Counting Kindnesses

There’s a lot to be said about noticing what you do. Many of us go about our days largely unconscious, in that while we do the things we do, we’re not so present as we do them. Meditation helps us bring awareness to what we do and also to how we think. Meditation, for example, […]

As you give, so you receive

I have written a lot about side effects of kindness, that when you give you also receive. Sometimes receiving can be in the form of acts of kindness done for you, or of seemingly random blessings showing up in your life, but they also come in the form of physiological effects. I had an experience […]

Empathy Matters

Empathy is the ability to understand and relate to other people and animals. Empathy is being able to see the world or a situation from someone else’s perspective and also appreciate how they might feel. Empathy can even be in walking in someone else’s shoes, so to speak. It is the precursor to compassion and […]

Nature’s Catch 22

I’ve written a lot about the “side effects” of kindness. There’s five of them: Kindness makes you happier, it’s good for the heart, it slows ageing, it improves relationships, and it’s contagious. There’s talk sometimes where people say there is no truly altruistic act, that if you benefit from kindness then you’re being somewhat selfish […]

Can you visualise drugs working?

I recently chatted with a girl who has had rheumatoid arthritis since she was a child. Now in her late 20s, she’s taken painkillers for years. When she was first diagnosed, a nurse instructed her to imagine her painkillers travelling to her joints and then dissolving into little particles and spreading out over the joints, […]

The vagus nerve and cancer

I recently read a scientific paper, published this year in the Journal of Oncology (see paper), with great interest. It linked the activity of the vagus nerve with cancer prognosis. Why is this important? I’ve written quite a bit about the vagus nerve in some of my blogs and books (The Five Side Effects of […]