Feelings and the limits of language

By Andrew Appleton / November 3, 2020 /

How are you feeling? A simple enough question, sometimes hard to answer. If you pay close attention, you know how you feel, but describing it to someone else seems impossible. The limits of language do not allow it. Human beings love having words, or labels, for things. If we know what something is called, we…

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You must observe from the audience

By Andrew Appleton / November 1, 2020 /

We are always with ourselves, so it’s natural to view our lives from the first person perspective, as the main character. This is an egocentric position, leading us to see the world as happening to us, or for us. If we believe the narrative that we generate from this view, we become easily irritated when…

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Well-being depends on context

By Andrew Appleton / October 30, 2020 /

When asked to evaluate your well-being, your mind will naturally focus on only a few aspects of your life. It is an impossible task to assess the totality of your experiences to date, arriving at some value representing the whole. By focusing on one or a couple of things, your mind is trying to define…

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Be Unrushed.

By Andrew Appleton / May 12, 2020 /

Quite often the place we least want to be is where we currently are. This is, in part, because we are thinking about what we need to do in the future. If whatever is happening right now could just end, we could get on with things. This is a treadmill scenario, common in our default…

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Expect the Unexpected

By Andrew Appleton / May 1, 2020 /

We form expectations about all manner of things. Sometimes this is explicit, but often it’s not. Without being aware of our expectations, or testing their validity, we set ourselves up for disappointment.  The most recent example of this is the proposed timing for reopening schools and the broader economy. It’s all over the media, people…

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Breaking bread (not bad).

By Andrew Appleton / April 15, 2020 /

An interesting observation of human behaviour during the COVID-19 pandemic is to make note of which shelves in the grocery store are empty. We’ve all heard the meme about toilet tissue. Clearly a necessity, but an odd one to hoard. What I find more intriguing are the bare shelves of flour and yeast. It would…

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Remember what is important.

By Andrew Appleton / April 13, 2020 /

Most of us are craving the return to normal life right now. The same life that we used to complain about before it all changed. This reveals an interesting phenomenon of the human experience. We quickly adapt to any context in which we find ourselves. No doubt, this has served us exceptionally well over the…

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To wait is our fate.

By Andrew Appleton / April 8, 2020 /

No one likes to wait. As we grow up, we can’t wait to drive, graduate, leave home, join the “real world”. As adults we can’t wait to build a successful career, go on vacation, get a new car, retire and be free. Nevertheless, we wait, counting down the days, ignoring today. But today is what…

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How to win the day during COVID-19 (or any day).

By Andrew Appleton / April 6, 2020 /

To understand something, you must strip it down to its raw ingredients, making sure you then understand each of them. Only then can you put them back together and assert that you know why the product of their constitution is what it is. The same applies to optimizing well-being. We need to understand the problems we have,…

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This isn’t the end of the story.

By Andrew Appleton / April 3, 2020 /

Perhaps you’re feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, seeing no end in sight. You think this shouldn’t be happening, it doesn’t make sense. You want nothing more than for things to get back to normal. In a word, you’re suffering.  We are all suffering. Some more than others. That’s what happens when life changes quickly and we don’t…

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We Must Create Space

By Andrew Appleton / February 14, 2020 /

To give ourselves the best opportunity to optimise well-being, we must create space. There are three dimensions in which this space is to be created: time, physical, and mental. In a previous post I explored how time is simply a tool of measurement. We use it create order in our lives and our memories. We…

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Wellness Reductionism

By Andrew Appleton / October 9, 2019 /

Let’s begin with a subtle distinction between terms that are often conflated; well-being vs. wellness. I proposed a definition of well-being in a previous post. In short, it’s the sense of fulfilment, satisfaction, happiness, or alignment that we all seek. Wellness refers to the things we do to move toward well-being. This is important to…

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The Vacation Fallacy – Part 2

By Andrew Appleton / September 24, 2019 /

In wonderfully coincident timing, the Farnam Street Blog recently published a piece (click here) on how to think about your travel experiences. Their thesis aligns with mine (confirmation bias alert) in that vacation should be used as an opportunity to experience the diversity of the world and promote different perspectives. In keeping with their theme…

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The Vacation Fallacy

By Andrew Appleton / September 17, 2019 /

Disclaimer: I love vacations. I really do. Vacations aren’t achieving what you think they are. If your life was just the way you wanted it, you would only go on vacation for one reason; to experience the richness and diversity the world has to offer. This is not why most of us take vacations. We…

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Two hard truths to set you free

By Andrew Appleton / August 15, 2019 /

We think we are more important than we actually are. I mean this in the individual sense. Afterall, our own thoughts are the only ones we can think. Try as you might to, “put yourself in someone else’s shoes,” the experience will undoubtedly be coloured by your prior thinking and cognitive biases. Why does this…

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