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

Recent research: six studies on eating habits, obesity, vitamin D, lifestyle & dementia

Here are half a dozen studies on weight, bite size, vitamin D, dietary supplements, and ways of avoiding dementia.  Andrew et al report on the "Incident cancer burden attributable to excess body mass index in 30 European countries" estimating that about 6% of cancers could be avoided if we could maintain healthier weights (abstracts & links for all six articles mentioned appear further down this page).  Zijlstra and colleagues suggest a possible response!  They randomized subjects to eating with different bite (mouthful) sizes and different chewing times.  They found that " ... greater oral sensory exposure to a product, by eating with small bite sizes rather than with large bite sizes and increasing OPT (oral processing time), significantly decreases food intake."  As Mum might put it "Don't wolf your food!"

Four aspects model & some associated evidence for relaxation, meditation & imagery

Relaxation, meditation, mindfulness, hypnosis, imagery and other associated methods form a complex, loosely interlinked field.  The "Four aspects of helpful inner focus" model, that I've put together to help me make more sense of this territory, looks like this: 

Four aspects model

For a downloadable copy of this diagram click here.  There is a fair amount of data supporting most of these methods.  To give some examples:

Autogenic training: fifth session

Here are the handouts and other materials for the fifth Autogenic training session.  Start this exercise once you have worked through the first four lessons.  Take your time.  If you have conscientiously worked your way through to this fifth session, you're doing really well.  Congratulations.  Don't feel you have to finish each new exercise in a week.  Take longer if you want to - these are skills that can last a lifetime, so enjoy developing them really thoroughly.  Session five introduces focussing on the breath, extending our ability to apply these skills during other activities, better understanding of emotions, and the use of therapeutic writing.

Attachment, compassion & relationships

Well I didn't sleep too well last night.  Catero, my wife, and I went to the cinema yesterday evening and watched "500 Days of Summer" . I enjoyed it and it got me thinking about relationships.  The "Summer" of the title is a woman who doesn't believe in romantic love.  She's kind of charming and maddening and, as I biked away from the cinema, I wondered how I would have approached treating her if she had come to me for therapy!  Interestingly a newspaper reviewer commented that the film is "weirdly incurious about the inner life of its female lead".

Goal renewal boosts wellbeing: third post

In a series of linked blog posts over the course of this month, I've discussed writing for health and wellbeing, assessment of one's own level of wellbeing, and using a broadened Best Possible Selves exercise.  In today's post I take these ideas a step further by linking them to the research work of Professor Lyubomirsky and colleagues. 

Recent research: six studies on positive psychology, goals, relationships, caregiving, mindfulness & nature

Here are half a dozen studies that one could loosely put under the broad umbrella of positive psychology.  Zorba the Greek said "Take what you want and pay for it, says God." and Niemiec et al's study, on the effects of achieving different kinds of goal, supports this statement (for all six research studies mentioned in this blog post see below for abstracts and links).  Quoting Niemiec et al's somewhat awkward language: "The relation of aspiration attainment to psychological health was found to differ as a function of the content of the goals. Attainment of the intrinsic aspirations for personal growth, close relationships, community involvement, and physical health related positively to basic psychological need satisfaction and psychological health.

Autogenic training: fourth session

For the fourth Autogenic Training class, I introduce a number of new practices and ideas.  These include the next stage in the basic Autogenic Training sequence (pulse & general calmness), beginning to work on application during daily life (1st differential exercise), and a focus on the "Nourishing positive states" aspect of inner focus exercises.  For this latter, I discuss ideas about the importance of our attitudes, process visualisation, and implementation intentions.  Please read the introductory remarks and work through the first three Autogenic Training exercises before starting on this fourth Autogenic stage.