell it, re-experience it, deconstruct it, joke about it, and change it as times change - truly are powerless because they cannot think new thoughts."

C25K - couch to 5 km: NHS web resources for getting "just about anyone off the couch and running 5 km in 9 weeks"

Well here's a good example of being taught by our patients.  I've had two or three people, who come to see me, singing the praises of the C25K NHS website.  The site states that "Our C25K plan is designed to get just about anyone off the couch and running 5km in nine weeks."  That looks good ... and both my patients and the numerous appreciative comments on the C25K website underline how helpful people have found the written advice and more especially the downloadable MP3 podcasts that are to be used when running.  

Using Williams & Penman's book "Mindfulness: a practical guide" as a self-help resource - overview of 10 supporting blog posts

Earlier this year I wrote a sequence of ten blog posts to support people working their way through Mark Williams & Danny Penman's fine book  "Mindfulness: a practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world" as a self-help training in mindfulness practice.  I've referred lots of people to these posts and it's a bit messy finding them as they are strung out over many weeks.  Here are links to the ten posts organized into one place:

Using Williams & Penman's book "Mindfulness: a practical guide" as a self-help resource (10th post) - eighth week's practice

I wrote recently about the seventh week's practice in this eight week mindfulness course.  In today's post I'll look at the final session of the Williams & Penman course, described in chapter twelve (pp. 236 to 249) - "Your wild and precious life".  This phrase is taken from Mary Oliver's stunning poem - "The summer day".  The week-by-week course programme summary (p. 60) simply says "Week Eight helps you to weave mindfulness into your daily life, so that it's always there when you need it the most."   

Self-help for insomnia: encouraging results and some available resources

I've written three blog posts about sleep in the last three months - "'Sleep well and live better: overcoming insomnia using CBT'- a workshop with Colin Espie", "The links between sleep disturbance and depression" and "Is short duration sleep a problem or is it just disturbed sleep that leads to increased mortality risk?  A personal exploration".  It is clear that many people struggle with sleep difficulties and that this is associated with a network of other problems.  A recent paper that highlig

Using Williams & Penman's book "Mindfulness: a practical guide" as a self-help resource (8th post) - sixth week's practice

I recently wrote about the fifth week of meditation practice - chapter nine in Mark Williams & Danny Penman's book.  This post is about the sixth week of practice and chapter ten "Trapped in the past or living in the present?" (pp. 183 to 208).  The week-by-week programme summary (p. 60) comments "Week six develops this process (turning towards difficulties) even further, exploring how negative ways of thinking gradually dissipate when you actively cultivate loving-kindness and compassion through a 'Befriending Meditation' and acts of generosity in daily life.  Cultivating friendship towards yourself, including for what you see as your 'failures' and 'inadequacies', is the cornerstone of finding peace in a frantic world." 

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