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Succeed and be happy ● How to parent a teenager ● Beat your smartphone addiction ●


Let it go Stop trying so hard

YOU CAN DO IT! Find your creative courage today INTERVIEW

Keira Knightley

“We need to find our own heroes”


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Contents SPRING 2019

Page 96



Page 38

Page 58

Page 130 Page 17

Page 20

Page 50 Page 64 Page 61

Cover: Maarten de Boer/ The Licensing Project



















Keira Knightley

Be part of our club! Our online coaching club is free to all subscribers (see page 80). Access interactive videos, podcasts and downloadable workbooks, plus join a kind community of like-minded people. Change your life at

“I love a challenge. If I don’t get out of my comfort zone, I get bored” FEATURES 17


Stepmum Barbara Meakin’s journey to the heart of her blended family 28 MY LIFE, MY WAY

Physicist Melanie Windridge feeds her need for adventure on Everest




Instead of slaving away resentfully, Heidi Scrimgeour pleases herself




Buddhist monk Haemin Sunim shares his wisdom on fulfilment




The principles and passions of activist and author Rose McGowan 50



Agony aunt Mary Fenwick assists three readers with dilemmas


Simplify your life 66 THE EASY LIFE SPRING CLEAN

Anita Chaudhuri explores the latest psychological insights to find practical, uncomplicated tools for a streamlined life 72 FREE ‘GO SLOW’ COURSE

Editor-in-Chief Suzy Walker issues an invitation to launch your own Life Leap Club, and find a simpler way of living together 74 ‘EVERY ASPECT OF MY LIFE IS BETTER’

A few easy strategies at home and work ensure businesswoman Claire Hurst achieves the order and calm she needs 76 WHAT’S STOPPING YOU?

If you yearn for a smoother road, but feel overwhelmed, take our test to find out what type of thinking causes all that chaos

S P R I N G 2 0 1 9 P SYC H O LO G I E S M AG A Z I N E 3

Contents SPRING 2019



People who have had a near-death experience say it changed them. Jini Reddy looks for answers 57


Karla Newbey’s sexual journey continues 58





Award-winning coach Kim Morgan helps a struggling manager deal with workplace conflict 61

Suzy Walker begins a life-changing experiment in search of a calmer life. First up, her phone addiction 62


Analytical straight talker Oliver Burkeman has the Last Word on being happier in work you don’t love


In need of serenity and reflection, Suzy Walker and Caroline Sylger Jones take time out in the sun



Vee Sey and her daughter explore the lore and have a bonding experience in Italy’s Sarntal Alps 110

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WHEN YOU’RE TRYING to create positive change, it can be challenging to stay on track. So, sign up for our weekly uplifting dose of inspiration, with videos from top coaches, practical articles on how to thrive, not just survive, and inspirational and joy-filled quotes to brighten your inbox, and your week. Go to

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Wellbeing Director-at-Large Eminé Kali Rushton considers the two types of women in her family, and ponders the path her children may follow


Delicious lighter versions of classic dishes from food stylist and writer Julia Azzarello


Expert advice in four holistic sections – Mind, Body, Spirit and Gut – for happiness, and pleasure


Treat your rooms like recipes, with vivid elements fusing with love for a soulful and harmonious result 120




Ellen Tout makes it her mission to stop wasting food and introduces us to ‘compleating’ 95


Bestselling author and nutritional therapist Henrietta Norton discusses keeping our bones strong during the menopause and beyond 96



Develop habits to revolutionise your vitality in our new series with Editor-at-Large Ali Roff, who savours the benefits of intuitive eating this month 99


Our Nutrition Editor, Eve Kalinik, takes a tea break for a good old-fashioned cuppa – and a biccie!


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OUR TEAM Editor-in-Chief Suzy Walker Design Director Lynne Lanning Creative Director Laura Doherty Features Director Elizabeth Heathcote Wellbeing Director-at-Large Eminé Kali Rushton Associate Editors Danielle Woodward, Anita Chaudhuri Editor-at-Large Ali Roff Features Writer and Digital Editor Ellen Tout Production Editor Vee Sey Deputy Production Editor Leona Gerrard Contributing Editors Wellness Nicky Clinch, Elizabeth Bennett, Larah Davies Body Hollie Grant Spirit Annee de Mamiel Mind Suzy Reading and Will Williams Gut Eve Kalinik Yoga Kat Farrants Nature Paul Rushton Retreat Caroline Sylger Jones Health Hazel Wallace Digital Katherine Weir ADVERTISING & PRODUCTION TigerBee Media, Commercial Director Nikki Peterson (020 3510 0849) Production Manager Melanie Cooper (01733 363485) Production Supervisor Dionne Fisher (01733 363485)

Meet three of the people who have taken part in the creation of Psychologies

Ali Roff

Journalist and mindfulness teacher-in-training Ali is Psychologies’ Editor-at-Large and has launched our year-long Mindful Health Club – a revolutionary life hack that uses your mind to create a healthier body. ‘Mindfulness is a powerful tool to enable us to become more aware of our habitual behaviour, which empowers us to make conscious change in our lives – without deprivation or punishment.’ See page 96 for Ali’s second instalment.

Tiu de Haan

Creative facilitator, coach and ritual designer

MANAGEMENT Managing Director Phil Weeden Chief Executive Steve Wright Chairman Steve Annetts Finance Director Joyce Parker-Sarioglu Publishing Director Kevin McCormick Retail Distribution Manager Eleanor Brown Audience Development Manager Andy Cotton Subscription Marketing Manager Rebecca Gibson Events Manager Kat Chappell Publishing Operations Manager Charlotte Whittaker Senior Print Production Manager Nicola Pollard Print Production Manager Georgina Harris Print Production Controller Alicia Stewart

Tiu specialises in the possibility of wonder, reminding people how to shift their perspective to see the magic in the mundane. Her workshops, online courses and one-to-one adventures are all about creating moments of meaning that connect us to ourselves, each other and our creativity. Join Tiu for live videos on Facebook @Psychologiesmagazine, next on 10 April at 7pm.

SUBSCRIPTIONS 13 issues of Psychologies are published per annum ● UK annual subscription price: £58.50 ● Europe annual subscription price: £72 ● USA annual subscription price: £72 ● Rest of World annual subscription price: £78 ● UK subscription and back issue orderline: 01959 543747 ● Overseas subscription orderline: 0044 (0) 1959 543747 ● Toll-free USA subscription orderline: 1 888 777 0275 ● UK customer service team: 01959 543747;

Jini Reddy

Author, journalist and consultant

Find subscription offers on our website: Manage your subscription online DISTRIBUTION & PRINTING William Gibbons, 28 Planetary Road, Willenhall, Wolverhampton WV13 3XT; 01902 730011; Seymour Distribution Ltd, 2 East Poultry Avenue, London EC1A 9PT; 020 7429 4000; Psychologies Magazine is a registered trademark. Copyright ©2002 Psychologies Magazine is a registered trademark and is published monthly by Kelsey Media 2019 © all rights reserved. Kelsey Media is a trading name of Kelsey Publishing Ltd. Reproduction in whole or in part is forbidden except with permission in writing from the publishers. Note to contributors: articles submitted for consideration by the editor must be the original work of the author and not previously published. Where photographs are included, which are not the property of the contributor, permission to reproduce them must have been obtained from the owner of the copyright. The Editor cannot guarantee a personal response to all letters and emails received. The views expressed in the magazine are not necessarily those of the Editor or the Publisher. Kelsey Publishing Ltd accepts no liability for products and services offered by third parties. PRIVACY NOTICE Kelsey Publishing Ltd uses a multi-layered privacy notice, giving you brief details about how we would like to use your personal information. For full details, visit, or call 01959 543524. If you have any questions, please ask, as submitting your details indicates your consent, until you choose otherwise, that we and our partners may contact you about products and services that will be of relevance to you via direct mail, phone, email or SMS. You can opt out at ANY time via email: or 01959 543524.

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GLOBAL EDITIONS Groupe Psychologies, 2-8 rue Gaston-Rébuffat, 75019 Paris, France. Tel: 01 44 65 58 00 PSYCHOLOGIES FRANCE Editor-in-Chief: Laurence Folléa PSYCHOLOGIES ROMANIA Ringier Magazines, 6 Dimitri Pompeiu Street, Bucharest. Tel: +40 212 03 08 00. Managing Director: Mihnea Vasiliu ( Editor-in-Chief: Iuliana Alexa (iuliana. Advertising Manager: Monica Pop (

PSYCHOLOGIES BELGIUM Edition Ventures, Chaussée de Louvain 431D, 1830 Lasne. Tel: + 32 2 379 29 90 Editorial Director: Marie-Christine De Wasseige (mc.dewasseige@ventures. be) Chief editor (French): Christiane Thiry ( Chief editor (Flemish): Barbara Van den Abeele ( Advertising Manager: Manoëlle Sepulchre (

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Author of the award-winning Wild Times (Bradt Travel Guides, £14.99), Jini is writing a new book, exploring the magical in the landscape. This month, she writes about an unusual near-death experience. ‘Attending a workshop using virtual reality to explore near-death experiences was fascinating in every way,’ she says. ‘It has also, crucially, left me feeling less fearful of death and more optimistic about life.’ Read why on page 52.



Be a hero in your own life We explore heroes and inspiration in this issue. ‘Ultimately, people need to realise that they can be brave; that they don’t need a hero, they can be their own hero,’ says Rose McGowan, activist and author of Brave, on page 44. Keira Knightley riffs on the same theme (page 20), urging us to find women to look up to: ‘Women need female heroes – it’s vital that girls learn in Suzy Walker school about the contributions women have made in history.’ Editor-in-Chief, with Oscar the office dog Be inspired by environmentalist and physicist, Melanie Windridge, our brilliant ‘My life, my way’ subject, who says of conquering Everest (page 28): ‘I like to challenge myself… to walk in the footsteps of explorers, of people who did the impossible.’ What do you need to do to be a hero in your life? What ‘impossible’ challenge calls you? Why not enter our competition on page 116, learn to dive with PADI on a retreat worth £3,000 – and maybe swim with sharks or turtles before the year is out? But maybe you need to create space for adventure. Our Dossier (page 64) helps you simplify your life – plus sign up for our free ‘Go slow’ course, for greater productivity, health and happiness, with top coach Simon Hague.

Let’s do it together




However you want to streamline and bring ease to your life, you are not alone. Join the ‘Psychologies’ Life Leap Club, free to all subscribers, and be part of a kind community of inspiring readers, who are creating life leaps of their own. Go to psychologies.



Send your letters to and tell us what you love about our magazine. You could win a six-month subscription, plus access to our new Life Leap Club! Star letter

NEW HORIZONS As a new reader of Psychologies, I was pleasantly surprised by the uplifting content, which is often missing in other magazines. I found the Dossier in the February issue, focusing on being brave, particularly inspiring. I have always dreamed of working in a creative profession, but self-doubt has prevented me from pursuing it. I’ve recently left my well-established career in pursuit of greater fulfilment but have still been questioning whether I have what it takes to succeed. Having read your articles, I now feel reassured that my feelings of fear are perfectly normal, and I feel more energised and prepared to fully embrace change. Rachel

Share with us…

Share your photos and comments on Instagram @psychologiesmagazine, or tweet us @PsychologiesMag both using #PsychologiesMagazine @agnes_hall: I have just finished reading the @walkamileuk article in @PsychologiesMag and it made me smile so much. There’s always hope of finding good people in the most unknown corners, isn’t there?

@mi_healy: Love is... a lie-in and a cup of tea in bed with time to read my fave @psychologies magazine.

@button03_4 After a week in bed with the flu, I am catching up on some reading and making notes for the year with my @PsychologiesMag.

@amiecrewscoach: ‘Let’s go upstairs and get dressed,’ I say. ‘But I’m just reading this @PsychologiesMag,’ my threeyear-old responds!

Get your weekly fix! 8 PSYCHOLO GIES MAGA ZINE SPRIN G 201 9

@nicolacook74: I just love sitting down with my new @psychologiesmagazine, turmeric tea and inspiring messages. Create your own happy tribe.

@alli2409: That time of the month when my favourite magazine comes out. No kids, a bit of me time to sit down and breathe.


feedback Letter of gratitude

CHANCE ENCOUNTERS I was in a hotel in 2005 when a stranger sat down at a table and pulled out a magazine. She was so engrossed and couldn’t take her eyes away. I sat nearby and glanced over to catch the cover of the magazine: Psychologies, it read. Later, I popped out to a buy a copy and spent the evening reading it. I was absolutely amazed. At the time, I was in an abusive relationship. All the advice and features made me into the strong and positive person that I am today. Thank you stranger, and thank you Psychologies. Helen

I’d like to thank…

My little sister, Yasmin Who knew we’d only have 20 years together? I remember the day you were born. I was 12 and, as a teenager, I thought a new baby would be so annoying. When you turned one, you became more interesting. At two, I was


besotted with your gorgeous giggle. At seven,

I took this picture on a skiing trip to La Plagne, France. Parts of 2018 were tough with family illnesses, work stress and job uncertainties. Arriving in the Alps and spending a week in the mountains with clean air, beautiful scenery and time with great friends and my partner was good for the soul. Mountains inspire me and give me perspective – time in nature always heals. Georgina

The winner

you coined a new nickname for me, ‘Aisha Pizza’, after my favourite food. As the older sister, I wrote your essays, took you to nice places, gave you lectures and shared wisdom. When you were 10, we spoke about the day you’d turn 18. We did so much counting. In the end, you were taken from us at the young age of 20. Even still, I wouldn’t change it. Thank you for those precious years. You’ve taught me not to count months and years, but to live in the moment. If I could have any other sister for a lifetime or you for those

A isha P izza WOULD YOU LIKE to showcase your photographic talent in ‘Psychologies’? What moment has made you feel inspired, grateful or moved this month? Capture it and tell us why. We’ll print the winner, plus you’ll receive a six-month subscription, and access to our Life Leap Club! Share your photo with us and explain its inspiration on Instagram @psychologiesmagazine with the hashtag #PsychologiesPhoto or email

This month’s gratitude letter, star letter and chosen photo win a six-month subscription to Psychologies worth £25.80, plus access to our Life Leap Club! Send your letters to



20, I’d choose you every time.


n me wo

ca nc er

Dream Challenges

Cycle Croatia 14 -18 May 2020 Cycle 300km along the beautiful Dalmatian Coast in Croatia and raise funds to support those affected by breast, cervical and ovarian cancers.

For more information and to register online: t: 01590 646410 e:

To take part you need to pay a registration fee of £149 and raise minimum sponsorship funds of £1,850. Registered Charity Nos: Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust: 1133542/SC041236, Ovarian Cancer Action: 1109743/SC043478, Breast Cancer Care: 1017658/SC038104. From 1 April 2019 Breast Cancer Care will merge with Breast Cancer Now after that date all donations will go to Breast Cancer Care and Breast Cancer Now a charity registered in England and Wales (No. 1160558) and Scotland (SC045584). Women V Cancer is established under Giving Works. Registered Charity No. 1078770.

The Fix

News I Reviews

I Books

I Film






me, what is it you plan to do “withTellyour one wild and precious life? ” MARY OLIVER

There Are Girls Like Lions is a new illustrated poetry anthology about being a woman. ‘This is a collection that erodes stereotypes,’ says poet and editor Cole Swensen. ‘Poetry is unique in the arts in making voice literal – we speak out, we have our say. No one of these voices speaks for everyone, but through them, we all have a voice.’ Read their voices, and find yours too, in the new book. ‘There are Girls Like Lions: Poems About Being A Woman’, illustrated by Karolin Schnoor (Chronicle Books, £11.99)

S P R I N G 2 0 1 9 P S YC H O L O G I E S M A G A Z I N E 11

The Fix


Thought-provoking culture, creative ideas, insightful science and inspiring gifts OUR KINDNESS PROJECT


Mug, £14, notonthe

A SPOONFUL OF KINDNESS Author David Hamilton is an advocate of kindness. Here, he explains why he’s happy to be kind KINDNESS IS LIKE a pill that makes us feel better, and there’s evidence for kindness having antidepressant effects. Studies of large numbers of people who take part in volunteer work have found much lower rates of depression in volunteers than in the general population. Research also shows that volunteering elevates our happiness levels. A study* at the University of California compared

people who performed five acts of kindness per week to people not doing so. Happiness was measured at the beginning and again after six weeks. Those who performed the acts of kindness became happier. Those who didn’t, saw no boost. And the greatest gains in happiness came when the volunteers did the five acts of kindness on the same day. It just goes to show that simple, daily acts of kindness can work wellbeing wonders.

Join ‘Psychologies’ kindness tsar David Hamilton live on Facebook

@Psychologiesmagazine for his free 30-day kindness challenge every month, next on 1 April at 1pm. For access to more like this, join the ‘Psychologies’ Life Leap coaching club, free when you subscribe to the magazine. ‘The Five Side Effects Of Kindness’ by David Hamilton (Hay House, £10.99) is out now

Hammock, £157,


Dream of dozing in a hammock on a beach? A new study† found that a rocking bed helps us enjoy better sleep and process memories. When tested, rocking didn’t help people fall asleep faster, but they did spend longer in the deep stages of slumber. A rocking bed also triggered more ‘sleep spindles’ – bursts of brain activity that help prevent us from waking and aid in the consolidation of memories.




Joy to the world

WHAT DOES JOY MEAN TO YOU? Bruce Velick is a gallery curator and created the new book Joy! (Chronicle Books, £10.99) as an exhibition of images of life’s happiest moments, captured by photographers across the globe from the 1920s to the present. It’s an uplifting collection that documents everyday moments you can’t help but smile at – such as this picture by Chris Minihane of a Masai warrior enjoying a sunset ride home over the Ngong Hills in Kenya. Joy! includes beautiful snaps of everything from a dog playing on a beach, to people dancing in the rain or revelling in the ecstasy of a fairground ride. ‘We may not know how to define joy, but we know it when we see it,’ says professor of psychology Robert Emmons. ‘Velick exquisitely captures this emotion throughout this beautiful and elevating book – a collection of joyful images depicting joy in lived lives.’

Lunchbox, £15,




The Fix

Thought-provoking culture, creative ideas, insightful science and inspiring gifts


Dog bookends, £25,

Walking a dog helps us feel positive and energised, according to 96 per cent of people surveyed. But sadly, research shows only 42 per cent of the nation’s dogs are walked daily, with the average outing lasting just 20 minutes. The study* marks the launch of Forthglade’s The Great Dog Walk Challenge, which aims to highlight the mutual benefits and inspire us all to ‘rediscover the joy in walking’. Join the challenge at

♥ Audible books

Our friends at Audible tell us why you will be transported to an enchanting childhood wonderland with Bookworm

WE LOVE ‘Bookworm’ by Lucy Mangan When Lucy Mangan was little, stories were everything. They opened up new worlds from Narnia to Kirrin Island and Wonderland, casting light on all the complexities she encountered in this one. In Bookworm, Mangan revisits her childhood reading with wit, love and gratitude. She relives our best-beloved books and their extraordinary creators, and looks at the subtle ways they shape our lives. Beautifully narrated, Bookworm brings the favourite characters of our collective childhoods back to life and brilliantly uses them to tell her own story.

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‘Bookworm’ is available for £14.99; free to members or with a 30-day Audible trial. See





FINDING SIMPLICITY Emma Stroud, our clown-in-residence, takes a quiet look within AS A CLOWN on the go, I often find myself travelling. A few weeks ago, my phone decided that it had had enough. It no longer wanted to provide me with brilliant distractions! I was left bereft for a few moments, until I realised I had a pen and paper. I took a breath and started to write. It was one of those magical moments when I was in flow and my new show started to emerge with a clarity I’d been desperately searching for in far louder and busier places. This was the best reminder for me to turn off, sit, breathe and allow. Who knows what your inner wisdom will say to you…


Film of the month

Fisherman’s Friends

Directed by Chris Foggin

THIS UPLIFTING, WARM AND HEARTFELT comedy is based on the remarkable true story of an a cappella group of sea shantysinging fishermen from Port Isaac, in Cornwall, who performed in pubs to raise money for charity and got their big break when a radio DJ heard them sing and introduced them to his manager, who got them a £1m contract with Universal Music. The film tells it slightly differently: Daniel Mays plays a disillusioned city music executive who finds himself in a Cornish village on a stag do and, in a prank by his boss, attempts to sign the

group, led by Jim (James Purefoy). But, as he gets to know the fishermen, their families and community – and falls for B&B owner and single mum Alwyn (Tuppence Middleton) – he decides to get them a record deal for real. With a backdrop of beautiful coastal scenes, pretty harbours and winding 17th-century lanes, it has a big feel-good factor. The film tells an engaging and emotive tale of history and community, love and loss, with a soundtrack of uplifting traditional folk songs that will have you smiling and singing along with them. DW

Glitter notebook, £3,

Join bananas clown-in-residence Emma Stroud live on Facebook

@Psychologiesmagazine every month, next on 23 April at 1pm. For more like this, join the ‘Psychologies’ Life Leap club, free when you subscribe to the magazine. Read our Dossier about an easier, slower life on page 64


emotional intelligence


Succeed and be content International bestselling author, Buddhist monk and teacher Haemin Sunim shares his observations on living a fulfilling life







Do not beg for the attention of other people. As you discover and develop your unique strengths and talents, people will automatically pay you attention. If we see a person who is passionate about their work, we naturally feel drawn to them. We can’t take our eyes off them. Passion is contagious.

be happy forever, but waves of despondency flood in, and success gives way to a backlash you never anticipated. Instead of postponing happiness until you have achieved your goal, live a little and enjoy the moment.

