logo

dr-james-hawkins

  • icon-cloud
  • icon-facebook
  • icon-feed
  • icon-feed
  • icon-feed

The Ben Lui group (first post): the challenge of balancing planning & savouring

Tomorrow I hope to head North and West up past Stirling, Lochearnhead and Crianlarich to Strath Fillan.  I should be able to park at a little village called Dalrigh just before Tyndrum.  From there I can walk in by the River Cononish for about 7 km to get to Ben Lui (Beinn Laoigh, calf hill).  The Scottish Mountaineering Club's Munros guidebook describes it as " ... one of the finest mountains in the Southern Highlands; it stands high above its neighbours, and its splendid shape is unmistakable."  They estimate a bit under 4 hours to the summit.  From there it should be straightforward to head on to Beinn a' Chleibh (hill of the creel or chest).  The forecast is mixed - hopefully low cloud will clear somewhat as the day goes on. 

We'll see.  It's very useful having an up to date forecast, but what it's actually like on the hill can sometimes be rather different.  If all goes well and my body holds up, I'll head back over two more Munros - Ben Oss (hill of the loch outlet or elk hill) and Beinn Dubhchraig (hill of the black rock).  If it's too tough I can always pull out after just a couple of Munros or even after just Ben Lui.

Recent research: six papers on helping children & adolescents

Here are half a dozen papers on helping kids and adolescents.  The Fuligni et al paper found that adolescents experiencing frequent interpersonal stresses tended to have increased levels of C-reactive protein, " ... an inflammatory marker that is a key indicator of cardiovascular risk ... ".  Jackson et al showed that in preschool kids each extra hour of regular TV viewing is associated with an extra 1 kg of body fat.  This appeared to be due to increases in calorie intake rather than reduction in physical activity.  Decreased family accommodation is associated with improved outcome in paediatric OCD, Merlo et al found.  Naylor et al found that a six lesson teaching block on mental health benefitted young teenagers.  Proctor et al provide a free full text overview of teenage life satisfaction assessment measures, while Wilkinson and colleagues report on 28 week follow-up in a treatment trial for depressed adolescents.  The authors found "Depression at 28 weeks was predicted by the additive effects of severity, obsessive-compulsive disorder and suicidal ideation at entry together with presence of at least one disappointing life event over the follow-up period.

New Year’s resolution – would you like to be happier?

So here's a blast from the past ... that could be fun and useful for a New Year's resolution.  I first came across Michael Fordyce's research year's ago (Fordyce 1977; Fordyce 1983).  It was probably the first serious scientific exploration of how to help people become happier that I'd ever read.  The approach involves a training called the "Fourteen Fundamentals".  These are fourteen characteristics of happy people, extracted from research, that Fordyce argued most people could develop for themselves.  The "Fundamentals" are: 1.) Be more active and keep busy.  2.) Spend more time socializing.  3.) Be productive at meaningful work.  4.) Get better organized and plan things out.  5.) Stop worrying.  6.) Lower your expectations and aspirations.  7.) Develop positive optimistic thinking.  8.) Get present orientated.  9.) WOAHP - work on a healthy personality. 10.) Develop an outgoing, social personality.  11.) Be yourself.  12.) Eliminate negative feelings and problems.  13.) Close relationships are the #1 source of happiness. 14.) VALHAP (value happiness) - the "secret fundamental".

Handouts & questionnaires for wellbeing and calming skills

I continue to slowly add handouts & questionnaires to the relevant area in the website's "Good Knowledge" section.  Here are a some that I use largely in the territory of wellbeing, mindfulness and relaxation.  Some are assessment and monitoring questionnaires.  Some provide orientating information.  Some describe specific exercises to do.

Attention, focus & time - this is a Powerpoint slide that I put together and use as a printed-out handout when discussing what we spend our time paying attention to, and how certain forms of attention focus are likely to be more helpful than others.

Four aspects of inner focus - this is another Powerpoint slide I print out to illustrate some overlapping aspects of mindfulness, meditation, relaxation, self-hypnosis, and other related practices.

Transdiagnostic wellbeing therapy - I put this Powerpoint picture together in a rather tongue in cheek way in a discussion with Tom Borkovec.  Despite its quite light-hearted origin, the diagram makes some useful points. 

Wellbeing, calming & mindfulness skills

Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb, we are bound to others, past and present, and by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.

- David Mitchell

Here are a bunch of handouts that I use largely in the territory of wellbeing, mindfulness and relaxation.  Some are assessment and monitoring questionnaires.  Some provide orientating information.  Some describe specific exercises to do.

Bus driver metaphor (available as both Word and PDF handouts) - this is a classic ACT (acceptance & commitment therapy) metaphor.  I've posted a blog post on this often helpful way of viewing things.  It's sensible though to also understand possible limitations of this metaphor

Syndicate content