Extreme Fear

Imagine you’re scaling a rock face, let’s call this particular rock face El Capitan and situate it in Yosemite National Park, California. It’s approximately 3000 feet in height and it’s a difficult climb, actually, it’s vertical. Many climbers have succeeded in climbing El Capitan, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t get scared, especially whenContinue reading Extreme Fear

Why stress is contagious

(A version of this article appeared at The Huffington Post in 2016) We often view emotions as contained within the individual, sitting privately in our own minds or in the minds of others. However, emotions felt by one group or individual have a powerful influence on the emotional states of others (psychologists call this ‘affectContinue reading Why stress is contagious

Why Goals Matter

I’ve discussed goals in the past, from the relationship between goals and emotions to the use of incremental goals (or personal bests). What I haven’t really discussed are the nut and bolts of goals, such as how we choose them and go about tackling them. Hopefully, I’ll be able to clarify some of these pointsContinue reading Why Goals Matter

Positive Psychology: Past, Present and Future

Positive Psychology essentially deals with human happiness. It’s  a movement that grew out of Martin Seligman’s 1998 presidential address to the American Psychological Association. Seligman, a world-renowned psychologist who was instrumental in the discovery of learned helplessness, suggested that psychology needed to shift its emphasis from the negative aspects of the human condition to areasContinue reading Positive Psychology: Past, Present and Future

A Model of Student Anxiety

(a work in progress) Why do some students seem to suffer more with anxiety than others? Limited amounts of stress are good for us (especially if we need to escape from a dangerous situation). This acute stress is often fleeting, involving a complex biological and behavioural mechanism that can increase motivation and cognitive function. ButContinue reading A Model of Student Anxiety

Some Anxious Thoughts

I’ve been thinking about anxiety lately. At a time when many students in England will be sitting or about to sit their mock exams (my own son included), it seemed like a good time to raise the issue again. None of us are strangers to anxiety and, indeed, some anxiety is actually beneficial to us.Continue reading Some Anxious Thoughts