The more we mature, the more we see how others have contributed to our successes. When we express our gratitude for that, the next success will follow.


When you finally achieve something you’ve wanted for a long time, it seems like you’ll

‘Love For Imperfect Things: How To Accept Yourself In A World Striving For Perfection’ by Haemin Sunim (Penguin, £9.99) is out now

The opposite of greed is not abstinence but knowing how to be content.


Do not be afraid of making mistakes, only of not learning from them.

If life was free of adversity, we wouldn’t have opportunities to grow. It’s in struggling to solve life’s challenges that talent is honed and endurance built.

S P R I N G 2 0 1 9 P SYC H O LO G I E S M AG A Z I N E 17

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our premium, all-natural skincare ranges are the focus of a major new launch by 100 per cent vegan beauty brand PHB Ethical Beauty. With a unique blend of nature and science, the products are cruelty-free, lovingly handmade in the UK and free from palm oil. They’re devoid of harsh alcohols, petrochemicals and GMO ingredients and come in eco-friendly glass packaging. What’s more, PHB Ethical Beauty donates 20 per cent of profits to charities via its philanthropic arm, the One Love Foundation.

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wake up to the animal-based ingredients and chemical nasties lurking in their moisturisers and serums. ‘In response, we’ve revamped our skincare portfolio, taking our ultra-ethical and eco-friendly ethos to the next level. Our new ranges use the latest advances in green chemistry to create skincare products that harness the full powers of Mother Nature, for tangible results that will make you fall in love with your skin.’ PHB Ethical Beauty has also revamped its body and haircare ranges, introducing various two-in-one and multitasking formulas, designed to bring simplicity into your life, while reducing product packaging and water waste.

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No time like the present After hearing some devastating news, Harriet Minter considers how to make the most of the here and now with the people she loves



here is a moment in your life when you know you’re getting older. I wish I could tell you that it’s when your hairdresser suggests a shorter cut would be more flattering, or when you realise your boss was born in the 1990s but, the reality is, it’s when your friends start telling you they have cancer. I know, I wish that wasn’t how it happens either. Of course, it’s not the first time someone in my life has had that stilted ‘I’ve had some bad news’ conversation with me. But, for the first time, it is neither people so much older than me that I saw death as inevitable for them, nor is it something that everyone refers to under their breath as a ‘tragedy’. Instead, it is simply a fact of life. Last year, two of my friends were diagnosed with cancer. When the first one told me, I cried. I still feel as though, in that moment, I let her down and, from then on, I decided that would be the last time I’d cry in front of her. I was going to do my best to be strong for her. Along the way, this is what I learned about supporting a friend through illness: Firstly, there is no right or wrong way – you can only do your best. But you also realise that when we say they’re ‘fighting for their life’, what we really mean is that they’re fighting for the everyday, normal things that we all take for granted. They’re fighting for Sunday lunch with their loved ones and weekend trips to the seaside. Yes, they’re going through treatment for cancer but that doesn’t mean they want to focus only on that. My friend and I used to run once a week, mainly so we could go for a coffee and croissant afterwards. When the running became too much, we still went for coffee. Rather than big Saturday nights out, we had big Saturday nights in when it didn’t matter if she fell asleep on the sofa at 9pm. Life as usual became the goal. I also learned that nobody required me to be

superwoman. I desperately wanted to fix this for my friends but there was nothing I could do. Thankfully, they were both much smarter than me and didn’t expect me to provide solutions, they just wanted me to be there for them. This, it turns out, is still pretty hard. You feel completely useless and so the easy option is to slowly fade out of their lives but, really, all that’s required from you is to keep turning up. Call them on a Wednesday afternoon for a chat. Pick them up from the hospital once or twice, so they don’t have to get the bus home. Just be there. And, finally, use this as a lesson in how to be truly present with your friends. So often when we’re with the people we love, we have half our attention on them and the other half on our own problems. But, the truth is, you don’t know if you’ll have another chance for this topic of conversation. You can hope that you might, but there are no certainties with cancer, so really, really engage with them. You’ll never regret that. For weekly wisdom from Harriet, sign up for her newsletter at harrietminter. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @harrietminter

S P R I N G 2 0 1 9 P SYC H O LO G I E S M AG A Z I N E 19


Keira Knightley

“It can make a big difference if girls see stories about extraordinary women” Award-winning actress Keira Knightley talks about fearlessness, feminism, her passion for history – and new film The Aftermath PHOTOGRAPH MAARTEN DE BOER/THE LICENSING PROJECT


keen student of the past and historical fiction, Keira Knightley has an avowed preference and enthusiasm for period films. In The Imitation Game, Anna Karenina, A Dangerous Method and this year’s Colette, Knightley revels in recreating characters from bygone days. It’s therefore no surprise that she is currently starring in The Aftermath, a romantic drama set in Germany after the Second World War. Knightley plays Rachael Morgan, the unhappy wife of British colonel Lewis Morgan (Jason Clarke), who is stationed in Hamburg to oversee the city’s reconstruction. Complications ensue when her husband allows the previous owner of their mansion on the Elbe, a former high-ranking Wehrmacht officer (Alexander Skarsgård), and his troubled daughter to stay with them,

and Rachael becomes attracted to him. ‘I’ve always been drawn to historical fiction and I love exploring the past,’ says Knightley of her choice of roles over the years. ‘I enjoy relating to the characters in period fi lms and I have a completely different feeling when I’m reliving another era, as opposed to performing in projects that tell contemporary stories.’ The actress, who earned Oscar nominations for Pride & Prejudice and The Imitation Game, reiterates: ‘I love period films! I always have and, although I’ve gone through times when I felt guilty about starring in too many of them, I now embrace them. There’s something about the escapism that makes me want to take on these dramas and I often relate to historical characters far more strongly than others.’ The Aftermath is directed by James Kent (director of First World War drama Testament Of Youth) and Ridley Scott is its executive producer. Welsh author Rhidian Brook wrote the screenplay,


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based on his novel of the same name, recounting his grandfather Walter Brook’s experience. Knightley is married to musician James Righton, former keyboardist and frontman of the band Klaxons. They live in London with their daughter, Edie, three.

The interview

You are outspoken about the need to find more women’s stories, especially following your role in The Imitation Game as mathematician Joan Clarke, who worked with codebreaker Alan Turing… Women need female heroes because it’s vital that girls learn in school about the contributions that women have made in history. Usually, we only hear about male heroes or great male figures, so women need to learn more about a remarkable individual like Colette, for example. [In Colette, Knightley plays Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, a ghostwriter for her author husband, who fought for creative ownership of her work, challenging 20th-century gender norms.] We need to be inspired by her and many other women whose lives and accomplishments have gone unrecognised, or not received the attention they deserve. Colette was also open and fearless about relationships – she lived her life the way she chose and had no shame about her sexuality. She lived unapologetically and I’d like people to feel empowered after learning more about her. Is it fair to say you have a penchant for unconventional historical female characters? Sometimes those kinds of movies have been the only ones that offered me the chance to play strong, independent women. I can’t tell you how many scripts I’ve read in which women are subjected to violence or portrayed as the passive girlfriend or wife. The period films I’ve done have enabled me to tell stories about formidable and fascinating women.   Do you share the boldness of some of the women that you portray? Unfortunately, I tend to be much more introverted than they are. I think that’s why I’m drawn to playing women who enjoy being the centre of attention, because I’m exactly the opposite in social

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“I’m glad we’re talking about sexual politics… We need to keep the conversation going and this fire lit” situations. Acting is my way of indulging in being a more fearless kind of person than in real life although, sometimes, I suppose those personality traits rub off on you – but they never last, I’m sad to say!

Do you think the rise of the #MeToo movement and the resurgence of feminism will result in more female-led films and the dramatisation of more women’s stories? We’ll have to see but I certainly hope so. We’re still in the early stages of this renewed women’s movement but I think we’ve already started to see more projects getting made which revolve around women and give greater weight to female characters. With all the discussion about ‘THE AFTERMATH’ feminism and gender politics going on now, it’s important that young Set in post-war Germany in 1946, women get to hear stories about Rachael Morgan (Keira Knightley) great women and are able to identify arrives in the ruins of Hamburg in with female heroes. Men have always the bitter winter, to be reunited with been inspired by male heroes in films her husband Lewis (Jason Clarke), and I think it can make a big a British colonel charged with difference if girls get to see stories rebuilding the shattered city. about extraordinary women, too. As they set off for their new home, Rachael is stunned to discover that Lewis has made an unexpected decision: they will be sharing the grand house with its previous owner, a widower (Alexander Skarsgård) and his disturbed daughter. In this charged atmosphere, enmity and grief give way to passion and betrayal. The Aftermath is directed by James Kent, best known for the award-winning Testament Of Youth.

Apart from acting, did you ever have any other career ambitions? I dreamed of a sports career but there were very few opportunities for girls, except maybe in tennis, which I didn’t like. I love football, of course [Knightley’s breakthrough role was in coming-of-age story Bend It Like Beckham], and rugby. I remember taking part in an oratory competition


In Bend It Like Beckham with Parminder Nagra, championing women’s football

Knightley as Leo Tolstoy’s Russian aristocrat Anna Karenina, who has a life-changing affair

y plays an unhappy wife in The Aftermath. Knightley f at the recent Women of the Year Awards Left,

Playing mathematician Joan Clarke, opposite Benedict Cumberbatch, in The Imitation Game


in which I spoke about sexism in sport. It was my first feminist speech. I finished third, which still annoys me! Are you a competitive person? I love a good challenge. If I don’t get out of my comfort zone; if a role doesn’t scare me in some way, I get bored. I love doing great dramatic films and I’m fascinated by darker characters. Maybe that’s why comedies aren’t really me. The first time you say a joke, everyone laughs on the set. Then you repeat the line in the next few takes and nobody laughs, so you haven’t the faintest idea whether or not you’re doing a good job. Do you and your husband have set child-rearing responsibilities, especially when you’re filming? We’re both very engaged in the life of our daughter and, if I’m going to be busy with a fi lm, my husband takes care of her… When he has to leave for work, I take over the parental duties. I also have a fantastic nanny who helps me with everything at home and that makes it much easier for me.

You’re working again after a year off to spend more time with your daughter. How do you feel about that? I grew up the daughter of a working mother, and I know how important it was for me and my sense of self to see Mum working. I want my daughter to see that I’m doing something I love. I want her to know that whatever field she chooses, she can have a child and pursue a career. Did your mother raise you to be independent? Both my father and mother were activists. [Knightley is the daughter of actor Will Knightley and actress-turnedplaywright Sharman Macdonald.] My mother raised me to believe I could do anything in life. That’s why I wrote an essay for Feminists Don’t Wear Pink (And Other Lies). Every book sale helps fund [United Nations Foundation women’s charity] Girl Up, which promotes female education and leadership. I’m glad we’re talking about sexual politics and all the other issues that opens up. We need to keep the conversation going and this fire lit. ‘The Aftermath’ is in UK cinemas now; ‘Feminists Don’t Wear Pink (And Other Lies)’ curated by Scarlett Curtis (Penguin, £12.99)

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Welcome to the family

When Barbara Meakin* fell in love with a widower who had a daughter, she thought she was walking into a fairy tale. Instead, she found herself embarking on the emotional journey of her life


hen I met a clever, kind handsome man with a beautiful 11-year-old daughter, it seemed like a dream come true. I was 49 years old and had always wanted children, but that had never happened for me. When he asked me to marry him on my birthday in Venice, it was the happiest day of my life. At our wedding, we included a prayer for children. I was determined to be a mother to J. I wanted to fill that gap in her life. It had started well. J and I had our first meeting over a litter of puppies at a street party. She loved them. I loved them. She was

earning points to get a puppy and I suggested to her father that, as she was obviously going to get the puppy anyway, why not let her have it now? It was the summer holiday and she’d have time to enjoy it‌ He wisely gave way. J was delighted and associated that happiness with me. I held back initially – it was her pet. But, when the dog started refusing to come back on walks, my husband suggested that we find a way of managing her or look for a new owner. I felt as if giving up on the dog would somehow be giving up on my relationship with J. I was in a bit of a panic, never having had my own dog , but threw myself into it. Compared to people, dogs >>>

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While I struggled, my husband became even more protective of J. He believed in giving her a relatively easy life to compensate, in part, for her losing her mum. He took over both roles – mother and father. But where did that leave me? I looked for the gaps, to try to win J’s affection and find my niche in the family. She likes food but is picky. I can cook, so we went through her mother’s old cookery books in an attempt to find meals she might like. She was polite, but most of my attempts were flops. If she liked something one week, she’d be off it the next. I suggested going to have a makeover together and shopping trips – her response became

I realised that “when his mum used

the word ‘outsider’, it was her way of being deeply empathetic towards me

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I felt like the “Greek god Tantalus,

sitting in a river surrounded by unreachable fruit. That fruit was the golden fatherdaughter unit

the grief-stricken housekeeper. I’ve always been a drama queen. I went to sleep one night realising I’d fallen prey to evil stepmother syndrome. I had to get out of it. When I opened my eyes in the morning, I remembered a self-help course I’d been on decades ago – ‘Victim, persecutor, rescuer’.

Sorrow and expectation

It took an hour to read A Game Free Life by Stephen Karpman. It’s old but gold, as they say. That led to another book, Bouncing Back, Rewiring Your Brain For Maximum Resilience (New World Library, £15.99), by Linda Graham. I read it, slowly, and did all the exercises twice. I began to deal with my rage and grief compassionately. They were clearly just my stuff. My father died when I was four and I had a fantasy of what I thought a family should be. Before I met my husband, I’d avoided family situations and my grief about not having my own children. Now, I was in the thick of it. These were two primal sorrows that were nothing to do with my marriage or my role as a stepmother. I finally admitted I was jealous. I wanted a child like J to love and be loved by. I wanted to be ‘spoiled’ like her. I began to listen to my feelings with understanding. Once I got the knack of comprehending my responses, my volatility began to decrease. I would retreat into a space I privately dubbed my ‘womb room’. I’m condensing into paragraphs what


What’s my job?

increasingly lukewarm. It was clear she didn’t want me to try so hard. On our first wedding anniversary, J gave us a card, then ran off. My husband found her hiding, ashamed she’d been disloyal to her mum. That first year, I also got a Mother’s Day card. It was utterly unexpected and I was elated. It was the only time. Another year, there was a Mother’s Day card with a thistle on it knocking around the house. Was it for me? If so, why wasn’t anything written in it? Was the thistle symbolic? Had she bought it or had he? I tied myself in knots. I googled ‘stepmum of child with deceased mother’ – nothing remotely helpful out there. I was overtaken by rages. I resented each pile of washing, every bit of tidying. I fuelled my fury with my mother’s words, ‘What am I, the cleaning lady?’ There were other litanies: ‘He treats her like a princess – he butters her toast; he carries her bags. I do everything!’ I slammed around, feeling like Cinderella, ‘Mutter, mutter, feminism! Mutter, mutter, emotional labour!’ I was convinced it was only a matter of time before the whole thing split apart. I felt like the Greek god Tantalus, sitting in a river surrounded by unreachable fruit. That fruit was the golden father-daughter unit. J addressed almost everything she said to him, as if I wasn’t there. As she got older, they started watching gory action movies together. I couldn’t help thinking this was a convenient ruse to shut me out, as I hate that kind of film. I took everything personally. When my mother-in-law said, unprompted, ‘You are not the outsider, you know,’ I had my label. I was the outsider. The real story was between them – and his late wife. It wasn’t until I realised I was acting out Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier that things began to improve. I was obsessed with that book as a child. And now I was playing the victim second wife, haunted by a ghost, ranting like Mrs Danvers,

are, literally, a walk in the park. You feed them, love them and they hurl that love back at you to the power of 10. So far, so good. Then I tried to train J. Big mistake. I suggested that she tidy her room, help with the washing-up and have her turn to get drinks for the family. My husband’s hackles rose. I probably did it in a tone like my own mother’s; she was a head teacher and I’d always done lots in the house when I was a child. What I failed to get was that J was already in a set parenting style. My husband, his friends and family were always telling me that I was the exact opposite of his first wife. She was a great manager, businesswoman and homemaker. I’m creative, scattered and impulsive. I got depressed.


Muddling along

Six years later, this is where I am: I have absolutely no idea what I am to J. I know I’m something. For my part, I feel like her adoptive mother. As for her relationship with her father, it’s their business. I’m beginning to enjoy the way he treats her like a princess – it gives them both pleasure. He knows he’s doing it and laughs about it. She knows perfectly well how to butter her own toast, but that’s not the point. It may not

I also butter “herNow, toast, make her

smoothies at the drop of a hat and leap at any opportunity to nurture

took several years – and is ongoing. I’d say I manage to keep level 80 per cent of the time. It’s up to me. I can be glass half-empty: ‘This isn’t the family of my dreams.’ Glass half-full: ‘This is so much more than I expected.’ Or even: ‘Ooh look, a glass with my name on it!’

be feminism to expect your father to carry your heavy bags, both literally and metaphorically, but it’s his way of being a good parent. He has her back – totally. Now, I also butter her toast, make her smoothies at the drop of a hat and leap at any opportunity to nurture. I’m sure it makes her feel loved, and maybe even helps with the loss of her mother. I didn’t receive that kind of attention

when my father died – but now I have to give it to myself. Of course, J needs time with her father. I’ve noticed that now I’ve dropped my controlling gaze, they don’t have to choose films I wouldn’t like to ensure they get time alone – they cuddle up and watch Glee with relish and I get on with something else that I enjoy. Often, I have beautiful dreams in which J and I are really close. Perhaps they’re compensation dreams but actually, underneath the dramas, we get on pretty well. I’ve recently been helping her study. It’s a small thing that makes me hugely happy. Very occasionally, she’ll come to me for advice. Once, she was struggling with friendships at school and poured it all out. She took my advice and I feel that’s a silent bond between us. She’s not demonstrative, so I’ve learned to stroke her arm instead of lunging for the bear hug, and to appreciate the occasional, small, but genuine, smile. It helps that my husband often says he feels for me because I do the practical work of a mum but don’t get the emotional benefits of the blood relationship between a daughter and her mother. That recognition is enough. Nuts to Mother’s Day! Why should I be controlled by the global hype? Eating together on a daily basis, creating the environment for banter and sharing stories about our days is more important. I realise that when his mother used the word ‘outsider’, it was her way of being deeply empathetic towards me. I note and appreciate how, now that my own mum has died, she says she loves me all the time. Even his late wife’s mother tells me she sees me as a daughter. Having a cat, a dog, a house, a husband and a stepdaughter is more than I had hoped for at 56. We’re a blended family, a real family and, when it works best, I know that I don’t ‘have’ any of them. We’re travelling together, like free-floating reeds in a river.

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my life, my way

“I like to walk in the footsteps of people who did the impossible ” Physicist and environmentalist Melanie Windridge summited Everest to show how science fuels adventure WORDS ELLEN TOUT PHOTOGR APHS ALUN CALLENDER

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my life, my way

ABOVE AND RIGHT Melanie hopes to create an abundant, safe and cost-effective source of energy BELOW Passionate about her work and its objective, Melanie communicates with colleagues, investors, the public and students

“Because of my passion for the environment – mountains, snow, glaciers, the Arctic – I want to contribute to something bigger. This work gives me real purpose”

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RIGHT Melanie walks on The Ridgeway in Oxfordshire. Being outdoors – trekking, skiing and running – helps her unwind LEFT AND BELOW The tokamak device at Tokamak Energy, a leading laboratory in fusion, aims to heat plasma to temperatures of more than 100 million degrees celsius to generate energy


elanie Windridge loved science and experiments at school. ‘I’ve always been curious and liked playing with objects,’ she remembers. ‘Physics was my favourite subject, which was rather unusual at a girls’ school. By the time I did my GCSEs, I knew that I wanted to study physics at university.’ She spent a year of her degree course studying in France and later, during two years of travelling, Melanie fostered her passion for exploration and the outdoors, too. ‘While travelling, I spent time in the mountains and got my first taste of walking at altitude on the Inca Trail,’ she says. ‘Being in nature, I began to see the effects of climate change – like coral bleaching in Thailand and glaciers retreating in the Himalayas.’ Unsure of where her physics degree would take her, Melanie began researching fusion – a way of creating clean, green energy. During her PhD in fusion energy, Melanie led university visitors’ tours and, one day, she was asked to fill in for another expert and give a talk – something she now does regularly. ‘I was terrified!’ she says. ‘I felt exposed. It was not natural for me. But, because I care about the subject, I’ve learned to see it as just having a conversation about my work. If you’d told me I’d do a TEDx Talk and speak publicly all the time, I wouldn’t have believed you. It’s amazing when people provide feedback. You don’t get that reward unless you open up and give of yourself.’ Why is she so passionate about fusion? ‘Fusion is like building a miniature sun on earth. It’s the reaction that powers

“I like the big picture. To do something that is inspiring and will one day change the world is a privilege”

the sun and stars all the time,’ she explains. ‘As scientists, we want to replicate those conditions to create clean, abundant energy with no greenhouse gases. I believe that the energy problem is fundamental to our civilisation. Because of my passion for the environment – the mountains, snow, glaciers, the Arctic – I want change to happen and to contribute to something bigger. This work gives me a real purpose.’

