Remembrance is about values

By Andrew Appleton / November 11, 2020 /

Today is Remembrance Day. We remember the sacrifices made by others to secure our freedom, a future many of them would never experience. Why would someone risk their life, not knowing what the outcome would be, to benefit another? It’s about values. We all have values, deeply held beliefs about the world and our place…

Read More

How to test your stories

By Andrew Appleton / November 4, 2020 /

At the time of this writing, the US election of November 3rd is undecided, showing signs that an eventual result will be contested. Those of us watching (most of the world) will experience feelings about this, along with an attempted explanation for ourselves. Yet most of us will never be privy to the sort of…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

It’s about conditioning

By Andrew Appleton / October 31, 2020 /

In every situation, whatever you are being and doing, your feeling and stories are a product of your conditioning. You were born with a set of pre-conditionings, a combination of human instinct and genetics. From then on, every experience you’ve had has slowly moulded this into the conditioning that you are running now. Often, this…

Read More

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…

Read More

What is well-being?

By Andrew Appleton / October 29, 2020 /

We have covered that the Human Condition allows us to have experiences within consciousness, our only true possession. I have also said that everyone is going about the same project, albeit in various and frenetic ways, to improve their well-being. The trouble is, most of us don’t know what outcome we seek. Everyone has a…

Read More

Experience is your only possession

By Andrew Appleton / October 28, 2020 /

Your only true possession is your human experience. It is the only thing that cannot be taken from you. Everything outside of you exists merely because you experience it. This experience is uniquely your own. It will never be entirely accessible to another, nor theirs to you. Understanding this simplifies matters. For to optimize well-being,…

Read More

What is the Human Condition?

By Andrew Appleton / October 27, 2020 /

Let’s start at the beginning. To get what you want you must know what you have. Everyone, every single person, wants to improve their experience of life. We are all chasing well-being. Why? The Human Condition. The Human Condition is what makes us human, apart from the animals. It is the condition we have inherited…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

Be kind. Be curious. Be useful. And create.

By Andrew Appleton / August 28, 2019 /

My children are too young to have nuanced conversations about philosophies of life. Yet, I often think about the type of advice we should be giving them on how to live a meaningful life. While they may not recognize advice for what it is, at this point, I am mindful that we are already modeling…

Read More

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…

Read More

Take a Moment to Consider Your Moments that Matter

By Andrew Appleton / July 9, 2019 /

We spend most of our days busily going about things that need to get done. Each day is fairly similar to the one before. If we aren’t focused on the task at hand, we are usually thinking about a recent occurrence or something we have yet to do. It is rare to block out these…

Read More

Have you ever considered your relationship with Time?

By Andrew Appleton / May 22, 2019 /

There are several theories on how people go about changing health behaviours. My favourite is Social Cognitive Theory. It discusses self-efficacy, outcome expectations, goals and sociostructural factors that either work for or against us on our quest to behave in a healthy manner. This is a useful theory to apply when designing public health campaigns,…

Read More

Redefining Health and Well-Being – How the WHO has it wrong

By Andrew Appleton / May 13, 2019 /

What is health? Nutritious food and exercise quickly come to mind.  Being healthy makes us think of doing something. We have a healthy diet, lead a healthy lifestyle, have healthy relationships. “Healthy”, the adjective, is easily understood as a good way of doing something. It’s more difficult to define “health”, the noun. Presumably doing healthy…

Read More

How to set SMART goals

By Andrew Appleton / May 4, 2019 /

Goals are necessary to help us achieve our desired ends. People need to see progress to derive meaning and success. In matters of health & well-being goals are effective and motivating tools. We consistently compare ourselves to benchmarks, internally and externally. If we don’t deliberately set appropriate goals for ourselves, we are destined to feel…

Read More

How to Practically Assess Health Information

By Andrew Appleton / May 3, 2019 /

You may have heard the term ‘evidence-based medicine’. This refers to practicing medicine with a solid grounding in scientific research. In medical school, we were taught how to critically appraise the evidence. Like any skill, this needs to be practiced. Hence, groups of doctors often assemble at a nice restaurant to discuss scientific journal articles.…

Read More

Your problem is you don’t know what your problem is.

By Andrew Appleton / March 28, 2019 /

Life is full of problems. In fact, we spend most of our time solving problems; everything from deciding what to eat to figuring how much to save each month for an early retirement. In our pursuit to solve, two common glitches occur: We apply solutions in search of problems; OR We solve the wrong problems.…

Read More

Guiding Principles

By Andrew Appleton / March 20, 2019 /

When thinking about matters of health and well-being it’s helpful to have a set of guiding principles. Ultimately, we are always trying to inform our actions by deciding what is good or bad for us. The impossibility of this effort stems from the constant barrage of information and opinion about how we ought to conduct…

Read More