Molecules of Kindness

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” Aesop A molecule is a useful collection of atoms. I used to be an organic chemist so I made molecules every day. Even if you don’t know exactly what a molecule is, I’ll bet you’re familiar with many popular ones. Serotonin is a molecule […]

How to slow ageing

My friend Skip told me recently that he met a 98-year-old man in Bali who challenged him to a race to climb a tree. Skip is a very physically healthy and fit person – an ex-British champion gymnast – yet the 98-year-old nearly matched him. I spent 6 months of last year nearly full-time renovating […]

The power of a hug

A hug is wonderful when you feel sad, stressed, tired and even when you feel good. I love what the Free Hugs people do when they stand in a city centre holding a ‘Free Hugs’ sign. Their hugs produce human connection, vulnerability, smiles, laughter, positive emotion, and even sometimes tears, especially if it’s the first […]

6 fascinating facts about the love hormone… and what that means for you

I’ve written quite a lot about oxytocin, which also goes by the name of ‘love hormone’, ‘cuddle chemical’, ‘molecule of kindness’, or any other affectionate term that implies something about bonding and connecting. If you ever wondered about those names, it’s because we produce oxytocin when we’re feeling love or connection (with a human, animal, […]

The 5 Side-Effects of Compassion

As an ex-pharmaceutical scientist, I enjoy reframing the term ‘side-effects’. We typically think of side-effects in the negative, as in the side-effects of drugs. But many of our positive behaviors also have side-effects. Below are 5 side-effects of compassion. 1) Compassion Wires the Brain In some ways we can think of the brain like a […]

Wired for Kindness

I was having a conversation recently with someone in business who told me he heard that humans are naturally selfish. He asked my opinion on the subject. I disagreed and explained why I believe we are, in fact, genetically wired to be kind. Genetic wiring (our genome) is shaped over millions of years as humans […]

Why Children Need Love to Grow

It’s pretty obvious that babies need love, but did you know that their actual physical and biological growth requires love? Research shows that the early growth of at least one part of the brain (the orbitofrontal cortex – behind the orbits of the eyes) is almost wholly dependent upon the environment an infant is born […]