A story about saving the planet

Melanie is a freelance physicist and science communicator, which means that she explains science-related topics to non-experts, but she had expected to pursue a more traditional role. ‘When I didn’t find work in academia, I had a crisis of confidence and identity. I always thought that was why I was studying physics and that was the way my life would go. It was tough to find my path,’ she says. But, sharing her work through talks, outreach in schools for The Institute of Physics and a blog, which later became a book, took her on a different journey. ‘Someone at Tokamak Energy, a leading laboratory in fusion, for which I’ve worked for five years, spotted my work and decided they needed someone who can tell the fusion story to the world,’ she explains. ‘It was tiny then, but perfect for me because I like the big picture. To do something that is inspiring and will one day change the world is a privilege. ‘I juggle my time between work and personal projects – books, talks and trips. I’m lucky that I’m able to work >>>

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LEFT Melanie spent a year training and researching how science supports mountain climbers

BELOW LEFT Melanie’s boots. She’s fascinated by how the chemistry of clothing protects from the elements

“‘I can do it ’ became the mantra I plodded along to. There was no question in my mind… I had faith”

>>> while going on expeditions that I love, and it’s all science!’

One such exploration took Melanie to see the aurora (Northern Lights). ‘Both fusion and the aurora involve plasma so, as a plasma physicist, I wanted to see this spectacular, natural plasma phenomenon. I took an Arctic science course and had to go and see this intense movement in the sky!’ Her experience inspired Melanie’s book, Aurora: In Search Of The Northern Lights (William Collins, £12.99). ‘I thought, “What must it have been like for indigenous populations and explorers, seeing this marvel in the sky before science knew what it was?” I realised I could write about the science, but weave in landscapes, people and travel. Before I even had a book deal, I had the confidence to say, “I’m going to do this insane thing; I’m going to commit time and money to this.”’

A pioneering mind

Extraordinary things have always fascinated Melanie. ‘Everest, the aurora, fusion – they seem unconnected, but I think they’re linked by the notion of impossible things,’ she says. ‘People say fusion is impossible. I like to challenge myself and to walk in the footsteps of explorers; of the people who

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did the impossible. I have a strange fascination with things that others think are impossible. History has shown us that just because something is impossible now, it doesn’t mean that it will always be impossible. We don’t know when fusion is going to happen – it’s science; it’s an exploration.’ Melanie is vice president of the Alpine Club, the world’s first mountaineering club, which ignited her dream to climb Everest. ‘Before joining, Everest was this crazy, big mountain that I thought you’d have to have a death wish to climb – not anything I’d ever do!’ But, after some research, she realised the role science played in the first successful summit in 1953. ‘People talk about the strength of the human spirit but not the science. As a scientist, I found that interesting,’ she says. ‘What’s hard about Everest is the altitude. It’s so high that you’re literally dying; your body is shutting down. It took a scientist to identify how to overcome that. I read loads about it and realised that, actually, I could probably climb Everest. Once I had that thought, I couldn’t walk away from it. I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life knowing that I didn’t take my opportunity.’ Melanie spent more than a year researching and training, then seven weeks preparing on the mountain and, in March

my life, my way

“Suddenly, the sun came up and it was incredible. I was able to enjoy sunrise at the top of the world. My overwhelming emotion was relief”


LEFT Spending seven weeks on Everest helped Melanie acclimatise and train at its different bases

RIGHT Her Everest challenge kit included thermals, boots, a down suit, helmet and ice axe

2018, she reached the summit. ‘I had been walking for nine hours through the night, but I was focused. I reached the top first in my group! Suddenly, the sun came up and it was incredible. I was able to enjoy sunrise at the top of the world. My overwhelming emotion was relief.’ Ten per cent of climbers to conquer Everest have been women. Did she consider turning back at any point? ‘The altitude makes you feel like you have a permanent hangover. It was hard, but I wasn’t going to give up. To keep going, I sang in my head, “I can do it.” That became the mantra I plodded along to. There was no question in my mind that I would do it. I had faith.’

Paving the way for women

During the expedition, Melanie created a series of YouTube videos to highlight how science improves safety and performance on the mountain. ‘I wanted to bring the science to life in a different context; to show how science is relevant and enables us to do this impossible challenge – altitude, acclimatising, the body, oxygen, communication, rescue, the chemistry of my kit and clothing… I’m writing a book about it which I hope will inspire people, particularly women and girls.

‘Not only am I a female in science, which is male-dominated, but also in adventure. I want girls to see that they can do exciting things and that there are opportunities for them,’ she says. ‘I think the perception is that you’ve got to be super smart or geeky to be a scientist, but that’s not true. It’s about finding your niche.’ Melanie is keen to encourage more women to pursue scientific careers. ‘It makes me sad to think that people believe “that’s not for me because I’m not a man” or “I’m not smart enough”. I’ve had girls ask me at talks whether pursuing a career in science is OK. Girls need to be able to look at professions like mine and see where they fit.’ When Melanie isn’t climbing mountains, nature plays an important part in her life in Buckinghamshire. ‘I like to notice and experience things: to see blades of grass and hear stones under my boots,’ she says. ‘While climbing, I realised that we don’t spend enough time thinking nothing and doing nothing. When you are forced to – sitting in a tent without anything to read, or walking for hours – you’re in your own world and you can reflect. Being in nature is my time to think, detach, let my mind go and allow my eyes to focus on the distance.’; @m_windridge;;

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Coach yourself to greater wellbeing

Do you wish you felt healthier? Maybe you have a health issue that requires a new way of living and you aren’t sure how to manage the adjustment… Coach Beverly Landais helps a dispirited reader find the motivation to create a healthier lifestyle

The ‘Psychologies’endorsed ‘Find a coach’ directory, with Barefoot Coaching, provides readers with a choice of top coaches, all with postgraduate training and accredited by the University of Chester and the International Coach Federation. Find a coach who suits you, to help you navigate and transform your life – in the areas of money, work, relationships, parenting, health and leadership.



Beverly Landais is a life coach who specialises in wellbeing and careers at Beverly Landais Executive Coaching. She enables people to be their resourceful best


I can’t get my head into gear when it comes to my health. I can’t be bothered to go to the gym or eat healthily – I have no motivation. Yet I worry that if I don’t keep an eye on my health, I will have problems in the future. I am 48 and I want to take care of myself. How can I find the drive to improve my health? Kate

A Well done on realising that good health is vital to happiness. Selfawareness is the spark that can light the motivation to act. Good intentions fail when we go to extremes with workouts and food that feel like punishment. There is another way. Small changes to your routine can

BAREFOOT COACHING Psychologies’ partnership with Barefoot Coaching gives you the tools to find a coach who meets your needs. Barefoot Coaching has been at the forefront of coaching and coach training for 25 years. It has a proven track record as a provider of high-level coaching and coach

training to organisations and senior executives, nationally and internationally.

Train as a coach with Barefoot Coaching The Barefoot Coaching International Coach Federation- accredited

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Postgraduate Certificate in Business and Personal Coaching is one of the most well-established coach training courses in the UK. Barefoot runs regular, free introductions to coach training throughout the year. Visit barefootcoaching. to book.

make a big difference. Try these steps: ● Do a self-care audit: Prioritising self-care means paying attention to how you spend your time, handle your resources and maintain your environment. What has worked in the past? What did you enjoy about it? How can you build on your previous successes, however small? ● Ignite motivation: What precisely would you like to improve? Setting a goal will motivate you to act. What strengths do you have to help you? How would it feel if you took action? ● Choose to act: What is one thing you can do now? On a scale of one to 10, how likely are you to stick to it? Aim for at least a seven. Buddy up with someone like-minded – social beats solo. Do one thing today and another tomorrow. Keep going until it’s a habit.

Listen to the podcast:

Our monthly podcast with Kim Morgan g and Suzy Walker discussing coaching dilemmas is on the ‘Psychologies’ podcast channel on iTunes and SoundCloud

in partnership with Barefoot Coaching

















Rate how satisfied you feel with your wellbeing, then create a plan to up it by 3 points this month



The wheel of life Cut out this page and put it somewhere visible. Use the wheel of life, a classic coaching tool, to put your wellbeing into the spotlight. The wheel allows you to focus on improving one segment of your life at a time, while giving you an overall picture of all the parts that comprise a happy life

This month, we’re focusing on improving our wellbeing. l Write down your definition of a healthy

life. What does it look and feel like? How do you honestly feel about your life in this area? Give it a score – with 1 being awful and 10 being brilliant. l Brainstorm with someone you trust or hire a coach to figure out ways to

increase your score by 3 in four weeks. l Break it down into baby steps. What would be a positive step towards improving your score by 1 point? What do you need – a practical plan or to break a bad habit? Maybe you require motivation, or to slow down. Think of a simple way to make a small change. l What would improve the way you feel

about your wellbeing by another point? And another? What action can you take? Who or what will help you: a nutritionist or a cooking or yoga class? l Every month, we’ll address different segments of the wheel – but feel free to work on all parts of your wheel of life at the same time. Refer to it frequently to track your progress. Good luck!

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good thoughts

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Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up ANNE LAMOTT


Conscientious objector Since her days as a school prefect, Heidi Scrimgeour had prided herself on her diligence – until she started to feel taken for granted. Was it time to reform?



onscientious is my middle name. Not literally, obviously, but ever since my time as a school prefect, I’ve been proud of my a hard-working streak. ‘Conscientious’ was the word teachers wrote in my report, and I recall feeling a glow of satisfaction that they recognised how I threw myself wholeheartedly into my work. As an adult, I feel validated when an editor who needs a reliable – or 11th-hour-deadline writer – calls me. It isn’t just a work thing. When my mates fancy a night out, I’m the one who makes it happen. I’m forever doing favours for friends and family – I can’t help it; we conscientious types are simply like this. And, while friends enjoy weekends with their feet up, I’m more likely to be mopping floors or sorting out sock drawers. But, lately, I’ve begun to think that perhaps it isn’t doing me any favours. Instead of taking pride in being the person people call on to get something done, I’ve started wondering if they’re simply taking

advantage of my can-do attitude. After all, other people are the ones who benefit most from my conscientious nature. I recently volunteered to write marketing material for an associate’s business. I offered because I saw the need for the job to be done well, I had the necessary skills and it wouldn’t take up a huge amount of time. But I started to feel that my contribution, although appreciated, wasn’t truly valued because, while other contributors were paid for their work, I was not. I felt short-changed.

Please walk all over me

I could see that my conscientiousness was to blame – if I hadn’t eagerly offered my services, I might have had the opportunity to be paid like everyone else. I felt I’d been labouring under the misapprehension that people thought of me as capable and conscientious when, in fact, they saw me as fair game when they needed a cheeky favour that savvier people would refuse them. Maybe editors call on me when

they need a piece written quickly – not because I’m quick and conscientious – but because other journalists would demand twice the fee to meet such a short deadline. Perhaps the school mums get me to organise drinks – not because I do it well – but because no one else can be bothered. And maybe my associate simply saw me as cheap labour and not a valuable asset to her business. What’s the truth of these situations? Am I people pleasing at my own expense? And, if so, why? I spoke to clinical psychologist Linda Blair. She says it’s important to distinguish between being conscientious and being a people pleaser because, while the two types of behaviour can look the same, the motivations behind them are different. ‘What matters isn’t what you are doing, but why,’ she says. ‘People pleasing suggests a lack of confidence, but what you describe sounds more like others recognising you as someone who gets things done.’ What’s key, she says, is whether I feel pressure to say yes when they ask >>>

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Born this way?

Blair then suggests my conscientious streak may stem from my birth order. ‘Conscientiousness is a common trait in firstborn children,’ she explains. ‘The firstborn is the only child who starts out having complete parental attention, then loses it — and they develop a bit of an ache. They quickly learn that helping to care for younger siblings is one way to get back some of the attention they feel they have lost. That resonates with me. I am not the eldest child in my family but I am the first girl and, having an older sibling with additional needs, it seems I’ve developed some characteristics typically associated with firstborns. I’ve taken on the ‘fixer’ role, forever organising others and volunteering for tasks, from hosting family parties to arranging office secret Santas. ‘This [dutiful streak] is also why firstborns typically do well in life but sometimes at great cost – because they always push themselves harder than they need to,’ says Blair. In itself, conscientiousness is no bad thing, she says, quite the opposite – it’s one of the ‘big five’ personality traits identified by psychologists. Life coach Richard Harris agrees. ‘Conscientiousness is the biggest

The first child has complete parental attention, then loses it – and they develop an ache. They learn to help care for their siblings to get it back

for my input. I realise that I don’t – I’m perfectly capable of saying no to people when I want to.

predictor of career success for most industries, so it’s a good thing,’ he says. ‘But your agreeable nature is probably costing you money.’ He’s right, and I’m determined to make conscientiousness work for me, not against me. That means valuing it in the first place and communicating to others that it’s a marketable skill for which I expect to be rewarded, not penalised. Harris continues: ‘People prone to agreeableness must do what is unnatural for them, and negotiate assertively.’ He recommends rehearsing negotiations with a friend or coach to help reduce anxiety over it. But another aspect of all of this is that I want to allow myself more downtime – to switch off the conscientious me sometimes and relax. Blair explains that there are two dimensions to conscientiousness: industriousness (self-discipline and efficiency) and orderliness (a love of routine and tidiness). In terms of

wellbeing, happiness and satisfaction, industriousness is beneficial but orderliness is not. She suggests I keep a note of the things I do for order, and to drop one habit every few days. ‘You may feel a shiver of naughtiness, like you’re getting away with something,’ she says. ‘When that happens, you’ll also feel a release of energy – direct that into an activity you want to do.’

To be or not to be…

I love that Blair’s approach means I don’t have to stop being myself. ‘If you’re the best at organising drinks, last-minute commissions or doing your friend’s marketing and you like doing those things, keep offering!’ It feels so good to reframe my conscientiousness as a strength and focus on channelling it towards doing things that give me satisfaction. It’s liberating to embrace my diligence but I also feel a new commitment to ask, without apology, for it to be rewarded when appropriate. The prefect in me never realised you can be selectively conscientious. I have decided to step away from helping my associate market her business, and I feel no discomfort, just that shiver of naughtiness Blair mentioned. I’m learning to love that feeling and I look forward to working out how best to use the burst of energy that I know will follow.;

No, don’t try harder Psychologist Linda Blair’s guide to being master of your conscientiousness l

When you volunteer

for yet another task, ask yourself: ’Will this bring me joy?’ If so, go for it. Doing things that benefit others, as long as you don’t feel under pressure to do so,

can boost self-esteem and, as a consequence, wellbeing. l

Negotiate for more.

Agreeableness is a positive trait but, for conscientious types, it can get in the way

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when asking for fair reward for your time or talent. As the saying goes: know your worth, then add VAT. l

Don’t be orderly

for the sake of orderliness.

Homes need to be cleaned and tidied, yes, but many domestic chores can wait a day or two while you do something more fun and rewarding – and a little bit of chaos is good for you!

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Natural fatigue fighters

Boost your energy levels and feel rejuvenated in time for spring with these holistic helpers


affeine might be the gold standard for giving you a quick boost, but if you prefer to avoid the inevitable crash that comes with it, there are some lesser-known natural alternatives to consider. You might not be able to find them on your local supermarket shelves, but these natural energy boosters can help put a spring in your step.

Coenzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q10, or CoQ10, is a molecule found in almost every cell of the body. CoQ10 serves as an antioxidant and stimulates the mitochondria to produce more energy as ATP (adenosine triphosphate). We create some CoQ10 within the body, but this declines

with age. We can also get it from foods, such as beef, pork and chicken.


This funny-looking mushroom has been shown in studies to improve the way the body uses oxygen. One such study showed that VO2 max – the maximal oxygen uptake during intense exercise –increased by seven per cent in adults taking a cordyceps supplement for six weeks.


Ginseng is also supported by studies demonstrating its abilities to lower fatigue. It has been suggested that this is due to it helping reduce oxidative stress and increase energy production in cells.



Link Nutrition’s Energy + CoQ10 contains Coenzyme Q10 as well as cordyceps, Siberian ginseng, vitamin C, niacin and vitamins B6 and B12. It supports a reduction in tiredness and fatigue, without the crash that comes with caffeine. ● Get it for 20% off

with your exclusive ‘Psychologies’ reader discount. Use code PS20E. LINK NUTRITION creates unique Food Based™ supplements that combine vitamins and minerals with the highest quality herbs, extracts and mushrooms. It prides itself on making supplements that are safe, effective and absorbable.

S P R I N G 2 0 1 9 P SYC H O LO G I E S M AG A Z I N E 41

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S P R I N G 2 0 1 9 P SYC H O LO G I E S M AG A Z I N E 43

shared values

Rose McGowan

The activist, author and former actress shares what matters most to her in life and what it really means to be brave INTERVIEW DANIELLE WOODWARD

It’s OK to be angry. So many people are not allowed to have that emotion, especially women, and I disagree. It doesn’t mean you’ll be angry all the time, it just means that things are unfair, you’re calling out the unfairness and taking back that which has been taken from you. Being brave is having the courage to do the right thing, even when it’s brutally difficult. It doesn’t mean you’re not scared; it means you do the scary thing anyway. I live my life that way. Each time, you grow stronger and you realise that you’re capable of so many things you didn’t think you’d survive, but you do. Honesty, strength and bravery are my core values; I’ve yet to meet the person who I’d sell myself out for. Integrity is important, too – who you look at in the mirror, that person has to answer to just you. So, if you can’t look yourself in the face, what are you doing? Loyalty is not something I’ve known a lot about; I’m wary of trusting but you either trust no one or believe that most people are good, and that’s what I do. I was raised without any focus on gender or race, which was a unique way to experience the world. It was a sort of superpower; I lived in an internal world, without any focus on the external at all. I was a beautiful young girl and it took the importance of that away. We were raised as individual minds.

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I don’t see the harm in telling the truth. To others, it’s scary, but I guess that’s what being brave is all about. It makes people uncomfortable, but I think it’s OK to be uncomfortable for a bit; it doesn’t mean you’re that way forever – if you’re wearing a bra that’s too tight, you take it off and you’re comfortable again. Hollywood is a cult-like mentality; it’s the one big industry in that town, it’s all people talk about and they adhere to these illusory rules that were made up to appease the studio heads years ago. People buy into it, and I’ve written about demystifying the illusions that you’re sold. Being on the outside is a healthier place to be but I’m still finding my footing. It feels like a new era, which is both scary and thrilling – I get to live my life for me now. I love travelling; seeing new places and meeting new people, and simple things like a nice cup of tea and a good book. Reading lets me escape into another world and gives my mind a break. I’ve met people who don’t read and I don’t understand it. Dogs make me happy, too. I’d say the dogs I had when I was in Hollywood saved my life. I’m working on music for an album called Planet Nine; the imaginary planet I’d escape to in my head when I was 10. Four years ago, astronomers found what they believe could be Planet Nine. Making the music was my therapy while I wrote Brave; it’s music to go to space to! I added alpha wave technology to the tracks to massage the brain; it’s a unique experience. Ultimately, people need to realise that they can be brave in their own lives, that they don’t need a hero, they can be their own hero. I want to give people back the idea that they are free to be whatever they want to be and do whatever they want to do. As far as we know, there is only one life, so fight for it – it’s worth the fight. ‘Brave’ by Rose McGowan (HQ, £9.99) is out now in paperback, audio and ebook


Writing Brave was cathartic, but it took a long time to get there. I was really angry with my father but, when it was published, something shifted and I felt able to visit his grave and let bygones be bygones. My relationship with myself changed, too; I worked through a lot of my fears. The book is part personal memoir and part manifesto for getting people to rise up and it worked that way for me, too – by the end of it, I was ready to take on the world, so I did!

