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Learning about aging from a trip South visiting friends

Catero, my wife, and I are just back from four days in the South visiting friends.  We're blessed with some lovely friendships but, partly because most of us live pretty busy lives, it's easy not to see people who live quite far away for months or even years.  A while ago we decided to at least partly remedy this, so we booked four days off our work and contacted old friends who lived along the South Coast of England, from Dorset through Hampshire to Sussex, to set up reunions.  We got back last night.  Over the four days away we saw seven sets of friends.  It was lovely ... really heart-warming, poignant, fun, fascinating.  And that's what I'm writing about here ... the fascinating bit. We saw seven sets of friends aging and we shared how we ourselves are getting older.  We range from our mid-50's to late 70's (Catero & I are in the second half of our 60s).

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

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

A Wake-up Call 

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

New NICE guidance on promoting physical activity using brief advice

This month the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) published their new evidence-based clinical guideline on "Physical advice: brief advice for adults in primary care".  NICE state "The guidance is for ... anyone ... whose remit includes offering lifestyle advice. Examples include: exercise professionals, GPs, health trainers, health visitors, mental health professionals, midwives, pharmacists, practice nurses, physiotherapists.  It may also be of interest to others with a role in encouraging physical activity and members of the public." 

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

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

Update on website traffic: my own favourite top 15 (11-15) - exercise, lifestyle, writing, goal setting & positive psychology

Earlier this year I used Google Analytics to identify the most read pages on this website and I wrote the post "Update on website traffic: the ten most popular blog posts". I then wondered - "What are my own personal favourites?" and I quickly realised that the posts that I've written that have had the most impact on me and my practice as a therapist are nearly always made up of sequences of blog posts rather than just individual items. I said that glancing back over the last year or so, themes that stood out included mindfulness, therapist feedback, self-control, conflict, embodied cognition and positive psychology. Going further back still there are the posts about interpersonal groupwork, relationships, therapeutic writing, walking in nature, compassion, exercise, healthy lifestyle, attachment and goal setting.

Leeds BABCP conference: Kelly Wells ACT plenary and a skills class on imagery for sport, exercise & life (7th post)

I have already written four blog posts about the pre-conference workshop I attended (on Fatigue) and a couple of posts on the conference proper - "Two symposia on how CBT works, Paul Salkovskis's plenary and the compassion special interest group" and "Therapeutic stories & metaphors".  Today's post looks further at the second day of this annual BABCP get-together with comments on Kelly Wells's plenary lecture on Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Jennifer Cumming on application of imagery for athletes and exercisers.

Commitment contracts: orientation, practicalities & use as therapeutic tools

(This post is downloadable as a Word doc or a PDF file).  

I wrote yesterday about "Commitment contracts: another good way of helping us reach our goals".  In today's post I'd like to look a bit more at the practicalities of setting up and using commitment contracts.  I'll illustrate this by talking about my own personal exploration of this area, but I'd also like to highlight that I think these ideas and the associated web resources are potentially very useful tools for psychotherapists, counsellors, life coaches and their clients.  

Health crisis for Britain's middle-aged

Ouch, a very interesting international health survey, that has just been released, reports:

"Middle-aged Britons are experiencing a mid-life health crisis, according to new research from Bupa, which shows that those aged 45-54 are more likely to be obese, more likely to smoke and more likely to suffer from depression than their peers around the world.

The international Bupa Health Pulse study, which asked more than 13,000 people in 12 different countries questions about their health and lifestyles has shown that late-middle age is the toughest time health-wise for Britons. No other country in the survey - which included Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, Asia and Australasia showed such a consistent range of unhealthy results for this age group.

The study, which questioned more than 2,000 people in the UK, found:

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