Category Archives: Further Reading

Further Reading: Comics About Mental Health

Graphic novels, strips and comics about mental health are an accessible and unique way of understanding the conditions they present. We’ve found some of the best to read online.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Tyler Page‘s “medicated memoir” is a personal account of a lifetime of medication for what many still perceive as a childhood disorder. An extensive look into ADHD and also the medication industry, a Kickstarter for a physical release has recently been successfully funded.

Raised on Ritalin

Anorexia / Body Dysmorphia

Australian artist Khale McHurst‘s 206-part therapeutic exercise and chronicle of her realisation that, despite telling herself otherwise, she did indeed have an eating disorder is a journey which encompasses denial, depression, and acceptance in vivid, honest detail. Each strip is annotated with notes made after publication which gives further detail and insight of her continuing recovery.

I Do Not Have an Eating Disorder

Depression

“But trying to use willpower to overcome the apathetic sort of sadness that accompanies depression is like a person with no arms trying to punch themselves until their hands grow back”

US-based Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Half blog entries about her sudden depression is rightly lauded for being a highly accomplished portrait of the condition in all its illogical and miserable non-glory.

Adventures in Depression

Depression Part Two

Schizophrenia

British Artist Darryl Cunningham took his experiences of his time working in a mental health institute and has compiled them into his 2011 graphic novel Psychiatric Tales: Eleven Graphic Stories About Mental Illness. You can read a selection of the chapters on his website, including this excellent chapter on the often-misunderstood Schizophrenia.

Psychiatric Tales: Schizophrenia

Anxiety

Gemma Correll’s blog is a continuing story of silliness, pugs and social anxiety. Her recent work involves taking suggestions from readers for illustrations for Mental Health America and their #MentalIllnessFeelsLike campaign.

Gemma Correll

Honourable Mention: Better, Drawn

The blog Better, Drawn hasn’t been updated in a while, but it’s still a valuable resource. Hosting short comic panels about a variety of mental health conditions, these bite-size presentations make a big impression.

Better, Drawn

Further Reading: How to Help A Depressed Friend

A friend in need can be a difficult thing to see, and knowing how to help a depressed friend can be of great benefit during more difficult times.  As part of the Mental Health Awareness Week’s theme of relationships, we’ve found some expert advice and personal stories to give inspiration and guidance.

Knowing the symptoms

Recognising the symptoms of depression can help pave the way towards a friend broaching the subject with you. Even if you’ve experienced depression yourself, the symptoms can vary from person to person. There is also a distinct contrast between self-care and helping others.

Link [via Help Guide]

Talking about it

There is a huge difference between approaching your friend to talk to them about concerns you may have about their mental health and your friend approaching you. Whilst the following guide is aimed at university students, the advice it gives regarding initial conversations and what to do afterwards is fantastic and comprehensive.

Link [via Student Minds]

Getting informed

Symptoms and diagnoses are easy to research, but personal experience can sometimes be overlooked. Talking about depression can be a difficult conversation to start for those who need help or support. Mental health organisations Mind and Rethink Mental Illness have put together a “Start your mental health conversation” guide, complimented by personal stories and videos.

Link [via Time to Change]

Knowing your role

Supporting someone going through depression can take its toll, and it’s important to understand the symptoms of burnout so you can support your friend in the best way possible. Sometimes all that means is doing the everyday “friend stuff”, without the pressure to have an in-depth conversation about your friend’s current state of mental health.

“€œThe best thing my friend did for me was that they just accepted me as I was.”

Link [via Mental Health]

If you require additional support or advice, a directory of mental health agencies can be found here.

Mental Health Awareness Week runs from 16-22 May 2016.

Further Reading: Aphantasia, or “Mind Blindness”

Social media was abuzz after the publication of an article on Facebook on the subject of “mind blindness”. Software developer and entrepreneur Blake Ross wrote about his condition, which he only just discovered had an official name and diagnosis: “I have never visualized anything in my entire life. I can’t “see” my father’s face or a bouncing blue ball, my childhood bedroom or the run I went on ten minutes ago. I thought “counting sheep” was a metaphor. I’m 30 years old and I never knew a human could do any of this. And it is blowing my goddamned mind.”

Aphantasia is the inability to “see” in the mind. The condition was named in 2015 after research published in the science journal Cortex. Researchers named mind blindness by combining the prefix “a,” meaning “absence of,” and “phantasia,” a term used by Aristotle for describing the capacity of the human mind to present unseen visual imagery. Aphantasia therefore literally translates to “absence of fantasy”.

Ross doesn’t suffer from lack of imagination. In addition to being a software developer, he is also a writer. Comparing his own experiences with that of friends, he has discovered that his memory, imagination and thought processes are vastly different: “Overall, I find writing fiction torturous. All writers say this, obviously, but I’ve come to realize that they usually mean the “writing” part: They can’t stop daydreaming long enough to put it on the page. I love the writing and hate the imagining, which is why I churn out 50 dry essays for every nugget of fiction.”