Reclaim your body and your life In our column and podcast series, Professor Sarah Niblock, CEO of the UK Council for Psychotherapy, explores real-life challenges that affect us all. Here, she discusses the psychological effects of sexual assault, and how talking to a therapist can empower survivors and help their recovery


espite the power of #MeToo and other attempts to destigmatise sexual assault, it is, sadly, still shrouded by misconceptions that can prevent people accessing help. This can mean months, and possibly years, of struggling with flashbacks, anxiety, depression and difficulties in relationships. Despite the media focusing on attacks by strangers, Rape Crisis tells us that, 90 per cent of the time, the perpetrator is known to the survivor before the sexual assault. The act may be coercive rather than overtly violent, unlike media stereotypes, leading us to think that it wasn’t really a crime. This creates a scenario where the definition of sexual assault, the situations in which it can occur, and how you’re supposed to respond, are very narrow. Add to that the fact that it affects not only women but also men, non-binary and LGBTQI+ people, and it is clear that this is a hugely complex crime that can have an impact in many ways.

Take back control

One of the hardest things to come to terms with about sexual assault is that you couldn’t stop it or protect yourself from it whereas, in our everyday lives, we have control over our bodies and our choices. To have the power you usually have over your body, and your life, taken from you is acutely horrifying and affects your perception of yourself, the people around you and what the world is truly like. Therapists say their clients ‘really come alive’ in the consulting room, and can access inner resources that help and speed them towards recovery. Psychotherapy offers

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a safe, supportive, highly confidential and nonjudgemental space to address questions and self-doubts. Typically, therapists hear clients blaming themselves in some way, for behaviour such as drinking alcohol or not reporting the crime. Building a safe, trusting therapeutic relationship can help you reconstruct your mindset in a society that has these myths attached to sexual assault. People can be wary about seeking psychotherapeutic help for various reasons. Our sexual selves are extremely complicated and personal, and shame comes into play because the body was involved at the time of the trauma. Being seen by a highly trained therapist at a psychologically intimate level can bring these feelings of shame into the open and start to address them in a way that is not overwhelming for the survivor. A common misconception around therapy for sexual assault is that you absolutely have to talk in detail about what happened in order to recover from it. Often, retelling the event can be traumatising for a person. It is possible to address the impact of sexual assault without going over the details at all, which is helpful for those who aren’t ready to do so. In this area of work, as in all aspects of psychotherapy, the client is always in control of the momentum. Psychotherapist Erene Hadjiioannou, who specialises in this area and discusses sexual assault with me in this month’s podcast (see right), says: ‘What I see in therapy from survivors is the way in which the body stores physical

in partnership with UKCP

ASK THE EXPERT… Erene Hadjiioannou is an integrative psychotherapist and counsellor who specialises in helping survivors of sexual abuse


What should I do if I think I’ve been the victim of coercive sexual assault but didn’t say anything at the time? It’s normal to feel unable to speak up – by its very nature, coercive sexual assault is disempowering and silencing. Think about what you need to feel supported, and to better understand your feelings so you can figure out what you want to do. There are lots of supportive organisations and information online. Find a safe person to speak to for immediate support and then consider professional help.

memories of the trauma, because the body was involved at the time. Any combination of physical symptoms is incredibly common, and totally normal. Trauma memories aren’t processed in the same way as normal memories, so they get “stuck” and replayed in these ways. It is possible to regain control of these symptoms so that you feel empowered in your own body again – and that’s a great starting point to feel empowered in other areas of your life, too.’


Share the burden

If you have a friend or loved one who has experienced a sexual assault, therapy can also help you support them and deal with the impact of their attack on you. Hadjiioannou says: ‘Everyone’s journey of recovery is different and there is no right way to be a survivor. I would add that many people prefer the term “victim”, so use the language that’s right for you.’ If someone wants to talk about what happened, there are ways to process the trauma so the memories of it aren’t as distressing or intrusive. Just being able to have someone acknowledge, in a private and safe space, what you’ve been through – and know they’re willing to work with you – can make such a difference to a person who is struggling with the aftermath of sexual assault.


How can I support an assault victim?

Make sure they are safe from danger and that they have a place in which to recover. Recovery can be complex and

takes time, so be available. The experience is often confusing so don’t exacerbate that by telling someone how they should feel or what they should do. Use the same words they use to talk about the assault in a respectful way.


What can we do to raise awareness of coercive sexual assault and help survivors speak up? Talking about it is a good place to start so people see it’s an option, regardless of where they are in the process of facing its impact. Challenge others (if it’s safe to do so) when you hear a myth about sex. For example: ‘She wanted it because she didn’t say no.’ These myths let perpetrators disempower victims, and makes them feel less able to speak up.


How to deal with sexual assault

Listen to Sarah Niblock and Erene Hadjiioannou address the effects of assault at psychologies.

About the UKCP and how to find a therapist ● The UKCP Alongside professional support for our members, we are the leading research, innovation, educational and regulatory body working to advance psychotherapies for the benefit of all. Our membership includes more than 8,000 therapists and 70 training and accrediting organisations. Members work privately, in public health or third-sector organisations, offering a range of approaches for couples, individuals, families and groups.

● To find the right therapist,

log on to find-a-therapist and look at our Life Labs Channel of experts who may be able to help, or visit to locate a therapist near you.

S P R I N G 2 0 1 9 P SYC H O LO G I E S M AG A Z I N E 47

Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back: a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country



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good thoughts

S P R I N G 2 0 1 9 P SYC H O LO G I E S M AG A Z I N E 49

Our agony aunt, Mary Fenwick, offers a new perspective on whatever is troubling you

My son is 14, being a full-on ‘typical teenager’ and I am struggling. He can be viciously obnoxious and unpleasant to me, which is upsetting. I have managed to keep some rules in place (I take his phone at night and limit his gaming time) but he refuses to come on family outings and gets furious if I try to monitor his schoolwork. I know other parents judge me when they want to meet up and he won’t come, and part of me feels like I should make him, but how? Do you have any tips to manage this better? I don’t know when to enforce rules and when to let things go. Name supplied


After four trips to this circus, my main tip is to remember the end goal: both of you want him to become a successful adult. Your main advantages are the ability to plan and greater experience in managing your emotions. In neuroscience terms, he’s actually dependent on your more stable adult brain – he still needs the love you’ve always given him, perhaps most of all when he can’t explain his own behaviour. You don’t have to get it right all the time, and mistakes are an opportunity to be graceful and a role model for respect. I wonder how you might give him more responsibility for his phone

use. My concern is that taking it away builds conflict into every bedtime, has the potential to become a physical wrestling match and denies him the opportunity to learn how to manage screen time himself. Next time he’s open for discussion, ask him how he thinks it could work, and you might be surprised. Research says young people and adults are equally concerned about the addictive nature of phone use. Teenagers respond particularly negatively to the idea of being manipulated by ‘the system’ – it’s better if you are working out a joint approach, rather than him seeing you as part of the problem. With regards schoolwork, could you speak to teachers, provide what

MARY FENWICK is a writer, speaker and executive coach; she’s also a mother, divorcee and widow. GOT A QUESTION FOR MARY? Email, with ‘MARY’ in the subject line. FOLLOW MARY on Twitter @MJFenwick and Instagram @marythefenwick. For more about her one-to-one work and speaking, see

they advise, but remember it’s his name on exam papers, not yours? It might be that he needs to feel some pain, even failure, to find motivation. If you read about the science of brain development, it will become easier to see the limits of what to expect. The prefrontal cortex is the last part of the brain to develop; it helps us plan and control our impulses. He’s also watching how you handle peer pressure – if you want him to resist it, then you need to ignore other parents’ judgements. The cure for being 14 is turning 15. Your job is to keep calm, let him experience consequences, and love him even more when he messes up.





It’s hard to keep the peace with my rude teenager



the life lab

“The man I’m in love with has a girlfriend”


I volunteer at a youth group and I’ve fallen in love with one of the guys who works there. We get on well and I feel we have a connection. His face lights up when I arrive, we talk for hours and laugh so much, but can be serious, too. The problem is that he has a girlfriend who lives abroad. I think that, if it wasn’t for her, things between us would have moved to another level a long time ago. I think about him all the time. What should I do? Name supplied


If this was a film, I’d be shouting a slow-motion, ‘Nooo!’ I’m going to say a few things you won’t like: Nobody wants to be the bad guy, and that probably applies to this man – he is trying to be loyal to his girlfriend. On the other hand, part of him is not being straight with you, not being honest with himself, or not noticing your feelings, which is also not great. The maths is not in your favour – there is one of you and two of them; or, there’s one of him, with two women interested in him. Marriage counsellors talk about a ‘three-legged

stool’, where having an affair makes it possible to stay in the relationship because you are getting some of your needs met elsewhere. You don’t want to be the ‘some needs’ person. The brave option is to take his lack of action as a message that he’s not interested enough. It’s up to him to make a move, and that powerlessness is not what I want for you. You want a balanced relationship with someone who knows their own mind. Take this as a reminder that there’s no such thing as ‘the one’, read the wisdom of Esther Perel and volunteer at another youth group.

“My new life is lonely and I’m not forming relationships”


Six months ago, after completing a counselling MA, I relocated to a vibrant new city. I was depressed living at home with my parents but, since I’ve been here, I’ve made only one friend. Also, I’m single and find it hard to meet men. I’m starting to feel low again. My work can make me feel lonely but, since I have invested a lot of time and money in my MA, I think I should continue on this path. Can you help? Name supplied


It sounds as if a lot of change in a short time has left you feeling rudderless. The question is whether you are experiencing normal unhappiness and uncertainty, or whether depression is a more accurate

description. The dividing lines are three Ps – personal, permanent and pervasive. Depression says it’s your fault, things will always be this way, and it affects everything in your life. If this is you and, especially if you have had depression, please check in with a GP. It’s likely that counselling will be recommended. You know how valuable that is and it’s no reflection of your professional skills that you can’t apply them to yourself (I can’t write my own website copy). The unspoken quest for you, I believe, is for meaning and a connection to something bigger, which is a basic human desire. A good place to start is to consciously think about activities, people and times when you feel passion and purpose. At the moment, you will be vulnerable to seeing a romantic relationship as the

answer. My sense is that your spiritual exploration comes first. This doesn’t have to mean religion, it could be getting into nature, meditation or developing your creativity. As you find that overall direction, the light will fall differently on your other questions.

Be part of our tribe Join the Life Leap Club and receive free coaching from our experts. All you have to do is subscribe to access free coaching videos, inspirational resources and masterclasses. Go to Watch Mary’s coaching sessions live every Tuesday at 1pm.


To heaven and back

People who have had a near-death experience say it changed their lives for the better. Can virtual reality allow us all to share that insight? Jini Reddy investigates

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ome time back, I interviewed Anita Moorjani, the author of Dying To Be Me. A few years earlier, she’d had a profound near-death experience, or NDE. She was close to end-stage Hodgkin’s lymphoma, her organs shut down and she fell into a coma. Yet Moorjani says she felt light and free: ‘It’s the best I can ever recall feeling. I felt unconditionally loved. It was like I was pure consciousness and was everywhere at once.’ As she spoke, Moorjani exuded a glowing energy, which lifted me and stayed with me for weeks. When I asked her what she’d learned about this life, she said: ‘It is something we are supposed to treat as a gift; to enjoy and revel in. The difficulty is putting that into words.’ Although not all people who’ve had NDEs tell identical stories, there seems to be a common thread: ‘coming back’ with renewed purpose and a zest for life. In 2009, Maya Campbell had a NDE when her heart

stopped. She was in a coma for two months and, post-recovery, Campbell radically changed her life. ‘I came away with a very different view of myself and my life. I’d been depressed before. What changed was a real desire to live and connect with people. I’d been a research scientist and I wasn’t antisocial, but I didn’t have the same feeling of wanting to connect with people and help them as I do now,’ she says. ‘I’ve retrained as a psychologist and mindfulness teacher, with a compassionate approach. Emotions come and go and, although I am still suffering from heart failure,,there is genuinely within me a joy and happiness to be alive.’ She’s never felt more at peace, she says. ‘I definitely feel we’re all connected in some way. The experience changed my perception of life and expanded it.’ The shift in consciousness that people describe sounds enviable, but is there a way >>>

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to simulate a NDE that triggers such a heightened, expanded sense of awareness and wellbeing, without having to experience the trauma that goes with it? People say it’s possible to reach that state through meditation, movement and even hallucinogenics, but I try something more cuttingedge: a day-long workshop at London’s Psychedelic Society, in which virtual reality (VR) replicates a NDE.

Shared celestial event

Created by Tamara Russell, a clinical psychologist and mindfulness teacher, and ‘cyberdelic’ artist Jose Montemayor, the workshop is based on widespread research. They’ve spoken directly to, and studied reports from, many patients who’ve had such experiences. ‘NDEs represent what we call nonordinary consciousness,’ says Russell. ‘Reports from patients in hospitals and hospices worldwide are consistent, which makes this work so exciting.’ The pair have tried to faithfully represent a distillation of patients’ experiences in their VR NDE and are thrilled by the responses so far. ‘Seeing first-hand how people are having profound reactions and experiencing transformative effects has given me more passion and purpose to keep going further,’ says Montemayor. ‘We are not saying this experience is a “truth”, rather that there is a possibility to have a broader belief and

We are not “saying this

experience is a “truth”, rather that there is a possibility to have a broader belief and that might be helpful

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‘Everything was more vivid, sharper, more vibrant than it is here’ Anita Moorjani describes her near-death experience ‘It was like I’d awoken from a dream. Time doesn’t run in a linear fashion in this state – it was like everything was happening at once. I was still aware of being me, Anita, that person who’d just left this life and I was aware of the essence of my father, who had passed on 10 years before, and my best friend, who had passed on two years prior to that. I was also aware of the presence of a lot of other beings or entities but I didn’t recognise them as coming from this life. It wasn’t visual though, more experiential. I felt the communication. When I was in the other realm, I was given a choice: whether I wanted to come back or not and, at first, I didn’t want to because that realm was so amazing. Everything was more vivid, sharper, more vibrant than it is here. It wasn’t like I was in a different place or land, but everything – different times, past and future; simultaneous lives which I could dip in and out of; different places – was available to me. And it seemed perfectly normal. It was a tapestry of future and past, where you see all the threads woven through.’

that might be helpful,’ says Russell. She is also excited about the wider possibilities of VR: ‘If we design mindfully, with human flourishing in mind, what could be possible?’ Last year, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) awarded the NHS £4million to develop VR treatments for anxiety, phobias, depression and schizophrenia. As Daniel Freeman, professor of clinical psychology at Oxford University and a NIHR research professor explains: ‘In VR, people can experience carefully graded recreations of their difficult situations, which brings on their symptoms, but then they can be coached in helpful ways to respond.’ For example, for individuals with a fear of heights, there is a treatment called ‘Now I can do heights’ in the works and, in tackling depression, a VR treatment is being developed to help patients get less caught up in negative thinking and spend less time ruminating. It includes virtual coaching and aspects derived from computer games ‘to make the

treatment more engaging than traditional therapies’. Russell says: ‘The experience we offer can also be used to soothe and calm. It has so many applications. This work is part of an exploration to see just what is possible and helpful using this technology. We are working from a position that it is possible to voluntarily evolve consciousness.’

Ready to open my mind

Can VR really help me alter my consciousness? What does that look and feel like? I’m told it’s an ‘immersive 3D audiovisual experience’ and I’m excited. After a qigong session to get our energy flowing, we’re taken into the VR room in groups of four. We put on headsets, I’m given a backpack with added sensory effects and each of us is soon in our own world. And what a world! After the neardeath scenario – which feels like a pain-free accident; not at all scary – things get interesting. There is an exhilarating buoyancy, the feeling


Awakening journeys l The next VR

event hosted by Tamara Russell and Jose Montemayor is on 4 May. For more information, please email If you’re interested in using VR to explore death, dying and approaching death, or to find out about other VR mental health applications, visit l For a free Sacred Acoustics download, visit l To find out more about Maya Campbell and Tamara Russell’s Heartfulness Project, a mind-body programme that teaches participants skills and techniques to help them manage stress, depression and physical health issues, visit l Further reading:


Proof Of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Near‑Death Experience And Journey and Living In A Mindful Universe by Eben Alexander (both Little, Brown, £13.99 and £14.99 respectively); and Dying To Be Me and What If This Is Heaven? by Anita Moorjani (Hay House, £11.99 and £10.99 respectively).

that I’m ascending into the cosmos, of seeing the earth, a ball of life beneath me, gorgeous swirling images that Montemayor calls ‘visionary art’ – art that inspires us to look inward – beautiful natural landscapes, the soothing voice of a ‘guide’, uplifting music and a choice to enter new realms. It’s so wonderful, love-filled and compelling I don’t want it to end.

You can’t unsee awareness Reactions vary. For some, it’s a pleasing aesthetic experience and nothing more. For others, it’s a spark for further exploration. I’m intrigued

by Campbell’s reaction, as she is the only person present to have had a real-life NDE. ‘That was my experience,’ are the first words she utters. Later, she tells me: ‘Receding from earth and looking back; floating off into space… that’s what happened to me.’ Neurosurgeon Eben Alexander was sceptical until he had his own NDE and entered ‘a realm of unconditional love’. In his book, Living In A Mindful Universe, he tackles the conventional medical belief that consciousness arises from the brain, something he no longer believes to be true. He and co-author Karen Newell have created

Sacred Acoustics – meditative recordings to quieten the thinking mind in order to access an expanded state of awareness. ‘For Alexander, that state is similar to what he encountered in his NDE,’ says Newell. So, how do I feel a few weeks later? Well, I am keenly aware of the preciousness of life as never before. Even though I am going through a stressful time in my life and I’m not shot of my fears, in the background is the sensation that all is well. Increasingly, I feel as if my life is part of some mysterious and beautiful design and that is an insight I cherish.

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in partnership with Ollie School

Join Ollie’s army!

Ever wanted to make a difference and train to become a coach? With the Ollie School, you could be changing lives before you know it



espite the very best efforts of our education system, it is struggling to cope with fully supporting the emotional wellbeing of our children within the curriculum. Ever felt that you would love to help, but were powerless to act? Well, here’s your opportunity to do something positive. The Ollie School has opened its doors, with plans to build an army of coaches who can make the world a better place, one child at a time. Ollie Coaching is an holistic approach that leads all our youngsters to a place where they can thrive in the chaos of modern living. So many schools are battling to provide an appropriate mental health environment, and busy parents are up against it in our fast-paced lives ruled by social media. That’s why Alison Knowles, who was challenged throughout her life

with undiagnosed dyslexia, decided to set up the Ollie School.

Transformational work

The Ollie methodology is all about empowering children to seek solutions and take control of their emotions, rather than be controlled by them. The Ollie School trains coaches in a blend of methodologies that brings together NLP, CBT, EFT and play therapy, to make sure they cover all bases. The Ollie methodology is all about personalisation and identifying which technique will work with each individual child – no one-size-fits-all approach here. The Ollie School graduates are awarded a certified qualification in NLP and a licence to work as an Ollie coach. If helping children and their families to be more emotionally resilient appeals to you, contact us for a prospectus and let’s talk about getting you with the programme.

New dates added! Due to unprecedented demand, start dates for additional Ollie coaching courses in Manchester and London are available. See 56 P SYC H O LO G I E S M AG A Z I N E S P R I N G 2 0 1 9

Get in touch To train to become an Ollie coach, find a coach in your area or book an event, visit ollieandhissuperpowers. com, or contact us via email at info@ ollieandhissuperpowers. com. We would love to hear from you!

orgasmic life

Talking to the boss

Karla Newbey learns that she can no longer hide from her past if she truly wants sexual fulfilment and an orgasmic life


e are at the third workshop in the Shakti Tantra women’s programme and, with the support of the group, I am reaching out to someone I’ve kept out of my life for many years because of my shame and guilt. The letter I’m writing is to myself… to my wounded teenage self, who I’m inviting to be part of my life again.


Come back to me, young Karla

Earlier in this series, I wrote about being raped as a 13-year-old. Although I’ve allowed my wounded younger self out to share a little of her experience while having counselling sessions as an adult, I’ve never fully welcomed her into my heart and reintegrated her into my adult self. It may seem odd, but I feel incredibly guilty about what happened to her, as though I’m the grown-up who didn’t look after a child. I’ve been afraid that I’d be overwhelmed by a tsunami of emotions, from rage, terror, sadness and powerlessness – so I kept her locked away and did not participate in some joyful things in life, for fear that she’d ruin them. I’ve come to realise that my wounded teenager wields enormous power. Behind the scenes, she is running the show. When I try to open up to love, she is my shadow, totting up the misdemeanours of those trying to get close to me. She uses every seemingly disrespectful remark or action as another brick in the wall that ‘protects’ me from being hurt again but, ultimately, keeps me separate from deep, long-term connection with others. Of course, the place where she can do the most damage is in my sex life. Although I’ve had long-term sexual relationships, an engagement

and a marriage, I’ve rarely managed to sustain the enjoyment of sex beyond a few years, and this has often contributed to the end of my relationships. Sooner or later, the feelings that came from the experience of being raped would seep into my love life, like poison, associating loving sex with feelings of being dirty, shameful, unworthy of love, powerless; that sex is not a loving act, but an act of violation. Why do these emotions resurface and take over so many years after the event? Now, I realise it’s because I never brought her to the table. I never invited her back into my heart – rather, she was a part of me, my experience of life, that I rejected, so the feelings associated with the event remained stuck in my psyche and body. But this is not how I intend to continue. I want pleasure and fulfilment and I’ll do what I need to change this. Emotions flood through me as I read my letter aloud and try to articulate these complex feelings in the sharing circle. For the first time, I’m genuinely inviting this fractured part of myself back into my life. When I’ve finished speaking, Becky Price, one of the workshop leaders, asks me a question: ‘When does she become I?’ ‘What do you mean?’ I ask. ‘It’s you. It’s your experience. But you’re using the term her, rather than me.’ ‘Now,’ I reply. ‘Today.’

