How to Deal with Social Media Envy

The habit of comparing ourselves unfavourably with other people damages our self-esteem and wellbeing even during the best of times. When we experience more challenging times, it can take very little to make ourselves and our lives feel really rubbish.

It wasn’t quite so bad in the olden days when there was only limited exposure to the lives of others, seemingly so much more successful and interesting than our own. At the present time it is hard to escape the bombardment of words and pictures and images which suggest that all the people we know (and some we don’t) are having a brighter, better existence than us.

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How Your Personal Values Affect Your Wellbeing

Values are the ideas that define the way we view the world. They are the abstract notions on which we base our judgements of what is important in life.

Our values shape our choices and decisions. The way we behave, how we live and work, our relationships with ourselves and with other people, are guided by these fundamental concepts.

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How to Have Good Phone Conversations

At particular periods in all our lives, it isn’t possible to have face-to-face contact with the people who matter to us. It doesn’t matter that much these days, we say blithely, because of all the possibilities for voice and video calls. We can still see each other. We can still talk to each other. In fact, we can see and talk to more people in more ways than we ever could IRL.

But an old-school phone call is just the thing for a proper conversation or discussion, the kind that leaves you feeling pleased and satisfied that you have had a meaningful, enjoyable, worthwhile exchange with someone close to you. If using the phone is a habit you have got out of, or is something that you shy away from, why not give it a try.

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How to Write a Lockdown Letter

You might wonder what would be the point of writing a letter during this period of forced separation and constrained activity.

After all, we’ve got the technology which enables us to see and talk to each other, even though we are miles apart. When you can actually get a large group of friends or a whole family together on a screen, as well as having intimate one-to-ones, why bother with anything else?

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How to Have a Gentle Lockdown

The contours of our lives have changed in the coronavirus lockdown or shelter in place. For now, we don’t have the regular rhythms and rituals which give shape to our days. Without the activities which normally punctuate our waking hours, we are faced with a shapeless mass of time which we need to mould into a recognisable and manageable form.

And we are doing so well at it. Each day we are increasingly aware of the importance of caring for our own and others’ physical and mental health. We are embracing advice to structure the days with a variety of pursuits, and people are generously offering their skill and experience to help us to continue the activities which bring us pleasure and which nourish our well-being.

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How the Five Whys Could Help You to Manage Stress

It’s not often that tools for improving productivity and effectiveness in the workplace can be happily transferred to our personal lives, but with a little bit of tweaking, the technique called the Five Whys may provide a way of helping us deal with personal pressure and demands.

This method, which originated in the Toyota company in Japan in the 1930s and is in widespread use today, presents the potential for solving a problem by asking a series of questions, typically five, which lead you to identify the problem’s root cause. This is a route to preventing the problem from occurring again. It’s a technique which seems to work well in certain circumstances.

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Be Wary of New Words that Disguise their Real Meaning

Our language is vibrant and flexible, constantly changing as it reflects the changing nature of the world it describes. Communication has always been enriched by varieties of slang, for example, and by the emergence of new words and phrases that sometimes refer to a new reality, and at other times present a new way of expressing something which is already established.

While relishing the colour and vividness of newly-coined expressions, it’s good to be aware of what they actually refer to. If we buy into the neat-sounding phrase or the cool neologism and accept it at face value, we may be accepting practices which we don’t whole-heartedly endorse and which could stand a little more scrutiny.

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The Assertive Way to Fight Body Shaming

For years and years, the practice of making fun of fat or thin people has been a staple of cartoons, picture postcards, film and television comedies, books and stories.

It’s what we do, mock and marginalise our fellow humans who don’t conform to some manufactured ideal of physical appearance. The shame is on us, not on our bodies.

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Talkin’ ’bout your generation — How to overcome generational differences in communication

The phrase ‘the generation gap’ came into common usage in the 1960s. It referred to the lack of understanding between the older generation, born earlier in the century, and the new tribe of teenagers and young people which emerged after World War Two.

Depending on your viewpoint, the younger generation changed a moribund society into one which was better, brighter and freer, or it plunged the country into the depths of depravity, permissiveness and uncouth behaviour.

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How to Deal with Workplace Jargon

The Oxford English Dictionary has asked the public to contribute examples of the work-specific language — slang, technical terms, acronyms, ‘in’ phrases — which is current in their profession.

The fine lexicographers at the OED are following the practice of Sir James Murray, who in 1878 took on the huge task of preparing and editing the dictionary. Sir James asked people to send in examples of words and the contexts in which they were used, so that every word in the dictionary was accompanied by references and quotations to illustrate its range of meanings and usages. Information and evidence continue to be key components of the fascinating task of tracking and recording our language as it changes and develops.

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The Assertive, Friendly Way to Refuse a Drink and Keep Your Personal Power

It can be very hard to resist the pressure to drink, and to deal with the suggestion which is sometimes implied that your refusal means that you are boring, or weird, or a killjoy, or that you are being judgemental about other people.

What could be more social than a bar or a pub, right? It could be your local pub-grub watering hole, or a sophisticated cocktail lounge (get you), or an old-school tavern with a darts board and other trad cons, or the kind of party at someone’s house that turns it into a bar of sorts for the evening.

These and similar situations have two things in common — they encourage fun and sociability, and they share an assumption that having a few or more alcoholic drinks is the way to a good time.

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How Parents Can Manage the Stress of Exam Results

Once upon a time, way back in the day when there were only two television channels available and they were both in black and white, the only people interested in exam results were those directly involved. The results arrived at your house by post, in an envelope addressed to you, the exam candidate, and could be opened when and where and how you chose.

You could absorb the grades in the privacy of your bedroom, or in the company of your parents or a friend or a sympathetic dog, or sitting on your backpack ready to hit the Kathmandu trail if it had all gone Pete Tong, as we didn’t say in those days.

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