The whole essay is a fascinating insight into a condition which still hasn’t been researched in major depth.

Aphantasia: How It Feels To Be Blind In Your Mind [via Facebook]

For further reading, this article regarding the discovery and classification of mind blindness is excellent:

Picture This? Some Just Can’t [via The New York Times]

Further Reading: Boost Your Productivity

Boost your productivity with these useful links and inspiring stories.

Know your work

Knowing the difference between “deep” and “shallow” work can help with structuring your day around what needs to be done. Not replying to emails immediately, or going out to lunch may be seen as lazy by some, but as this article argues: “If you’re driven to produce things that matter, then you need to put deep work at the center of your professional life.”

Link [via 99u]

Revise your to-do list(s)

It’s easy to fall into bad habit with to-do lists: vague goals, mixing of short and long-term goals, and making the distinction between tasks and projects are amongst some of the factors explored in depth in this handy article.

Link [via Smart Productive Work]

Change your routine

Google employee Jake Knapp took a long, hard look at his daily routine and made changes to get the most out of his work time, restore his work-life balance, and enjoy both in the process. The result was a “sprint” system which encourages approaching tasks in 5-day chunks.

Link [via Fast Company]

Take a break

Napping is a great way to take a break and boost your productivity. If you find yourself tired, but need to finish a task, a quick nap can give your body and brain a quick refresh. To learn more about the power of napping and most importantly, how to nap, check out our guide below.

Further Reading: The Power of Napping

 

Further Reading: The Power of Napping

As important as a good night’s sleep is, the power of napping is undeniable when done right. Due to a pervasive 24-hour culture, napping has an unwarranted social stigma and association with laziness, which can lead to guilt and burnout. However, done the right way, a nap can be an essential boost to your day, helping you both mentally and physically. We’ve compiled some of the best tips and interesting facts about napping to help guide you to the land of quick nods.

The power of napping and sleep cycles

Napping has huge benefits to both brain and body, including (but not limited to): memory, mood, learning ability, alertness, productivity, blood pressure and even weight management. However, the timing of naps has to be considered in order to get the best results by working with humans’ natural sleep cycles and therefore avoiding oversleeping and drowsiness.

Link [via io9]

The benefits of a quick nap are generally determined by the length of the nap. Shorter naps are best for staving off tiredness, whilst longer naps can give a longer boost to your day. Knowing sleep cycles is an important way of determining the length of time for a nap.

Link [via The Art of Manliness]

Knowing how and when to nap

Not everybody needs to nap, and if you are needing the type of sleep which naps cannot fulfil, then you may need to examine your sleep patterns and habits in more depth rather than papering over the cracks by napping.

Link [via Time]

Once you’ve familiarised yourself with sleep cycles and whether you need to nap or not, it’s time to settle down and get ready to get the most out of your nap. Whether it’s a one-off or habitual nap, preparing the right environment for a nap is crucial to experience its benefits.

Link [via Lifehacker]

Napping in history and around the world

The most famous type of nap is most likely the siesta. This habit has a long and fascinating history, which stretches far beyond Spain and far into our ancient history.

Link [via Slumberwise]

Further Reading: Do New Year’s Resolutions Work?

Do New Year’s resolutions work? We’ve talked previously about forming new habits and quitting bad ones. The New Year is generally a time when there’s plenty of conversation about resolutions being made, kept, or broken. We’ve found some of the best analysis for further reading and inspiration whether you want to make a big change at New Year’s or any day.

Failure – psychology, statistics and reality

If you’re wanting to make your New Year’s resolution work, then it’s worth thinking about whether you’re setting yourself up for failure. Though a New Year’s resolution may seem no different from one made any other time of the year, there is a distinct symbolism that can add to unrealistic expectations and backsliding on resolutions. Understanding these factors in your own mentality is an excellent first step in making a change that lasts.

Link [via Psychology Today]

If raw statistics are your thing, then The guardian has just published results of a poll for private health care provider BUPA on British New Year’s resolutions. The results cover types of resolutions made, and the duration that people kept them.

Link [via The Guardian]

Whilst psychology gives a good overview of how New Year’s resolution work (or don’t), going into detail with finance, time and social factors are equally important. Breaking down and exploring these factors are a great way of owning your resolution.

Link [via Shape]

Changing through smart resolutions

Once you have an understanding of the “failure factors” of New Year’s resolutions, you can start thinking about how to make a realistic resolution and the steps needed to stick to it. Knowing yourself and why you want to make a certain change is an important first step.

Link [via The Guardian]

Honesty can make a New Year’s resolution work. Taking a good look at your friendship circle, triggers and current levels of willpower with the things you want to change can help you set realistic goals.