Karla Newbey is attending the women’s Shakti Tantra programme with For more details on Karla’s journey, visit and follow her on Twitter @karla_newbey. Becky Price is a tantra practitioner and offers one-to-one sessions. Contact her at 07526 257869

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“ A bad apple at work is ruining the dynamic” Our award-winning coach, Kim Morgan, speaks to a disheartened manager dealing with conflict in her workplace ILLUSTR ATION ANDREA DE SANTIS

Session one

“I dread going into the office and am thinking about leaving my job”

It struck me straight away that Sharon* was a very efficient and organised woman. She arrived for her first session with copies of her job description and a diagram of the structure of her team. She told me that she thought she was a good manager of people. ‘It’s what I used to do best – get a team working well together, delivering results,’ she said, but she was clearly dispirited. ‘I notice you said you used to do this best – is that what has brought you here for coaching?’ I asked. Sharon nodded. ‘Last year, I was promoted to lead a team in a bigger department, and I feel as if they hate me. They ignore my instructions and whisper about me behind my back. For the first time in my life, I dread going to work. I’m losing my confidence. I’m at my wits’ end and may have to leave the job.’

I asked Sharon some coaching questions: ‘What have you done to try to resolve this?’ and ‘What support do you have?’ Sharon had tried team-building sessions and even organised a social event for the team. She’d set clear objectives and offered incentives for meeting targets. Nothing had made any difference. Sharon’s manager appeared to be supportive but was so busy that she just expected her to get on with it. She had also suggested that maybe it was something about Sharon’s style that was not working. At the end of our session I asked: ‘What do you think is the nub of the issue?’ Sharon looked angry for the first time: ‘There’s one bad apple and he’s spoiling the bunch.’ I asked her to hold that thought until our next session the following week.


Session two

Coaching exercises

Take your own advice

Sharon arrived carrying a flip chart. ‘I’ve been watching the bad apple and I’ve made a note of his tactics.’ She read out the list on her chart: ‘Picks out people to be in his “gang”; talks about others behind their backs; makes unkind comments and pretends it’s just banter; is pessimistic and drains energy; always has reasons why new systems won’t work; starts rumours; challenges me in front of the team.’ ‘It’s all subtle,’ Sharon said. ‘It’s not just me – he manages to makes people feel like they are being oversensitive if they react to him, but he has an enormous amount of negative power.’ I told Sharon that according to some management experts, one bad apple can lower the performance of a team by up to 40 per cent. ‘That seems about right,’ she said. ‘So what can I do?’ I was feeling out of my depth. I am a coach, not an expert on HR matters. Sharon knew more than me about managing others, so I asked her what advice she would give to someone else in her shoes. She said she would find out what else was going on in his life to get to the root of the problem and that she would have an honest conversation about the impact he was having on others. She added: ‘I would say that it’s their duty as a manager to focus on everyone in the team, not just the person who demands all the attention.’ Sharon walked out of the session with renewed determination.



Further Reclaim your power sessions Sharon was making progress. ‘I discovered that

It can be easy for managers to “overlook those who quietly get on

he’d applied for my job but hadn’t even got an interview. We had a very difficult conversation and he agreed that he had been testing me to see how far he could push me.’ ‘There’s always a back story,’ I said. Sharon realised he had a lot of energy that he was putting into being disruptive and she was now looking for ways to channel that energy into something positive. ‘I’ve given him lots of responsibility for different tasks and he seems to be rising to the challenge. I think he has a growing respect for me because I stood up to him.’ Sharon had given away her power, then looked to her manager to rescue her – now she was reclaiming her power and it felt good. She had written her skills, qualities and strengths on Post-it notes and stuck them on a mirror in her hallway. She read them every morning before she left home. ‘I’m back!’ she said with confidence, and I could see what a formidable manager she could be.

GIVE EVERYONE A VOICE Teams are made up of different characters and some people make more noise than others. It can be easy for managers to succumb to their cries for attention and to overlook the needs of those who get on with their work quietly.

To bring a sense of equality and to give everyone a voice, this is a great exercise for team meetings:

● Begin the meeting by inviting everyone to speak for five minutes. Sometimes there can be a topic such as, ‘What would you like to say about being in this team?’ ● Let everyone know that you will time five minutes for each person and then the next person will be invited to speak. Nobody is allowed to interrupt and everyone listening must always keep their eyes on the speaker and demonstrate their interest and attention. It is astonishing to see how people come up with solutions to their own dilemmas when left to think uninterrupted. This simple exercise can improve team harmony and build better understanding.

MODEL THE TEAM SYSTEM If you want to look at your team (or your family) with fresh eyes, you can make a visual representation of all the people or elements in the team. Remember that any system is more than the sum of its parts and there can be all sorts of hidden dynamics at play. Take some pots of Play-Doh and make a model which represents all the people in the system. You can make their sizes relevant, and how close or distant they are to one another. You can represent people being shut out of the system or people dominating it and you can even give them expressions or postures to show how they might be feeling. Making a model will give you a new perspective and can help you to see: ● What part you are playing in the system ● How you feel and how others might feel ● What role others are playing ● Where there are coalitions or groups in the team ● What changes you can make ● What change would make the biggest positive difference to the system You can then move the figures around until the system starts to look better. Then, think about how you can transfer these changes into real-life actions. For more from Kim, see; @BarefootCoaches



the life lab

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my slow year

New series

Hurry up and wait

In a life-changing, year-long experiment, Suzy Walker acknowledges her ‘stop the world I want to get off’ state, and seeks a less hectic, calmer pace of life. She begins with that pesky smartphone glued to her hand!


hen I was asked to leave the speed awareness course for texting (a colleague) I knew things had to change. I need to slow down, but how? I have a busy job, I’m a single parent, I try to write fiction in my ‘spare’ time and I enjoy seeing friends. I love cramming as much into life as I can, but I feel something is wrong; I’m racing, never resting. I want to stop and enjoy the view.


Otherwise engaged

Research says the typical smartphone user interacts with their phone 85 times a day and 24 hours a week. A day a week? ‘Measure it yourself and see,’ says Laura Willis from Shine Offline, a wellbeing company that helps people manage their online lives. I was averaging four hours and 42 minutes a day, a staggering 32 hours and 57 minutes a week. Our phones can be as addictive as cocaine, says Willis. ‘We get a high every time we get a notification, due to dopamine, the feel-good chemical that’s released. We’re a nation of phone addicts.’ It’s not about ditching the phone, but creating a healthier relationship with it, and Willis suggests a few techniques: turn

off all notifications, no phone at the table and keep it out of sight when you’re with friends or colleagues. ‘It’s proven that a visible phone in a social setting decreases the depth of our interaction,’ she says. I commit to a blackout from 8pm to 9am. I buy a watch and alarm clock because I use my phone to check the time and get sucked down the rabbit hole. I wake to its beep and answer emails before my first coffee. So far, so good. Then I realise I also reach for my phone when I’m bored, sad, lonely or angry. I use it to numb, soothe and run away from my feelings. At first, deprived, I jiggle my foot incessantly. I feel lost. Then, slowly, my shoulders drop and my heart lifts. Instead of a social-media trance, I breathe, look out the window, chat, read. One of my main fears was that if I wasn’t connected, there’d be a crisis, but I soon see there are no fires to be put out; no dramas. I work for a magazine, not a hospital – there’s nothing that can’t wait. It’s a good start. More time. I’ve ‘found’ 24 hours a week. More crucially, I’m disconnecting from this addictive little beast in my pocket and reconnecting with my life, my people, my emotions… with me.


A ‘Psychologies’ promotion in partnership with slow travel specialist Inntravel In this world of 24-hour email and ubiquitous wifi, it’s refreshing to be able to carve out some proper downtime and go completely off-grid. It’s the same when it comes to holidays, and Yorkshire-based Inntravel have got it just right: their awardwinning collection of self-guided walking, cycling and touring holidays allows you to discover the most beautiful corners of Europe and beyond – entirely at your own pace. That’s why they’re known as The Slow Holiday people.

Listen to the podcast: To hear Laura Willis from Shine Offline coach Suzy Walker on how to create a healthier relationship with her phone, search for ‘Psychologies podcast channel’ in your browser S P R I N G 2 0 1 9 P SYC H O LO G I E S M AG A Z I N E 61


The last word on…

Being happier in a job you don’t love Try these simple yet proactive steps to help create a more meaningful working environment, says Oliver Burkeman


hen it comes to the workplace, happiness advice tends to assume that you hate your job – or, alternatively, that you’re about to begin your dream life as a surfing instructor on a tropical island. But what if you’re one of the millions with work that’s perfectly OK, but leaves you yearning for a greater sense of fulfilment? Of course, you may be able to demand better terms (like more flexible hours, which are linked to happiness). But, even without a big change, there are ways to make your job more satisfying, by putting yourself in the driving seat of your career.


Choose your own meaning. Every organisation

has its reason for existing, but it’s often not personally inspiring. Instead, get clear on why your job matters to you. Perhaps you enjoy helping others solve their problems or you’re able to express your creativity. Even if you’re only there for the money, that still counts: supporting your family or financing your hobbies are worthy goals in themselves. Whatever the reason, own it, and you’ll find work much more meaningful.

Define progress, then celebrate it. Happiness at work depends on experiencing ‘small wins’, argues business scholar Teresa Amabile. They matter more than long-term milestones, which are usually too far

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off to make a difference. Begin each day by clarifying the two or three achievable tasks that would make the most difference – and when they’re done, make sure you savour the moment with a break or reward.

Look after your workspace. However small, it’s

worth keeping it tidy, and personalising it to the extent you can. Partly, that’s because ‘outer order contributes to inner calm’, as happiness expert Gretchen Rubin observes. It’s also because a degree of autonomy is crucial to workplace wellbeing, and customising your immediate environment is a simple way to regain control. Include some hint of nature if you can; research shows that a plant, or even a photograph of greenery, can make a measurable difference.

Establish momentum first thing. Use the

first hour of the day to focus on your most important work and you’re less likely to spend the day in a depleting haze of distraction. It’s tempting to believe that the way to make unsatisfying work more pleasant is to distract yourself from it. But, the truth is, the more proactive and focused you are, the more your nine-to-five will feel like time well spent. Oliver Burkeman is author of ‘The Antidote: Happiness For People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking’ (Canongate, £8.99)

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Ease up DO YOU DREAM OF A SIMPLER, organised, less chaotic life? Anita Chaudhuri, our Associate Editor, talks to the experts and reveals practical and psychological strategies to bring ease to our lives. Yes, there’s some decluttering involved but it’s also about looking within and letting go of the habits that keep you stuck. We explore what’s really stopping you from streamlining your life – do you need to be braver, put yourself first, set definite intentions or compare yourself to others less? A formerly frazzled reader inspires us with her story of how she went from getting up at dawn to get everything done to a manageable four-day working week. Coach of the month Simon Hague leads our free ‘Go slow: simplify your life’ course in our Life Leap Club. Imagine a life of flow, ease and baby steps towards real joy… Join us and let’s make life easier together. PHOTOGRAPHS STOCKSY




A simpler, clearer, easier life Why do our lives feel so overwhelming? Why do we procrastinate all the time? Anita Chaudhuri explores the latest psychological insights to find simple, practical tools for a more streamlined life. It’s easier than you think to give your world a shake-up this spring!


hese wise words are being written from the tranquil oasis of my study. Books are shelved alphabetically and by subject, so I can easily locate any title I need. Bills, receipts and magazine clippings are meticulously filed in colour-coded order and hidden in a customised storage system. The surfaces are clean. Plants on the windowsill are blooming. Somewhere in the distance, there is the tinkling of wind chimes…


. . . 66

Actually, I lie. Before me are three abandoned mugs of tea and a leaning tower of books. The truth is: I live in a state of creative chaos. I also appear to be suffering from what the Wall Street Journal recently identified as ‘errand paralysis’ – failure to deal with life admin. A trip to the post office fills me with dread. Give me a piece of paper, and I guarantee I will mislay it in seconds. A case in point: my GP wrote me a prescription and, somewhere in the three-minute walk to the pharmacy, it flew out of my bag into thin air. It took two hours of explanation and hanging around to get another, so it wasn’t a trivial incident. My realm of disorder doesn’t end with paper. I’m surrounded by half-finished projects – balls of wool for jumpers I’m never going to learn to knit, boxes of paint for imagined artwork – and you don’t want to go into my kitchen, with its wall of recipe books and three types of pomegranate molasses. I don’t want to

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throw out these things but, every time I go into a room, I’m confronted with another creative idea, or seed of an idea, and I forget what I am actually working on. It’s not good and I am getting nowhere. Barbara Sher, the coach who coined the term ‘scanner’ to describe what’s now known as the multi-hyphenate personality, came up with the best description of clutter I’ve seen. ‘Clutter is like a modern sculpture you’ve assembled all around you, a monument that pays tribute to indecision.’ This is true, but what can I do about it? I tried decluttering but the problem is not that I have too much stuff, it’s that I’m fantastically disorganised. Life feels like an uphill struggle. I can never keep track of my time or finances. On the phone to my bank, I am asked how much is in my account as a security measure. Me: ‘Um, no clue. How am I supposed to know?’ Bank: ‘You’re allowed a 10 per cent margin of error…’ Me: A sum plucked wildly out of thin air. Bank: ‘That’s incorrect. We’ll have to try another protocol.’ I tell myself I will sort out ‘all the money stuff’ and ‘all the house stuff’ later – ‘when I have more time’ – but, of course, I never get there.


Exasperated, I turn to Anna Newton, author of An Edited Life (Quadrille, £16.99). Her philosophy is simple: everyone could use a life edit, not just the chronically disorganised. And by ‘edit’ she’s not >>>

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talking about taking a bag of junk to the charity shop. ‘These days, our schedules are rammed,’ she says. ‘A life edit encourages you to create systems and routines so you save time and use it more wisely. The idea of editing everything, from your belongings to your budget, to your kitchen cupboards to your shopping list is that, ultimately, you will have more time to do what makes you happy.’


I decide to experiment with one of her ideas – meal planning – because I like the idea of being a 1970s housewife with a vast Tupperware collection. ‘The idea is that you cook in batches so you’re not cooking every night and you eat leftovers the following day. I got the idea from my mum.’ Newton also suggests putting your bread in the freezer and taking out what you need as you go. To be honest, all of this sounds a bit dreary. How is it going to change my life? Telling myself I have to try it, I devise a list of meals and do a giant shop. In order to accommodate the groceries, I am forced to tidy my kitchen. On the Sunday, I make a big pot of stew, I pre-chop carrots and cucumber for workday snacks and, yes, I put my bread in the freezer. By Wednesday, I realise I’m in a much better mood. I don’t have to drag myself to the supermarket for bread and snacks, like I usually do every day. I’ve eaten fewer biscuits and there’s no decaying salad in the fridge! Another of Newton’s ideas also resonates: edit your social life. ‘Most of us are people pleasers who don’t like saying no,’ she says. ‘So we end up agreeing to go to the party of a person we’ve only met twice, and we overthink it. “If I don’t go, they’ll be disappointed.” A lot of the time, they won’t. There are nice ways to negotiate by thinking before you respond. Use delaying tactics like, “How about the week after next?” rather than just agreeing.’ This proves to be a game changer. When I tell a friend I can’t meet on a weekday evening because I’m exhausted, she sounds elated: ‘So am I! Let’s do the week after.’ I start cancelling pretty much everything to stay home and chop veg. I seem to have gone from one extreme to another and now my diary is empty. Well, it would be, except I don’t actually have one. I started the year with a digital planner and two paper planners, but I never remember to use them. Yet again, I appear to be making life way too complicated. Not only that, although I have more time, I still don’t seem to be taking action on any

of my more important goals, like home renovation or picking a project for my summer photography exhibition. I seek help from Adela Schicker, co-author of the optimistically titled The End Of Procrastination (Murdoch Books, £12.89). ‘Why can’t I cope with life?’ I ask, and she laughs. ‘Why? Because we have so many options in front of us. In the past, we believed that the more choice we had, the happier we would be. Now that we have 40 brands of cereal to choose from, we can’t cope. Choosing between two is easy, but more than that and we’d rather not choose at all; it’s too hard. What that does, in general, is make us procrastinate more,’ she says. ‘Also, we become unhappy with the decisions we do make, which sets us up for a lack of motivation.’ This makes sense – up to a point. I’m sure I am not alone in having decided what I need to do, yet still falling prey to procrastination. ‘I don’t have decision paralysis – I have big goals,’ I announce proudly. ‘I’ve decided what they are. See… no paralysis! Yet, I still put off taking action. Why is that?’ I get the feeling I’m not the first person to raise this. ‘It’s always big things,’ she sighs. ‘We see ourselves, say, running a marathon… Or we give ourselves a long list of things to achieve… The problem with this is that you become a goal junkie. You achieve the thing you set out to do but then hedonic adaptation kicks in.’ Hedonic adaptation is the phenomenon whereby whatever happens to us, good or bad, we quickly get used to it, and go back to the same level of happiness we had before. ‘So you swiftly set yet another goal. And the problem with big goals is that they’re too big and we simply can’t face tackling them.’ Schicker advocates ‘kaizen’, a Japanese method and philosophy that focuses on continuous incremental improvement. So, if you want to run a marathon, you learn the habit of running by jogging around the block every morning, making it a natural part of your day. ‘You don’t need to set a reminder to brush your teeth every morning, do you?’ she asks. ‘Same idea. And, the more you act, the more it builds your willpower, and the less likely you are to give in to procrastination.’

“To be honest, this sounds a bit dreary. How is it going to change my life? But, by Wednesday, I realise I’m in a much better mood”

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This is great advice for tackling the niggling, small stuff like finances and scheduling. Using the kaizen method, I download an app from my bank and get into the habit of checking my account every morning when I listen to the news. This one simple act revolutionises my spending


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habits. ‘Not another £25 to Amazon,’ I groan, and resolve to go to the library. But I can’t really see how kaizen is going to help with bigger goals. I don’t need to get into the habit of designing a new kitchen or staging an exhibition, I need to summon the will to do it once.


Schicker has strategies for this, too, as it happens. Apparently, it comes down to motivation, of which she has identified three types. ‘There is external motivation, which is basically the carrot-and-stick method of reward and punishment. Then there is internal motivation, which turns you into a goal junkie. Finally, there is a third way called ‘intrinsic journeybased motivation’. This type is based on the concept of having a personal vision. A personal vision answers the question: how would you most like to spend your time? It focuses on actions, not results; on the journey, not the destination.’ Rather than setting goals, which provide only shortterm gain, with this type of motivation, the emphasis is on setting milestones. As with any physical journey, a milestone is an indicator that you’re making progress and heading in the right direction. Ultimately, if you follow this motivational strategy, you’re more likely to spend more time in what’s known as ‘flow state’, a condition which research has shown to be vital for wellbeing. I try it out with fairly low expectations. For me, extrinsic motivation, like a reward or fear of disapproval, has been quite effective in the past. But I admit that

approach has become exhausting and isn’t working any more. What personal vision might I adopt for my photography project? As I ponder this, I realise that Schicker is right. All of my focus has been on the end goal – getting a series of images displayed, worrying about whether they will be good enough and how they will be received. I need to get back to the process and find my ‘why (do I love photography)?’ Eventually, I decide my ‘why?’ is to connect with my environment – both people and landscape. And, in a way, this comes back to kaizen, which I had dismissed as being of no use for big ambitions. If, every day, my why of taking photos is to go out and connect with the people and landscape in which I live, that’s an easy habit to adopt. A daily camera walk, even for 10 minutes, would bring me to that state of flow and meaning. As I practise this over the coming days, the whole enterprise seems less fraught and ideas come bubbling to the surface.

“I decide my ‘why?’ is to connect with my environment. This comes back to ‘kaizen’, which I had dismissed…”


Miraculously, after a fortnight, I notice something else. Not only is my project inching forward, without that panicky focus on the future, there is more space in my head to think about other things. I start to actually read the pile of papers on my desk and, slowly, the mountain gets smaller. My Tupperware collection – colour coded, might I add – is growing, too. The only thing I still procrastinate about is going to the post office. But Schicker has some reassuring advice about that, too: ‘It doesn’t matter where you live in the world, people will always postpone going to the post office.’

Three habits and beliefs to ditch

Break free of these chains, urges author of ‘Burnout To Brilliance’ Jayne Morris


Having it all. Yes, we’re entitled to a wonderful career, family and love life – but it’s important to understand that it’s not possible to give 100 per cent of your energy to everything simultaneously. Outsource as many routine tasks that provide you with little pleasure as you possibly can. 70 P SYC H O LO G I E S M AG A Z I N E S P R I N G 2 0 1 9


Compulsive comparison. If you have

a tendency to compare yourself to others, be gentle on yourself. When something goes ‘wrong’ and you start beating yourself up – stop! Regain your sense of humour and share your ‘failure’ with someone who can help you see the funny side.



This prevents you from following your desires and keeps you chained to your desk working. Try to take off the pressure and accept that things are complete when they are ‘good enough’. ‘Burnout To Brilliance’ by Jayne Morris (John Hunt Publishing, £10.99)

S P R I N G 2 0 1 9 P SYC H O LO G I E S M AG A Z I N E 71


E FRtoE all

s subscriber

Slow down and feel happier



e’ve been running the Life Leap Club – a VIP club free to all subscribers offering complimentary coaching, podcasts, workbooks and featuring interviews with some of the best selfdevelopment experts in the world – for well over a year, and I’m privileged to be part of such a compassionate, encouraging and inspirational community. It started with 47 ambassadors – so a huge thank you to you all for leading from the front, welcoming newcomers so warmly and creating such a brilliant tribe.


“How can we be more productive with less effort? Why do we work all hours to buy stuff we don’t need? How can we break the cycle?”

For our Life Leap Club, we have put together outstanding downloadable courses with exclusive videos and podcasts and masterclasses on subjects ranging from ‘The judgement detox’ to ‘The ultimate declutter’, ‘Finding your purpose’ and ‘Stop feeling overwhelmed now’. There are also inspiring resources, such as monthly affirmations and the life-coaching wheel to foster self-awareness and balance. As we develop, we’re working more intensively with our stable of Barefoot coaches, (see page 34 to access our directory of top-notch coaches), who lead intimate coaching programmes exclusively within our membership group and with a focused approach to the content in our Dossier. This issue, we’re working with our ‘coach of the month’, Simon Hague, who has created the course: ‘Go slow: simplify your

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life – how going slow will help you become more productive, happier and healthier’. In this programme, we ask why life feels so hard and how we can make it feel easier. Why do we constantly procrastinate? How can we be more productive with less effort? Why do we work all hours to buy stuff we don’t want or need? How can we break that cycle? Over the next four weeks, you’ll be taken on a self-development journey using simple and practical tools to give your life a shake-up and find new, easier, more streamlined ways to live. What if life could be all about flow, ease and gently taking baby steps every day to bring you joy?  All you have to do to take this course, access all our other programmes, masterclasses, broadcasts and our nurturing community is subscribe to Psychologies – plus we’ll send you a lovely welcoming gift (see right).


Digital communities are wonderful, but research shows that people are happier when they are with other people, even if you are an introvert! With all the unrest and division in the world, we encourage you to create safe, respectful and kind spaces where you can support each other. We want to evolve our Life Leap Club concept and we’re asking you to start your own face-to-face Life Leap Clubs. Our goal is to help form a happier society by providing a place for us to connect once a month and talk about how we can thrive in the world – no matter what. It’s about listening, caring and having a laugh!


Join Psychologies’ supportive subscriber community, the Life Leap Club, to access 16 free coaching programmes and be part of a kind and uplifting online tribe. You can even create your own face-to-face group, explains Editor-in-Chief Suzy Walker

How will it work? Every month, invite friends, family or people you would like to get to know to your Life Leap Club gathering, to discuss our Dossier topic, course of the month and relevant coaching questions. Then, promise yourself that you will endeavour to make small changes to bring happiness to you and others. Maybe you want to pair up with one close buddy or run your club like a book group that moves around members’ houses. Perhaps you want to meet new people in a cafe for a coffee on a Saturday morning – it’s up to you!* The magazine comes out 13 times a year, towards the end of the month, so schedule your meetings accordingly. To get started, subscribe to Psychologies, read our Dossier, download the workbooks and resources, and begin to make the tweaks to take your life in the direction you want. Commit to your group, get and give support and change your life. Turn to page 80 for our brilliant subscription offer this month. Your tribe is waiting for you!

Meet our coach of the month

Simon Hague is a qualified Barefoot Coaching professional who provides coaching to many clients and supervises other coaches. He enables people to see through the complexities and conflicting needs of living in an increasingly chaotic world. He helps clients create a decluttered sense of calm and focus to take them forward to their desired outcome. Find out more about his work at

The big easy

Slow down for a simpler, calmer life EACH ISSUE, we’ll give you a series of questions to discuss with your Life Leap Club. Pose the question and listen to the answers, without interrupting. Subscribe to Psychologies now to take our course, ‘Go slow: simplify your life’. Ponder these questions:


Describe a time when life felt easy.

What does a simple life look like for you? If you were to plan an easy week, what would it be like?


Describe a difficult time. How

did you deal with obstacles? How did you change your mindset to cope? What type of thinking lowered your mood? When facing obstacles now, what way of thinking might help

you? What type of thinking do you need to let go of?


For ease, what three things can you do differently?

Name them and consider how to change your thinking around them, for example: ‘I’m tired, but I’d better see my friends or they will feel rejected’. How can you create ease? Do you need to cancel events or plan meals to save time shopping and cooking?

S P R I N G 2 0 1 9 P SYC H O LO G I E S M AG A Z I N E 73


“I’m present at home, my health is great and my business is growing”

A few simple strategies at home and work helped businesswoman Claire Hurst achieve the order and calm she needed




or more than three years, I juggled being a business owner and managing my family life. My husband worked away from Monday to Friday, so parenting was mostly my responsibility. It was always a priority for me to take my children to and from school every day. As the business grew, I didn’t stop to think about the impact that was having on my life. I was setting the alarm at 5.30am to work for two hours before waking the children. Straight after dropping them off at school, I flew around the park with the dog and then went to the office. I’d work until school pick-up time – often without a break – then do the usual after-school taxiing, get dinner made and put the kids to bed. Then I’d start working again until late into the evening and sometimes into the early hours. In three years, I had three days off – even when we went on holiday, I worked in the morning while my husband took the children to the swimming pool. Life was good, work was great and the kids were happy, but I was broken. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d had a good night’s sleep. My physical and mental health suffered and I felt low and sluggish, so I started to read about mindfulness and reducing stress. I looked for jobs I could delegate so I had more time for myself and my family. The first thing I did was employ staff at work. Then, I introduced timesavers: a cleaner who comes once a fortnight, a meal delivery box once a month and someone to help with the ironing. Next, I looked at how I could introduce fitness back into my life and took the huge step to commit to working a four-day week. Now, I play tennis twice a week, practise yoga and have incorporated mindfulness into many everyday activities. I never check my emails until I walk into the office, and my phone is switched off at 7.30pm every night, so I get a real break. The difference is unbelievable! I am present at home, my health is great and my diet is better than ever. The business is still growing and the team is happy with a shorter week and the company’s flexible working ethos. Simplifying my life has not only benefited me, but my business.

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S P R I N G 2 0 1 9 P SYC H O LO G I E S M AG A Z I N E 75



What stops you from simplifying your life? If you’re drawn to a smoother way of living, but still feel overwhelmed, take our test to find out what type of thinking is causing your bumpy, disordered reality

To you, the word ‘clarity’ means:

♥ Having a clear path ◆ Knowing what’s right l Feeling focused

■ Trusting your instincts


The hardest thing for you about making a change is: ♥ Knowing where to start ◆ Worrying what other people might think l Finishing what you’ve started l Believing you can do it


You feel inspired by people who:

♥ Make things happen

l Always know what they


The appeal of a simpler life is strongest when you feel:

◆ Being liked or approved of

l Fragmented or exhausted

♥ Making the right decisions

l Give yourself time


Your least favourite trait is your:

◆ People pleasing


People who love you often tell you to:

■ Believe in yourself ◆ ◊Look after yourself ♥ Trust yourself


Life would be calmer if you were more:

l Patient

l Flakiness

■ Confident

■ Insecurity ♥ Indecisiveness

♥ Decisive ◆ Assertive

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You secretly worry about:

l Working hard enough

■ Being as good as others

■ That your life lacks meaning

l Bored

■ Lost

♥ Relaxing ◆ ◊ Saying no ■ Just being yourself l Being impatient


♥ Guilty ◆ Lonely

You wish you could feel less guilty about:

really want ◆ Don’t worry about what people think ■ Never follow the crowd

♥ As though you’re treading water ◆ ◊Unappreciated and resentful

Part of you worries that if life was simpler, you would feel:


Circle the answers that most closely apply to you, then add up the symbols. Read the section (or sections – sometimes there is more than one) you circled most, to find the key change you need to make for a simpler way of living.




S P R I N G 2 0 1 9 P SYC H O LO G I E S M AG A Z I N E 77


What do you need to do for a less chaotic life? IF YOU SCORED MAINLY ♥

Be brave

When you’re at the contemplation stage of change, it’s normal to do a lot of thinking about how you would like life to be different. That’s OK, as reflecting on what you want is the foundation for long-lasting change. You can get immersed in gathering ideas and inspiration for creating a different way of living but, to make change happen, you have to move from thinking to doing. If you never seem to progress to that phase, there may be subconscious resistance to letting go of a chaotic way of life. You might yearn for things to be simpler, but is there also a part of you that questions whether you have been ‘successful’ enough to justify stepping off the treadmill just yet? It’s time to be brave, and commit to implementing some changes – small tweaks can make a big difference to your mindset. Disabling the push notifications on your phone, swapping multitasking for one thing at a time, or starting the day with 10 minutes of meditation can all help. And, once you’ve created more headspace, decisions about making bigger changes may seem easier.


Set your intentions

When you have a naturally curious mind, you’re always open to ideas and projects – but imaginative types can find it hard to know where best to focus their energy. The end result can be a feeling of fragmentation and you may also be prone to frenetic periods of feeling overwhelmed. Slowing down and simplifying may have always been a bit of a sticking point for you, as you thrive in the ‘buzz’ of the new. Saying no to things that seem potentially interesting is difficult – but it’s something you need to face up to if you truly want to live a simpler, calmer life. Spreading yourself too thinly can mean that you often don’t see ideas through. Clarifying your goals can make it easier to find focus. When you’re offered an interesting opportunity, ask: will this take me one step closer or further away from my goals? If you’re not clear on what goals to set, start with your values; what really matters to you in life? Then ask: which of all the ideas I am interested in are most in line with my values? It’s time to think about your ‘way of being’ rather than simply what you want to do.

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Put yourself first

Intellectually, you know that it makes sense to put on your own oxygen mask before helping anyone else. You’re great at telling others to look after themselves, but you’re only paying lip service to caring for yourself right now. And chances are you’re also tolerating the stress and low-level irritation that comes with a life of people pleasing. You dream of a simpler life, or just more time to think and work out what you really want, but then you find yourself agreeing to helping someone out or taking on extra work. You risk burning out if you carry on this way. Try sitting down and planning what a simpler week looks like for you – more evenings to read? Time for a morning walk, a lunchtime workout or to simply sit and sip a cup of tea? Anxiety about having enough time is one of the biggest causes of stress, so it’s vital to allow space for calm and clarity in your week. That might mean saying no more often. Wanting to be liked by everyone is trying to control the uncontrollable, and it’s hard to find clarity when this is your default motivation.


Compare less

It’s easy to get trapped in a ‘compare and despair’ cycle. However hard you push, there will always be someone else who seems to achieve more. You are craving clarity but you’re also questioning whether it’s OK to want a simpler life. There may be a fundamental conflict between what your gut tells you matters, and the messages you get from social media, your peer group and the world in general. When everyone around you seems to be ‘super busy’, it’s hard to buck the trend and be the only one prioritising space to pause and reflect. Don’t forget the wisdom of ‘not comparing your insides to someone else’s outsides’. Instead, find a positive role model who seems to balance achievement and success with enjoyment and quality of life. It is possible to reach your full potential without sacrificing your happiness and emotional wellbeing. Ask yourself: when are you at your most creative and focused – when you feel calm and in control, or stressed and exhausted?

S P R I N G 2 0 1 9 P SYC H O LO G I E S M AG A Z I N E 79

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#360me p84 The Plan l p90 The Open Mind The women we are and the women we raise l p93 Eco Worrier Our green queen’s mission to waste no food l p95 Wholistic Woman Take care of your bones during the menopause l p96 The Mindful Health Club How to eat intuitively for greater wellbeing l p99 Real Nutrition Let’s have an old-fashioned cuppa!



it on your heart that every “Write day is the best day in the year ” RALPH WALDO EMERSON

S P R I N G 2 0 1 9 P S YC H O L O G I E S M A G A Z I N E 83

The plan #360me

Every month, the #360me team will be sharing our baby-steps approach to leading a healthier, happier life – expert-endorsed and real-life approved

CLOSE YOUR EYES, NOT YOUR ARTERIES A STUDY* published in the Journal Of The American College Of Cardiology revealed that people who sleep less than six hours a night may be at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, compared to those who sleep

between seven and eight hours a night. The research indicated that poorquality sleep raises the risk of atherosclerosis (plaque buildup in the arteries, which hardens over time and is potentially serious).

Eminé Kali Rushton @thisconsciousbeing

Relax before bedtime with the sweet scent of spring. Polkra x Katie Scott candle, £49,

SHARE YOUR #360ME JOURNEY FOLLOW US #360me @thisconsciousbeing, @psychologiesmagazine,

84 P SYC H O LO G I E S M AG A Z I N E S P R I N G 2 0 1 9

“Returning from a work trip with some well-known Instagrammers, it struck me how little reality is reflected in the strange, airbrushed imagery online. That flawless, glowing, toned, happy, smiley picture is created just for social media , and offers no insight at all into the mental wellbeing or experience of that individual. It has reminded me of how cautious we all need to be in the images we aspire to, and how crucial it is to be true to ourselves, above all else – accepting of the real, raw and truthful over the endlessly filtered”


According to data analysed by biomarker tracking service Forth with Life, 27 per cent of UK adults have low levels of vitamin D, leaving them susceptible to ill health, including depression and fatigue. Service founder Sarah Bolt says: ‘People need to be more aware of the importance of vitamin D and what their levels are.’ Learn more about tracking kits at



the plan

Gently transformative ideas for a happier mind and body



Put your pelvic floor to work with the effective trainer and app, £169,

Lifting your head and walking tall has a swift impact on mood and confidence – and open power postures attract trust and respect

‘Eating protein after exercise can help repair your muscles. But don’t feel pressured to eat protein straight after a workout; you can still reap the benefits later on. I am not a fan of protein shakes or supplements – I feel we should try to get all we need from real food. A boiled egg, smoked salmon, or a pot of Greek yogurt with nut butter are all great sources.’ Hollie Grant, Fitness Editor @thepilatesPT


‘It has taken me ages to find a stylish, eco-aware and comfortable tracksuit – without the bling of an obvious label – but PERFF Studio has nailed it. The brand has across-the-board sustainable and Fairtrade certifications, minimal carbon footprint, and additional pieces made from recycled yarn and polyamide. Yes, it’s expensive but, in the spirit of #buyoncewearforever, it makes sense to invest in something that will truly last. Four months in, they still look brand new.’ Eminé

Natasha Wood, yoga and Pilates teacher @natasha_jwood

PERSONAL TRAINER ‘I’m a big fan of Elvie, a Kegel trainer that strengthens your pelvic floor. As the pelvic floor is not visible, many women do not know if they are activating it correctly. Using the Elvie Trainer, alongside the mobile app, takes away the guesswork. I was surprised to find my pelvic floor was not as strong as I’d thought and, since using the trainer, I’ve seen impressive improvement.’ Hollie

Tracksuit top, £80, and bottoms, £100,

S P R I N G 2 0 1 9 P SYC H O LO G I E S M AG A Z I N E 85

spirit Lift your spirit with these great finds and useful insights

#360 LOVES... Three healing books with a modern mystical twist CRYSTALS C YSTALS by Katie-Jane e-Jane Wright (Aster, ter, £10.99) An A expansive book delving d lving into crystal healing h ling practices, such s ch as lucid dreaming, meditation and visualisation.

HAUSMAGICK: Transform Your Home, Create Your Sanctuary by Erica Feldmann (Ebury Press, £16.99) The energy of our homes gets a much-needed polish as Feldmann guides us through everything from natural cleaning products to the creation of natural wall hangings.

THE CRYSTAL FIX: Healing Crystals For The Modern Home, by Juliet Thornbury (Quarto Books, £18.99) A wonderful and gentle introduction to cleansing, charging and placing crystals around your home, according to their uses, creating power and beauty.

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LET YOURSELF BLOSSOM ‘The more you align with your personal values and innate talents, the happier you will feel. This spring, take time to find opportunities – social, personal or professional – in which you can be the most authentic you, where you feel most relaxed and at ease, and where your skills, experience and character are most relevant and valuable.

As you are appreciated, your sense of self-worth grows stronger. Remember, there is no need to push, strive or overdo things to “prove” yourself – simply follow what you already know, enjoy the experience and its rewards, and let things slowly fall into place.’ Larah Davies, Spirit Editor @ibizaretreats

WE DO GIVE A JOT! “From sunny Los Angeles comes the equally ebullient lifestyle brand ban.dō – just the thing to perk up your intentions (and give you the inspiration to tidy that desk). From uplifting slogan pencils to vivid planners, we’re embracing our inner stationery-loving kid. Sharpen those pencils!” Eminé ‘Take care’ wellness planner, £30, and ‘Write on’ set of 10 pencils, £9,


the plan

mind This month’s food for thought... Tell us how you get on by using #360me


Researchers have concluded that positive thinking improves physical wellbeing.* Using data from more than 7,000 adults aged over 50, it was established that those who believed the tasks they were doing were worthwhile aged better. People were asked to rate activities on a scale of 0-10. Those with ratings of 9 or 10 walked 18 per cent faster and had a 13 per cent higher concentration of vitamin D compared to those with scores of 0-3.


Clinical trials show that a daily capsule of lavender oil relieves anxiety in a way that is comparable to prescribed medications

WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY In ‘The Green Cure’ (CICO Books, £12.99), author Alice Peck reveals simple techniques to restore balance by engaging with nature during a busy day There are thousands of self-help books with prescriptions, both basic and labyrinthine, to help us live, think, and feel better, but here is one of the simplest and most reliable suggestions you are likely to read: pause and look out the window. This tiny action can change your mood and your day. ● You can connect the action mentally to specific points in the day, such as after you have eaten a meal or when you arrive at a routine destination.

● Think of ‘window time’ as a formal

practice, not a random event. Purposefully and mindfully take 30 seconds to gaze at the natural world. ● It can be a kitchen or train window; onto a forest or one sapling – with active intention and attention, do that one thing: look out the window. ● Try it for a few days and pay attention to any changes in the moment and also later in the day. Do you notice a positive result?

WHAT NOW? ‘“I believe the answers are inside us,” says Kate Taylor, the mind behind the Practical Magic Activation Deck, £45. “This toolkit helps you find calm, beat procrastination and spark creativity.” The deck – 56 thought-provoking cards and a workbook – act like a life coach. Insightful.’ Eminé; katetaylor. co/shop; @practicalmagicliving

Hans-Peter Volz, professor of psychiatry

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gut Nurture your gut health for an overall feeling of wellbeing


“I’m no stranger to a drop of vino, and did you know that the polyphenols in wine have the potential to support gut health? However, I do believe in drinking less and better. That’s why I was thrilled to discover Pull The Cork, a firm created by James Nathan, a true wine aficionado. Its ethos is to promote and support sustainable wines by sourcing from independent, typically smaller producers, which generally means a better quality of wine, and more gut-boosting polyphenols. Cheers to that!” Eve Kalinik, Nutrition Editor @evekalinik;

EAU SO GOOD ‘A lovely collaboration between Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and No 1 Rosemary Water, heralds No 1 Botanicals, a series of drinks infused with the power of a single herbal extract. With basil, olive leaf, thyme and meadowsweet among the herbaceous line-up, the range (£2.95 for 330ml) is not only refreshing and delicious (enjoy alone, or as a botanical mixer), but full of healthy, healing herbal power, too. Chin-chin.’ Eminé;

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A major study* highlights the benefits of fibre in our diet. As well as aiding weight management and lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, fibre decreases the risk of heart attacks, strokes and type-2 diabetes. Eat a minimum of 25g a day, but aim for 30g. Get it in oats, lentils, wholegrain bread or rice, potatoes and fruit.