Link [via Time]

Whether you’re making change for the New Year or any day, we hope these links are useful in helping you make the right change.

Further Reading: Quitting Bad Habits

Quitting a bad habit can be just as valuable as gaining a good one. We’ve collected information on the latter in our Further Reading: Forming New Habits, so it’s time to look at the former.

Idea collective

There are many different methods to quitting bad habits, and Lifehacker’s top 10 in an excellent place to start for inspiration. Each of the ideas are backed up by an additional article for more reading, and the user comments are very helpful, too.

Link [via Lifehacker]

Habit replacement

Quitting bad habits is an excellent opportunity to replace them with a good one. Habit blogger James Clear has written this excellent article on just that. Full of good observation on factors such as triggers and stress, his blog in general is an excellent resource on habits and their formation.

Link [via James Clear]

Mindfulness and quitting bad habits

In 2015, Psychiatrist Judson Brewer presented this TedMed talk about using mindfulness to help with quitting bad habits. He explains the way the brain works in establishing a bad habit, and then how the very same process can used in conjunction with mindfulness to retrain the brain.

Further Reading: How to Boost Learning Ability

Whether you’ve been inspired by our Top Websites for Online Learning, or are just wanting to boost learning ability in general, here are some articles we’ve found that explore how to improve cognitive performance

Know your learning style

Knowing what type of learner you are is a good first step and can be a real eye-opener, and help you work to your strengths. Most people learn via a mix of auditory, visual and tactile means, and this short quiz can help show which type of learning you lean towards.

Link [via Learning Without Boundaries]

Absorbing information and best practice

Do you find yourself reading information but not absorbing it? One person asked users of the crowdsourcing Personal Productivity platform of the Stack Exchange website for their tips and insight, and it’s useful reading. There are no easy answers, but plenty of good advice.

Link [via Personal Productivity Stack Exchange]

Another site with an excellent breakdown of study solutions, Academic Tips gives advice on how to tackle boredom, improving your note-taking and memory, and even how to set up study areas.

Link [via Academic Tips]

Learning about learning

A recent study into the relationship between aerobic physical activity and cognitive performance has shown that one way to improve memory is to have an active lifestyle.

Link [via Harvard Medical School]

Learning new motor skills can be easier if you play fast-paced video games. A study by the University of Toronto found that playing action games led to people picking up skills such as typing or riding a bike quicker than non-gamers.

Link [via The Telegraph]

 

Further Reading: The Benefits of Knitting

The benefits of knitting are many and varied. Not only is learning a new skill good for the brain, learning to knit produces practical results. We’ve found some further reading on the benefits of knitting.

Knitting effects on physical and mental health

Following on from World Mental Health Day 2015, the LoveKnitting blog asked its members and followers for examples of the benefits of knitting in regards to mental health. Personal stories range from using knitting to tackle anxiety and depression, to the calming, repetitive action easing the stress and pain of chemotherapy.

Link [via LoveKnitting blog]

More personal experience stories on the mental and physical benefits of knitting are curated in the Craft Yarn Council blog. It’s an excellent resource of personal testimony from people with a range of physical and mental difficulties.

Link [Craft Yarn Council]

If you’re looking for a summary of the psychological science of why knitting is so beneficial to physical and mental health, Psychology Today has a helpful article.

Link [via Psychology Today]

Knitting for art and community

There’s been a recent explosion of what’s known as “yarnbombing” or “guerilla knitting”, where knitted art is installed in public spaces, with or without permission of the local authorities. You can see some of the projects by “Your friendly neighbourhood graffiti knitting art collective” Knit the City.

Link [via Knit the City]

On the subject of yarnbombing, this sweet story of 104-year old Grace Brett becoming the “world’s oldest street artist” as part of a wider arts festival in her home town of Selkirk in the Scottish Borders shows the perennial power of knitting.

Link [via Bored Panda]

On a similar note, this story of Australia’s oldest man knitting sweaters for injured penguins is simply lovely, and full of very cute pictures of the penguins.

Link [Huffington Post]

Learning how to knit

If you don’t know how to knit, or want to point people towards a good video tutorial, then this lessons covering the basics is very good.

World Mental Health Day 2015

World Mental Health Day is on the 10th of October each year since 1992.

Originally created by the World Health Organisation (WHO), previous years have highlighted certain themes such as “Mental health and older adults” and “Living with schizophrenia“.

This year’s theme is “Dignity in mental health“, which aims to raise issues of respect and inclusion, whilst also demanding better standards of training and policy.

You can read the full WHO report into this year’s World Mental Health Day theme here. It’s a long read, but highlights the many factors of personal and societal care needed to provide good mental health services, as well as highlighting interesting statistics and providing stories of personal experience.