Aquafaba Mayo and Mayo With Chipotle, £3.50 for 190g, rubies

SUSTAINABLE SAUCE ‘RUBIES IN THE RUBBLE is on a mission to make condiments with a conscience, using waste ingredients and a minimal carbon footprint to create their yummy and sustainable relishes, ketchups and mayo. The mayo is made from aquafaba, the water left over after cooking chickpeas, and, without the traditional egg, it’s vegan, too. One of the tastiest mayos I’ve tried – vegan or not.’ @evekalinik


the plan

COURGETTE RIBBON, WHITE BEAN SMASH AND PESTO BRUSCHETTA Elevating toast to a nourishing light meal, this easy-to-prepare flavour hit is rich in protein and bursting with goodness, says Kimberly Parsons in ‘The Yoga Kitchen Plan’ (Quadrille, £20). The vegan pesto is magic!

SERVES 2 ● 1 large courgette, thinly sliced into ribbons ● 1 x 400g can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained ● 4 slices sourdough bread, toasted ● Sea salt flakes, to serve ● 2 lime wedges, to serve FOR THE VEGAN PESTO ● 1 large bunch basil leaves, plus extra to serve ● 1 small bunch coriander ● 30g pine nuts or kernels, toasted ● 35g raw pistachio nuts ● 120ml extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to drizzle ● ¾ teaspoon sea salt


1 To make the vegan pesto, place all the ingredients into a food processor and blitz until smooth. Set aside. 2 Place the courgette ribbons and beans in a large bowl, add a quarter of the pesto and toss to coat. 3 Spread the remaining pesto onto the slices of toast and top with the courgette ribbons and beans. 4 Drizzle with olive oil, scatter over some extra basil leaves and sea salt flakes and serve with lime wedges.

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the open mind

Rebels and peacemakers; wanderers and homebodies… Eminé Kali Rushton ponders the blissfully blurred feminine path, with its choice to be either, or and both at once

Woman to woman


here are two types of mother in my family: those who know how to have fun (hello, Mum) and those who know – mostly – responsibility and service. Every time my extended family come together, the room is filled with those topping up glasses and mopping up mess, and those making it. I have raucous, exuberant aunts who dance till sunrise, and others who spend the entire party on kitchen duty. ‘Well-behaved women seldom make history.’ I chew on this one a lot. I wonder if it’s possible to be both square and firecracker; disruptor and keeper of the peace.


Widsom is a two-way street

We are all many things under one skin, and not all of them are happy housemates. As a mother, I trip over these tensions all the time. While the spirited kid in me doesn’t care whether my children finish their homework/peas/tidying, the responsible adult feels these things should be encouraged. What do I want for my two girls? I want them to be bold, brave, disruptive and true; to stand up for what is right, and those who cannot stand up for themselves. I also want them to be polite and have happy, gentle lives without drama. Long before they arrived, I imagined myself with girls – feisty, stubborn, strong and passionate. They say that when the gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers. I disagree. Through my little women, I am

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tested in ways that I need to be. Wish for truthful children, and you’ll be stung by their honesty; if I ever forget to walk my lofty talk, they are the first to point their righteous little fingers. And so it should be. We are all an ocean of contradiction and possibility. I can no more make them shiny happy people than I can repaint the stars. What I am making peace with, however, is that I do not need to mark out my girls’ paths. Though I may fear that they could end up at the kitchen sink instead of seeing the world, I know those are not my decisions to make. All I can do is champion their right to choose, and hope that they find their way. Mostly, though, I have to trust that the mother I am is the best mother I can be – not because I have the patience of a saint, but because I do not. Because I say what I feel and apologise when I get it wrong. Because I love them more than my heart can contain, yet also love being alone. I try to show them that the world does not begin or end with them, or anyone else. I try to offer them a picture where motherhood is not martyrdom. In turn, they show me a world where we learn from our children – our truest teachers. Ego, going, gone.

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eco worrier

New series

Waste not, want not From ‘compleating’ to food sharing and meal rescuing, Ellen Tout tries a few non-wasteful food approaches and finds a little goes a long way



very year in the UK, we throw out 10.2 million tonnes of food – 7.1 million of which comes from our homes. Shockingly, 70 per cent of that ‘waste’ could have been eaten. When food reaches landfill, it can’t compost naturally and takes many years to degrade, releasing methane in the process. This is responsible for eight per cent of global greenhouse gases. It feels like mass production and convenience foods mean we’ve lost connection with where our food comes from, and don’t value it. Every day in the UK, 20 million slices of bread are thrown away. In the past, stale bread might have been repurposed as bread pudding or croutons, and leftover meat and veg would be turned into soup or stew. I didn’t think of myself as someone who wasted much food, but these stats* and the concept of ‘compleating’ – eating all edible parts of the ingredient – sparked me to rethink this. Fruit and vegetables are the most commonly discarded foods, but many can be ‘compleated’. One of my favourite dishes uses butternut squash, but I’d usually chuck away the seeds and skin. Not today! I discover that both can be tossed in a little oil with

Green finds

spices and roasted to create delicious crisps and toasted seeds. This can be done with most vegetables: pumpkins, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes and parsnips. Herb stalks, carrot and cauliflower leaves, cabbage hearts and leek tops are all edible and nutritious. I love how this way of thinking encourages me to try different recipes and change my habits. I’ve also found some brilliant free apps that help to tackle the wider problem. Too Good To Go allows you to rescue leftover meals from restaurants and cafes for a fraction of the cost. And OLIO connects neighbours and local shops, so surplus food can be shared. Both are more active in cities but, even living in Kent, in one day, I pick up some unwanted cacao, tea and pineapple, and a bag packed with salad, hummus and bread for just over £2. For anything we really can’t consume, composting is a good option. But, before opening the bin, I’ve enjoyed reframing the way I use my ingredients, being more creative and seeking out a community of like-minded ‘waste warriors’. @Ellen_Tout


Cooking With Scraps by Ha d Lindsay-Jean Hard (Workman, £8.94) These recipes cores turn peels, cores, rinds and stems into delicious, healthy meals.

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Try this Awardwinning vegan beer, £2.50 a bottle ●

More inspiration: For recipes and compleating ideas, see or The Zero-Waste Chef; S P R I N G 2 0 1 9 P SYC H O LO G I E S M AG A Z I N E 93


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wholistic woman

How to keep your bones healthy Each month, women’s wellbeing expert Henrietta Norton discusses an area of women’s health and offers her perspective and advice. Here, she looks at ways to reduce the risk of osteoporosis as you enter the menopause



urrently, I am transitioning through the menopause and have been told that I will be at a greater risk of osteoporosis. So, what can I do? Healthy bones are created with a fine balance between bone formation and bone breakdown (measured by Bone Mineral Density or BMD). After the age of 30, bone formation slows down and bone breakdown increases. This process speeds up when women start their journey through the menopause – women can lose up to 20 per cent of their BMD in the five to seven years after the menopause because of the decline of oestrogen. Some studies have shown an average loss of bone density in the spine as five per cent per year in the immediate years after the menopause. The relationship between oestrogen and bone formation means that women who may be experiencing amenorrhea (a lack of menstrual cycle) may also be at a greater risk of developing osteoporosis. A family history of osteoporosis, women with fair skin, and a personal history of anorexia or hypothyroidism can increase the risk, too. Dietary and lifestyle factors may also influence bone formation. Caffeine, alcohol, carbonated drinks, high protein diets, sugar and excessive salt intake increase the excretion of minerals important for bone formation, including calcium and iron. Also, phytates found in many

grains, such as wheat, bind with these minerals and reduce their absorption into the body. A diet rich in calcium, magnesium, boron, vitamin K2, phytoestrogens and vitamin D, found in green leafy vegetables, nuts and pulses, can help to protect against osteoporosis. Traditional methods, such as nettle infusions and soups, which are rich in minerals and trace minerals, continue to be used in modern naturopathic approaches. Supplementation may be both necessary and helpful, so do seek professional advice on what might be best for you. Focus is commonly put on calcium and vitamin D supplements but other minerals and trace minerals, such as chromium and boron, are essential to BMD. Chromium is needed to regulate blood sugar levels and studies have shown that supplementing with chromium may reduce excretion of minerals, including calcium. Maintaining a healthy weight and doing regular weight-bearing exercise reduces mineral loss from our bones and, because stress can increase this too, using exercise and other forms of stress-management techniques may also be beneficial. Our expert, Henrietta Norton, is a registered nutritional therapist, a women’s wellbeing writer and expert, and co-founder of food-grown supplements brand Wild Nutrition.; @wildnutritionltd

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You talking to me?

New series

When you nourish yourself, it’s important to listen to the wisdom of your body, rather than the emotional response of your mind. In the Mindful Health Club this month, Ali Roff helps us develop the habit of intuitive eating through mindfulness to stop the mixed messages that lead us down an unhealthy path


ften, when we make decisions about nutrition, we react to our thoughts – the cravings of our mind. We make choices that serve our internal chatter, but aren’t right for our body – mindlessly eating junk or sugary ‘comfort’ food that we think will make us happy, or adopting restrictive diets. When we practise intuitive eating, we take it that step further, using mindfulness to anchor ourselves in the present, and we need to be here to listen to our body’s wisdom.

An internal whisper


In that moment, we can check in with our body to hear its vital messages: I’m hungry, I’m full, I’m bloated, I’m thirsty, I’m intolerant to X, I need Z for improved physical health. These conversations – a lesser-known sense called interoception – are integral to our wellbeing. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all guide when it comes to food – what works for one person may not work for you. Are there crucial signals you’re missing that will enhance your health, make your body function better and help you feel wonderful? Let’s tune into our body’s wisdom and learn what it truly needs through intuitive eating.

Mindful Health Club exercise: Try and practise intuitive eating with as many meals as you can over the next four weeks to create a more beneficial mind-body connection.

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AT YOUR NEXT MEAL, sit in a quiet place without any distractions and look at your food. Take in its colours and shapes. Close your eyes and notice its aromas. What’s happening to your body? Does your mouth water? What are your thoughts? Are you impatient to eat? Take note of your thoughts without doing anything about them. Just be in the moment with your food.


TAKE YOUR FIRST bite. Focus on the temperature and texture; how the cutlery and food feel in your mouth… Finally, focus on the taste of the food. Eat the rest of your meal like this – being mindful and in the moment. Can you tune into the messages your body is sending you? Are there physical sensations in your mouth or stomach?’


WHEN YOU HAVE finished eating, take a moment to close your eyes and check in with your body’s wisdom and intuition: How do you feel? What do you notice about your body? Do you feel energised? Do you feel sleepy? Do you want more or are you satisfied? Be aware of the difference between what your body is telling you, and what your mind is telling you.


NOW ASK: how did this meal serve me? Specifically, note the difference you feel in your body between various food and meal types – a healthy meal cooked from fresh ingredients versus a processed snack, for example. Again, also practise identifying the difference between the messages coming through from your body and those from your mind.



“It’s not only about healthy eating, it’s about happiness. If you enjoy a biscuit, go for it! If 10 biscuits don’t feel so good, you get the message! Be kind to your mind and your body”

Create the right ambience for intuitive eating. Candles from the Croft Collection, prices vary,


Ironclad rules around food don’t serve us. Authors Eve Simmons and Laura Dennison add their perspective to society’s ‘mindless obsession with eating right’. Eat It Anyway: Fight The Food Fads, Beat Anxiety And Eat In Peace (Mitchell Beazley, £10.99)

Eating with others? When I run retreats, I ask my guests to dine together in silence to practise mindful eating. They say it feels awkward at first, but then how rewarding the experience is!

DON’T WORRY if you find it difficult to tune into your body’s messages at first – we’re so used to listening to the chatter of the mind. As we practise, it gets easier. Over time, we realise which foods nourish us, identify habits with negative effects and diagnose intolerances we had ignored.

“Mindfulness means

being awake. It means knowing what you are doing JON KABAT-ZINN



the mindful health club

“It took me ages to realise that I didn’t have a dialogue with my body. I tried a high-protein (meat) diet in my 20s to lose weight, which wreaked havoc on my body and mind: I was tired, foggy and irritable. My body cried out for vegetables! It was one of the first times that the message from my body was louder than the message from my mind (get thin or else) – and I haven’t stopped listening. A diet high in meat does not serve DON’T MISS! my body, Intuitive eating live with Ali on the ‘Psychologies’ mind or Facebook page. Subscribe to the magazine and never values” miss her guidance in the Mindful Health Club. See page 80. @aliroff;

Eat Be mindful of your choice of crockery and cutlery: colours, textures and materials. How do they alter your mealtime? Hana bowl, £14,

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real nutrition

A tribute to tea Whether you prefer milk or black, with sugar or without, Eve Kalinik raises a cup to the nation’s favourite drink


here is nothing more synonymous with British culture than a proper cuppa. Teatime used to be celebrated as quite the ceremonial social occasion, with the relevant delicate crockery and side treats, such as perfectly presented scones or meticulously cut sandwiches. Nowadays, most of us don’t have the luxury of spending that amount of dedicated time, but there is something entirely restorative and refreshing about taking a moment in the day to enjoy a nice cup of tea – and possibly a biscuit or two. One of the most widely consumed teas in the UK is English breakfast tea. Ironic really, as it typically originates from Assam in India, Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) and Kenya. It is a black tea blend, robust and rich in flavour, which is why it lends well to adding milk, if that’s your preference. There is a real difference between tea made from loose leaves versus teabags. In my opinion, it isn’t just about the flavour, but also the nutritional profile, as well as environmental and ethical issues to consider. The loose varieties tend to be higher in polyphenol and antioxidant content, including catechins, flavonoids and tannins.



Invest in a nice cup and saucer from which to enjoy your tea. Charity shops are great for finding these. Have a rummage in your local one and see what you can find.


Treat yourself to a traditional afternoon tea with friends and family. Petersham Nurseries is my top spot for this. ● petersham

These compounds may help to mitigate damage to cells, as well as having a potentially supportive role for the gut and cardiovascular and cognitive health. Even better, buy organic, as this further enhances the antioxidant benefits. Try to effect positive change on the ethics behind tea production, where specific producers set fair prices, by looking for the Fairtrade mark or researching the source of your tea. Buying loose tea also minimises the waste that teabags produce. Furthermore, drinking loose tea requires a little more time out to prepare and enjoy, which has stress-relieving benefits, allowing for a genuine moment of rest and recovery during a busy day.; @evekalinik


Lalani & Co are true connoisseurs when it comes to tea. Look for their Assam and other black tea varieties, which are sourced from around the world. ●

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The Retreat p102 The Words Extend the beautiful possibilities of spring to the stories you read ● p104 Well Travelled Two women on healing odysseys in glorious Greece ● p108 48 Hours Mother and daughter atop a mystical Italian mountain ● p110 Living Technicolor dream home ● p120 Feasting Julia Azzarello’s nourishing pasta dishes

Spring has “returned. The



Earth is like a child that knows poems

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The Words

Spring, a time of cherry blossoms and endless possibilities, which is also true of books but, just in case you don’t have time to read them all, we’ve picked a few we think you’ll love

Book of the month


Shoganai Language: Japanese

Addiction, Recovery And The Removal Of Stubborn Stains by Michele Kirsch (Short Books, £12.99) A tale of one woman’s journey to rock bottom and beyond, this bittersweet memoir will make you laugh as well as cry. Struggling since childhood to deal with the sudden death of her father, Kirsch becomes addicted to prescription drugs and alcohol. After losing everything, she takes on a cleaning job to find her way back. Kirsch captures the hopelessness and helplessness we feel in the face of death, and her struggle with loss and grief is poignant but also surprisingly laugh-out-loud funny, as she is slowly brought back into the land of the living, dancing to the The Jackson 5 and pouring bleach down other people’s toilets. Gritty, real and, ultimately, hopeful.

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‘Is the spring coming?’ he said. ‘What is it like?’... ‘It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine...’

CLEAN: A Story Of

With cultural roots in the Zen Buddhist belief that suffering is a natural part of life and acceptance is easier than tha avoiding difficult times, this word translates to ‘it can’t be helped’.


Mint green t i r, £149.99, £ 9 99 typewriter,

Paper therapy


‘Room with a view’ is a writing invitation that can be done sitting or standing right where you are. Set a timer for three minutes and write about what you see, hear, feel or sense as you sit or stand in the space. That’s it. You’re done. Jackee Holder is an author, coach and

facilitator.@jackeeholder; jackeeholdercom

the retreat

THE HUMAN CONDITION Engaging reads following the journeys of courageous and complex characters



By Candice CartyWilliams (Trapeze, £12.99)

But one needs a change sometimes. We take everything too much for granted, including each other




THE JOY OF READING ALOUD When was the last time you recited a piece of beautiful poetry or prose aloud? We seldom do this, but it can be a wonderful feeling. Keep it simple with a poem to read out loud for each week of the year, from Mary Oliver’s odes to nature, to Rumi’s life-affirming aphorisms. ‘A Year Of Reading Aloud’, by Georgina Rodgers (Yellow Kite, £14.99)

Funny, complicated and confounding, Queenie is a 25-year-old British-Jamaican woman whose world is about to come crashing down. Ditched by her boyfriend, Tom, floundering at work, frustrated by her fractured family and caught between two cultures, she careens into a series of bad situations. But resilient Queenie, with the help of her friends and a therapist, is determined to face up to past hurts. Honest and heartfelt.



Things In Jars

By Jess Kidd (Canongate, £14.99)

In her third book, Kidd heads to Victorian London in the company of the incomparable Bridie Devine, as she attempts to find kidnapped Christabel Berwick, six, who’s rumoured to have supernatural gifts. Accompanied by her housemaid, the bewhiskered Cora Butter, and ghostly Ruby Doyle, a deceased, tattooed boxer, Bridie battles against unscrupulous surgeons and corrupt curiosity collectors in her efforts to rescue the child. Utterly unique and beguiling.

You Will Be Safe Here

By Damian Barr (Bloomsbury, £16.99)

Set in South Africa, this book tells the interconnected stories of Sarah van der Watt in 1901, who was imprisoned in Bloemfontein Concentration Camp with her six-year-old son, Fred, and 16-year-old outsider Willem, who endures the horrors of the New Dawn Safari Training Camp in 2010 in the hope that he’ll ‘man up’. Inspired by real events, from hidden colonial history to contemporary cruelty, both characters find themselves in brutal situations that are designed to test both body and spirit.

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Discover your inner Greek goddess Two women seek rejuvenation and serenity on the magical Greek island of Santorini and the Peloponnese peninsula


the retreat

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the retreat



Suzy Walker gets herself – and her hormones – back on track with a visit to this legendary island

Caroline Sylger Jones investigates the five elements theory as a method for transformation

IN THE FULL ‘BLOOM’ of my menopause, I head to Santorini for a three-day wellness break on one of the most photogenic of the Greek islands, where iconic white-domed houses cling precariously to the volcanic rock. It’s claimed Santorini is the location of the legendary lost city of Atlantis. Plato talks of a circular island, destroyed by an earthquake in 1646 BC. He tells of a flourishing civilisation with divine origins who occupied this glorious land, outside the columns of Hercules. But, after its people grew overambitious, the gods punished them by sinking the island with a cataclysmic volcanic eruption. Now popular with Hollywood A-listers, honeymooners and bucket-list backpackers, this is the perfect place to deal with my own menopausal volcanic eruptions and find my centre again. I book into the new, five-star Andronis Concept Wellness destination, located in the quiet clifftop village of Imerovigli. The hotel stands out from the traditional white houses, with its golden sandstone walls and minimalist feel. With 24 pool suites (yes, your very own infinity pool) and a private terrace facing the Aegean sunset, I can decompress in style. I start with early morning, open-air, rooftop yoga with 360-degree views and, after breakfast, use the 6.5-mile hiking path to trek down to the glamorous capital of Thira; zigzagging my way to the little ports below the cliffs. Time to breathe, regain some perspective and journal on the beach about what the ‘third act’ of my life may look like. After a siesta, I play tennis, go to the gym and book a healthy eating cookery class for inspiration on food to balance my hormones. But first, a visit to the cave-like Kallos spa, the largest in Santorini. With two pools, beautiful views and treatments, such as the signature ‘Bliss experience’ – a Polynesian spa ritual and holistic massage – I feel as if I’ve been transported to a magical, mythical land.

I AM TIRED AND DRAINED after a few intense months juggling work and motherhood when I arrive at Euphoria Retreat, a new holistic wellness destination spa near the ancient site of Mystras on the Peloponnese. I’m eager to transform my negative energy into something glorious I can work with for the year ahead, which is why I’ve booked the ‘Signature emotional and physical transformation retreat’, which pivots on the theory of the five elements from ancient Greek and Chinese philosophies. Each morning, a two-hour workshop teaches us about the physical and emotional aspects of one element through meditation; every afternoon, we have massages and do energy work to balance that particular element in our bodies. Slowly, my brain and heart relax as I begin to understand each aspect of myself – the water (I dream), the wood (I think), the fire (I know), the earth (I do) and the metal (I feel). In daily element-balancing treatments, my Russian therapist, Natalia, varies the strokes of my massage; flowing strokes calm the kidney energy for water; rapid strokes get the heat up for fire. We have two unexpectedly fun sessions: a lively chakra dancing therapy hour and a group discussion in the marbled hammam, telling stories as the ancients would have done, while purging our bodies of toxins. Seasonal, Mediterranean-inspired meals, cooked without sugar and salt, support our process. On the last day, we discover our elemental constitution and have a closing consultation. I’m wood, I am told, eager for growth and creativity, given to anger and frustration when out of balance, destined to share with abundance when aspirations in my life come to fruition. My mentor, Mary, guides me through a personalised meditation to help me make the most of my future. I leave with plans – but also with the knowledge that I need to find time for rest and enjoyment before I start my next project. I feel light, but engaged with myself and the world.

Your Greek getaway l A stay at Andronis

Concept Wellness Resort starts from £479 per night, including breakfast. A tasting menu at Lauda, the restaurant

at sister hotel the Andronis Boutique, costs from £117. Return flights with easyJet start at £206.; +30 2286 036737

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l A bed-and-breakfast

stay at Euphoria Retreat, with one daily spa treatment, starts from £279 per room per night, based on one adult.

Transfers are not included in the price. Return flights with easyJet start from £108.; +30 2731 306111;; holidayextras. com. For flights, go to


“I’m eager to transform my negative energy into something glorious I can work with for my year ahead”

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT Euphoria Retreat, with its backdrop of Mount Taygetus, blanketed in pine and fir trees; the pool and sandstone architecture at Andronis Concept Wellness exist in harmony with the natural surroundings; sunset on Santorini and dinner with a view; Andronis’s curved structures give the space an infinite, calming ambience; Euphoria spa’s inviting outdoor pool area, melting water into sky; lounges for rest and reflection; the circular spa and pool at Euphoria; private pools and terraces merge into the glistening panorama at Andronis

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Escape to witch mountain Mother and daughter seal their bond in the presence of medicine women and Stone Men on the mystical peaks of South Tyrol in northern Italy, writes Vee Sey

108 P SYC H O LO G I E S M AG A Z I N E S P R I N G 2 0 1 9




the retreat


he spiritual energy of alpine witches pulsates on the plateau. We fall silent at the marvel: a fairy tale-scape of pine woods, acute summits and cerulean sky, and a hundred mysterious cairns, like midget infantry defending the Sarntal Alps. ‘Barbara was the last witch of our village to be burned,’ hotelier Gregor Wenter whispers, ‘because the church feared her knowledge and power, but we don’t know the purpose of the Stone Men.’ The ‘wild women’ of the Dolomites were herbalists and the slopes pop with the jewelled colours of their ingredients: edelweiss; arnica; feathery soft ‘cat’s paws’; gentian; ‘devil’s claw’… Gregor crushes a bloom between his fingers and shoves it under my nose. ‘Incredible, yes?’ he demands, and I have to agree.

Cowbells, cooks and honey baths

At quirky restaurant Putzar Kraitz, we’re served by lederhosen-wearing, tattooed mountain men: vivid beetroot and cheese dumplings with sauerkraut; and an excellent bottle of South Tyrolean white. Descending past wild spinach and jingling cows, we end the day in the spa, before a gourmet dinner and a nightcap of fiery schnapps made from dwarf pine, a staple at Bad Shörgau, a family-run hotel that brings the delights of the mountains to its cuisine and beauty products. The next day, another resident alchemist, Michelinstarred chef Egon Heiss teaches us to make elegant grissini, gnocchi and wobbly ricotta soufflé before more honeyed soaks, massages and intense giggling. This is a region of mixed cultural messages; both in lyrical Italian and precise German. Once part of Austria, we don’t know whether to serenade it with ‘The hills are alive!’ or O Sole Mio but, one thing is certain, our hearts are singing and our spirits lifted, as if by magic.


Alpine hideaway Vee and Fjora were hosted by spa hotel Bad Shörgau, prices from £205 for two people per night, and the South Tyrol Tourism Board. A cooking lesson with Egon Heiss costs £134. Flights with easyJet to Innsbruck and Verona cost from £117.; suedtirol. info/en;

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THIS PAGE A sunny yellow lifts this hallway; a bright backdrop to the family storage unit, while the patterned floor adds interest

OPPOSITE An alchemic blend of colour, texture and light in this living room, plus classic and modern pieces, lend a timeless feel with plenty of character


the retreat

Add a splash of colour Treat rooms like recipes, with vivid elements coming together with love for a soulful result PHOTOGRAPHS JAMES MERRELL EDITED BY DANIELLE WOODWARD

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the retreat


hef Thomas Keller said: ‘A recipe has no soul. The cook brings soul to the recipe.’ The new book from paint masters Farrow & Ball, Recipes For Decorating, encourages you to bring heart to your home with the clever use of colour. Author Joa Studholme says: ‘Colours need to be combined and balanced, just like ingredients, to create something greater than the sum of its parts.’ Which shades are you drawn to? Notice how the colours in these rooms make you feel: uplifted, comforted, relaxed, energised? As Studholme says: ‘The right room, like the right recipe, will nourish one’s wellbeing.’

‘Farrow & Ball: Recipes For Decorating’ by Joa Studholme (Mitchell Beazley, £30)

LEFT Green Smoke paint on the walls and Strong White on the woodwork create a comforting mood. Despite the strong contrast, there is a sense of calm

THIS PAGE The units in Pavilion Gray are only slightly darker than the walls, giving a spacious feel to this kitchen. The Pitch Black island makes a striking centrepiece

living i i

t retreatt the

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Gallery Tulip cast-iron tiled fireplace, fi replace £290, fl

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Colour cupboard

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Velvet chair, £495,

Just like in a kitchen cupboard, there are essential colour ingredients that can be relied on to work together. Farrow & Ball: Recipes For Decorating suggests a team of three shades: a pale colour for a fresh feel, a stronger one for a muted scheme, plus an accent colour that ties them all together and brings rooms to glorious life. Look out for additions in your chosen accent shade to add to your home and, of course, channel Marie Kondo by only holding onto an item if it brings you joy.

Vintage-style storage rack, £46.90,

F Faux flowers in l vintage-style ase £125, £ 2 vase, h l m

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Psychologies readers can buy Farrow & Ball: Recipes For Decorating byJoa Studholme for £2, plus free UK postage and packaging (RRP £30). To order, call 01235 759555 quoting reference 9952100020. Offer subject to availability. Allow seven days for delivery.

How to embrace uncertainty

Next month

Be courageous, leap into the unknown and transform your life


Make your big idea happen Beat your inner critic, be creative, start today l

Cure your broken heart Why the passions



that shape your life may not always be the romantic kind l Life coach ‘My rich family won’t help me out financially’

Solve the busyness paradox The more productive you are, the busier you become… l Wonder and magic Get your nature fix now l

Don’t miss the MAY issue – on sale 16 April

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in partnership with PADI

Take a plunge into the blue with PADI Uncover a like-minded community of diving buddies whose love of adventure – and protecting the ocean – create a common bond


or those who dream of sandy toes and salty hair, there is a global community ready and waiting to welcome you with open arms. At 25 million divers and counting, the Professional Association of Dive Instructors (PADI) community is the world’s largest diving family. If you’re drawn to a lifetime of discovery, consider taking the leap and learn to dive.

Forming deeper connections

Your PADI certification will open your eyes to a whole new world beneath the surface of the ocean, as well as a kindhearted international community. With more than 6,500 PADI dive centres and resorts around the world, you will meet people from different cultures and all walks of life, each with their own reason for being part of this special community. When you become a PADI diver, you’ll learn to support each other in both your personal and professional endeavours. As Laura Walton, clinical psychologist and PADI instructor, writes in her blog post about how diving motivates healthy living: ‘Social contact and friendship are


significantly correlated with emotional wellbeing and mental capability. While diving, we meet people with similar values and build relationships – often for life!’ So, as you journey together into the world of scuba diving, feel confident in expanding your boundaries beyond what you dream is possible. Soon, you’ll find yourself immersed in group diving expeditions that will take you across the open seas to exciting places.

A global force for good

People and fostering a sense of community, one of PADI’s ‘four pillars of change’ – alongside ocean health, marine animals and healing and wellness – are vital in making sure diving benefits the earth and its inhabitants. Divers represent the minority of people with the ability to see first-hand how the ocean is caving under the pressure of human interference, such as the aftermath of single-use plastic. For those who care deeply about our planet, you may have found your tribe. Sometimes, it takes the courage to dive into the unknown to rediscover your sense of belonging. Start your PADI journey by visiting community and finding a dive centre near you

A three-night diving retreat for four people on the beautiful Cornish coast, worth 3,000!

Enter this great competition for the chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime getaway to Cornwall for four people. The prize includes:

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Resort in Falmouth in two classic twin rooms. ● Access to St Michaels Health Club, including classes for

I’ve had some of the most interesting holidays and met such incredible people while scuba diving. I learned to dive in my 20s and, 25 years later, I am still hooked on it. It’s like meditation – but in a magical underwater world where anything is possible. I’ve communed with sharks, swum alongside a whale and a turtle, fallen in love with my diving buddy – and instructor! – made lifelong friends with a bunch of strangers and surprised myself by challenging myself both emotionally and physically to do something I never thought I’d be able to master. Scuba diving is one of the most enjoyable and wonderful activities I’ve ever learned – I can’t recommend it enough.

● A Rhassoul Mud Experience for the group. ● A PADI Open Water Diver Course at the

psypadi. To find out more about St Michaels, go to For details about the diving centre, visit

Editor-in-Chief, Psychologies

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good thoughts


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the retreat

Pasta fantastica!

Trying to be healthy and avoiding pasta? You don’t have to! New book Skinny Pasta is full of lighter interpretations of classic dishes that everyone can enjoy RECIPES JULIA AZZARELLO PHOTOGRAPHS TARA FISHER EDITED BY DANIELLE WOODWARD


ook, recipe writer and food stylist, and author of new book Skinny Pasta, Julia Azzarello, sets the record straight on pasta:

‘Many who love pasta also fear it, but it is not fattening, nor is it inherently bad for you. Paired with the right sauce, pasta makes a healthy, well-balanced dish.’

PEA AND ORZO RISOTTO Orzo tends to be a bit starchier than other tiny pastas, so I thought it would make a lovely risotto. It is also easier than using arborio rice, as you don’t have to stir it so vigilantly. The addition of pea shoots at the end gives it a sweet crunch.

And, with clever swaps and portion sizes, Azzarello has created a book in which each recipe is under 500 calories. ‘Meat is used in moderation, or as an addition. Likewise, cream, butter and cheese are limited – it is


1 tbsp olive oil


1 shallot, finely

only when these foods are consumed in extreme levels


that they are harmful,’ she explains. Azzarello reassures


1 garlic clove, minced

us that there are plenty of classic pasta main-course


300g orzo

dishes that we can enjoy ‘without feeling as though you


100ml dry white wine

have used all your calories for a week in one sitting!’


400ml vegetable

Skinny Pasta is packed with colourful, delicious-looking

or chicken stock

dishes that make the most of seasonal produce and


150g frozen peas

are also practical, easy to cook and less labour-intensive


50ml single cream

than the traditional Italian pasta dishes that nonna


50g ricotta salata

used to make. Chapters include Staples, Lunches,

or pecorino Romano,

Salads, Soups, Fish and Meat Mains and Veggie Mains,

grated, plus extra

plus there is everything you need to know about pasta shapes and sauces, equipment you may need and

for sprinkling l

ingredients for your kitchen cupboard. There are also suggestions for gluten-, dairy- and egg-free alternatives;

chopped l

the versatility of pasta means these recipes can be enjoyed by everyone. As Azzarello says: ‘Life is too short not to eat pasta!’ We wholeheartedly agree.

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10g fresh mint, 4 sprigs of tarragon, chopped


40g pea shoots, to garnish

1 Warm a large, deep pan, then

add the oil and shallot and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute. Tip in the orzo and stir around for 1 minute more, then add the white wine. Once the wine has evaporated, pour in the stock and bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. The orzo should take about 9-10 minutes to cook, but keep an eye on it and stir it occasionally so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. 2 When it is creamy and cooked, stir in the peas, single cream, grated cheese and herbs and cook for 2 minutes. Adjust the seasoning to taste. Serve in bowls, sprinkled with some extra grated cheese and the pea shoots. >>>


the retreat

GLUTEN-FREE GNOCCHI WITH ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH, BROWN BUTTER AND SAGE The addition of pomegranate seeds rounds off the sweetness of the squash and nuttiness of the butter with just the right amount of acid and tang. Plus, it’s a lovely colourful garnish to lift the dish. SERVES 4 l

300g butternut squash flesh, cut into small chunks 2 tbsp butter


5 sage leaves, chopped


40g Parmesan cheese, grated


40g pomegranate seeds, to garnish


2 medium baking potatoes, scrubbed


1 egg, beaten


60-80g gluten-free plain flour, plus extra for dusting

1 First, make the gnocchi. Preheat the oven to 200°C, gas mark 6. Prick the potatoes with a fork and wrap them in foil. Bake for 1-1 hour 20 minutes, or until tender. Leave to cool slightly, for about 15 minutes, then scoop out the potato and pass through a ricer. You need about 400g. Mix in the egg and flour. 2 Dust a clean worktop with flour. Divide the dough into four equal-sized pieces. Roll each one out to a cylinder 20cm long, and cut into 2cm chunks. Make grooves on each piece using the back of a fork, then place on a baking tray dusted with flour. 122 P S YC H O L O G I E S M A G A Z I N E S P R I N G 2 0 1 9

3 Bring a large saucepan of salted water

to the boil and cook in two batches for 1 minute, or until they float to the top. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside, reserving some cooking water. Leftovers can be kept in a sealed container in the fridge, or freeze for two to three months. 4 Preheat the oven to 200°C, gas mark 6. Toss the squash with half of the olive oil and spread out evenly on a baking tray. Roast for 30-35 minutes. 5 Put the remaining oil and the butter in a deep frying pan and cook for 1-2 minutes until browned and it smells nutty. Add the gnocchi and sauté for 2 minutes more, then add the roasted squash, sage and a splash of pasta cooking water and toss together. Serve on plates topped with grated Parmesan cheese and pomegranate seeds.

Reader offer

Psychologies readers can buy a copy of Skinny Pasta for the special price* of £10.50, plus free postage and packaging (RRP £14.99). To order, please call 01235 759555, quoting code 9952100021.


2 tbsp olive oil




ORECCHIETTE WITH BROCCOLI, CHICKEN SAUSAGE AND HARISSA PASTE This dish is a healthier version of the traditional sausage and broccoli because it is made with lean chicken. It still packs a lot of flavour into one meal, especially with the zing of harissa and lemon. SERVES 4 l



1 tbsp olive oil

250g chicken


2-3 garlic cloves, sliced

sausages, removed


2-3 tbsp harissa paste

from casings and cut


2 tbsp chopped parsley

into 2cm chunks


1 lemon, cut into

or 400g fresh l


320g dried orecchiette 125g Tenderstem broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces


40g Parmesan cheese, grated

1 SautĂŠ the chicken sausage

chunks in a non-stick pan for about 3-4 minutes, until cooked through. Drain on kitchen paper and set aside until needed. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, add salt and cook the pasta for 1-2 minutes less than the packet states, or until just al dente. 2 Add the broccoli to the pasta for the last 2 minutes of its cooking time. Drain, reserving

a little of the cooking water. 3 Meanwhile, heat a frying pan over a medium heat, add the oil and garlic and cook for 1 minute, then remove from the heat. 4 Add the pasta, broccoli and sausage chunks to the pan and toss with the harissa paste and a little of the reserved pasta water. Serve in bowls with a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of grated Parmesan and parsley.

the retreat

Purple haze. Ultra Violet oven mitt, £27; Heritage stoneware dishes, from £30 each, all

ox & Ivy Arno Fox bowl, Paio pasta bowl £6,

DIY. World of Flavours pasta machine, £35.99,

Ul r Violet salt and Ultra pep mills, £32 each, pepper mills l

New products to sample. sam l Slendier S edamame e bean fettuccine fettuccine, from pack ,; k; C mato puree, £13 for six 200g packs, Cirio tomato puree £1.25,; Everyday chilli sauce, £3.50,; Mazzetti balsamic vinegar, £9.90,; Dalston’s rhubarb soda, £1.09,; Gallo black wholegrain rice, £2,



Buon appetito!

Italy and pasta are synonymous and pasta is so versatile: ravioli parcels of meat and cheese, cannelloni filled with spinach and ricotta and myriad shapes for different sauces. Many chefs have passionate love affairs with Italy: Jamie Oliver’s Jamie Cooks Italy (Michael Joseph, £26), Nigella Lawson’s Nigellissima (Chatto & Windus, £20) and Gino D’Acampo’s Gino’s Italian Adriatic Escape (Hodder & Stoughton, £20). And don’t forget the godfather, Antonio Carluccio, whose legacy lives on in Carluccio’s restaurants.

These new cookbooks will show you the way




1 The Dirty Dishes: 100 Fast And Delicious Recipes by Isaac Carew (Pan Macmillan, £20) 2 Where Cooking Begins: Uncomplicated Recipes To Make You A Great Cook by Carla Lalli Music (Penguin Random House, £22.50) 3 Wine: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Red, White, Rose & Fizz by Jane Parkinson (Ryland Peters & Small, £9.99) 4 Midnight Chicken (& Other Recipes Worth Living For) by Ella Risbridger (Bloomsbury, £22)

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Blogger spotlight

Federica is an Italian living in London with her husband, son and dog, and who blogs about all types of food, including that of her homeland, at As well as book and restaurant reviews, Federica shares her travel tales and recipes, such as her family’s ‘Ciambelle al vino biscuits’, ‘Pappa al pomodoro’, ‘Salame di cioccolato’ and a dish that reminds her of her childhood in southern Italy, ‘Pasta e zucchine.’



Liven up with pattern. Kosmo dinner plate, £3.50; large bowl, £5; mug, £4, Handy reminders. Shopping list pin board, £8,

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HuzurVadisiYogaRetreats One of the best known providers of yoga holidays with over twenty five years of experience. If you’re looking for a peaceful, supportive and welcoming space for your yoga holiday, simply come, relax and enjoy your stay, while we take good care of you in your home from home. ●

TheTowerHouse,Kos,Greece So much more than just a villa! With its peace, space and spectacular views, The Tower House is the perfect venue for organisers of inspirational small group holidays like yoga, painting, photography, walking, mindfulness, creative writing.The clarity of light and warmth of the sun make for ideal Spring/Autumn getaways. ●

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Happiness Book Club

Small steps to creative courage

Vanessa King of Action for Happiness, author of 10 Keys To Happier Living, recommends Creative Confidence: Unleashing The Creative Potential In All Of Us by Tom and David Kelley



e often conflate creativity with artistic skill, yet the two are different. Creativity is the ability to generate new ideas and solve problems in all aspects of our lives, not just in artistic pursuits, whether that’s coming up with a new product or improving a service at work, organising our homes or planning social events. What often gets in the way is fear that our ideas will seem stupid, or that we won’t be able to ‘fill the blank page’. Our own internal judgements can also stop us challenging ourselves to push beyond our initial ideas. This book advocates that we can all develop greater creative confidence. The key is taking small steps and failing fast and often. Great creative thinkers don’t just have good ideas, they work at generating more ideas, many of which are bad ones, but which help them learn what works by seeing what doesn’t. As well as a look at what gets in the way, the book contains lots of creative ‘experiments’ to start developing your thinking muscles. For example, keep a creative journal for a month. Each day, challenge yourself to capture one new idea or source of inspiration you’ve noticed. Or practise turning a gripe into a creative question – so, ‘This office is too noisy to get work done’ becomes something like, ‘How can we organise our workspace so that people can both connect and focus when they need to?’ Questions like these provoke us to start thinking about possible creative solutions instead of staying stuck. The best way of building creative confidence is by action, taken one step at a time.

Next month, we’re reading ‘Chasing The Sun’ by Linda Geddes (Profile Books, £14.99)

130 P SYC H O LO G I E S M AG A Z I N E S P R I N G 2 0 1 9

Creative Confidence: Unleashing The Creative Potential In All Of Us by Tom and David Kelley (HarperCollins, £9.99)

Questions to discuss ● What’s the best idea you’ve

ever had and what’s a bad one that you learned from? ● For you, what is the greatest challenge in generating new ideas? What is a small step you could take to overcome that? ● How could you change one of your gripes into a creative question? ● What is an area of your life to which you’d like to apply more creative thinking? How could you start?


Photography: David Venni / Chilli Media

Tess Daly



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