It’s reassuring to have someone talk to you without saying a single thing you haven’t said a hundred times before

Most everyday exchanges are simply about recognising the other person’s existence

The leather was about a foot long and could deliver a breathtakingly stinging blow when delivered by a strong adult to a child

There was an assumption that boys do bad things when left to their own devices

What if the entrapment process catches people who would not have tried to have sex with a child but who instead were engaging in fantasy?

Instead of sitting back and enjoying the show, we need to have a debate before somebody gets hanged

These guys stroll to the bedroom to get undressed before ‘presenting’ themselves

An aspect of this behaviour, though, that intrigues me is the absence of shame and embarrassment on the part of these guys

Should I stay or should I go?

‘We do not realise that poor quality relationships use our time and energy, denying us the chance of better’

Euphoric recall can make a dark, smelly pub feel like, oh, Trump Tower until you’re sitting there with a glass in your hand and realising you’re actually in a dark, smelly pub which you had promised not to set foot in until February. Photograph: iStock

Remember the two key points outlined below and you’ll find it easier to stay off the booze

Are you busily making resolutions to turn yourself into somebody you are not, namely Mr or Ms Perfect? Photograph: iStock

Don’t beat yourself up over failed New Year resolutions. Try a different approach

'When you notice that painful mood arriving, remember the most important thing: break the thread of rumination.'

Although moods are not completely in our control, there are ways to stave off negative thoughts

Fighting is inevitable in long-term relationships – the trick is to be able to get over the fight with the least damage to everyone concerned

When two long-term partners are fighting continuously, seemingly simplistic approaches take a lot of effort

‘Escape seems to be the only option for the person being targeted, but escape has to be very carefully planned if it is not to end in tragedy.’

The man who will not say where his wife’s ashes are scattered is keeping control beyond death

AI tales: At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a robot called Tega can tell stories to children of kindergarten age and learn from feedback. Photograph: MIT

Today’s children will interact with artificial intelligence in many ways over their lives

If parents can figure out an arrangement they are both happy with, then the child will be happy with it

Parents can turn Christmas Day into a battlefield or a pleasant experience for their child

Although declining, the rate for men has stubbornly remained at three to four times that for women. Photograph: Getty Images

‘We would do well to give boys and young men a more healthy image of themselves’

The laudable resolve to combat sexual harassment and bullying will need quite a lot of detailed work to translate into practice

Quite often, organisations are ineffective at dealing with these issues when they arise

Many people have experienced hope and recovery through the Grow organisation.

Helping people support each other to move from distress to a state of flourishing

The lads spilt beer all over the table, but managed to save the mobile phones

That’s Men: They were short on specific details, but the impression was that the ladies had found their Dublin charm irresistible

Queen Maxima of The Netherlands and Sweden’s Queen Silvia on a visit to the Dutch village Hogeweyk, designed for people with dementia. Photograph: Frank van Beek/AFP/Getty Images)

55,000 people in Ireland have dementia. That’s projected to rise to 77,000 in 10 years

Italy’s data protection commissioner recently stated that some of the millions of images circulating in the world of child pornography originate in parents’ social media posts

A concern that arises from time to time regarding the sharing of children’s images is that of the misuse of these images for sexua(...)

‘Is it time we talked about how we die?’ might, a reader suggests, be a more inclusive approach

Harrowing experiences and a plea for a respectful debate about euthanasia. Readers reply about euthanasia

Sometimes helping someone, or not, says more about you than about them. Photograph: Getty Images

Motives for helping or not helping can sometimes be far from noble

The prospect of sharing a last word and a kiss and dying holding hands may never  be a realistic one in Ireland

A seriously ill Dutch couple recently decided to die together. That couldn’t happen here

We tend to assume that burnout has something to do with working too hard but that’s not really it

No man or woman is an island and this is especially true in the case of burnout

Human beings don’t like uncertainty. Uncertainty is the farmer’s companion.

Debt, isolation and economic uncertainty all take their toll on farmers’ health

Imagine  you are a child being exploited by   pornography. You might expect the authorities would act with speed if  images were found on any computer. Four years is an eternity in the life of a child.

Drawn-out inquiries into sexual offences can leave childhoods in damaged limbo for years

No more heroes any more: In real news, a fake Donald Trump gets installed in the new National Wax Museum in  Dublin earlier this year. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Humans need to create heroes but hero worship is a selfish act

Isolation deserves far more notice in public debate than it gets. This is especially so as some researchers talk of an ‘epidemic of solitude’. Photograph: iStock

What’s really driving people to harm their own health?

Among boys bullying is the most negative influence on their body image. Photograph: iStock

Eating disorders affect men too: 13% of sufferers are male

“Most shame-attacking exercises are just silly, and that’s the point of them . . . when nothing terrible happens, the person experiences less anxiety in facing the world in future.” Illustration: Hong Li/Getty Images

‘Shame attacking’ exercises include naked shopping and public sex. You don’t need to go that far

Pressures on new students include finding themselves in a new setting without their old schoolfriends. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

The start of the academic year is a pressure point for many students

Tender plants: we should be willing to listen to people about their emotions around miscarriage, infertility and termination

Pregnancy loss is too often seen a subject to avoid. Not necessarily

There is indeed a man in the south of France who reads all the time. I saw him sitting on the Promenade  Des Anglais in Nice under a big umbrella to shield him from the sun

The reality of dropping out is less attractive than the dream

“If you are shy and awkward, being yourself doesn’t sound like the best idea. You’d rather be suave and sophisticated like, say, Sean Connery’s James Bond.” Photograph: Warner Bros

Padraig O’Morain: Being yourself is tricky when you don’t know which ‘self’ to be

Walk away the worry: When you go for a walk you can train yourself to keep bringing your awareness back to what you’re seeing and hearing and to the sensation of walking, instead of having your head stuck in a cloud of worry

Excessive worry takes the joy out of life – if you’re a big worrier, learn to stop

Readers got a newspaper which was as right as Stephen Heron could make it. What they held in their hands was a product of high standards cultivated by people such as Stephen who believed that the newspaper did indeed revolve around them

They get a bad rap, but we should acknowledge they can make the world a better place

Delayed response: “I decided to wait until we got off at Genoa, stroll up to Mr Git, and ask him what he meant by his remark”

Pádraig O’Morain wonders about prejudice and when we should speak up for ourselves

Nobody’s idea of a ‘nurturing parent’: President Donald Trump definitely fits the ‘strict father’ image. Photograph: AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Conservatives are drawn to the ‘strict father’ model. Nurturers prefer Macron

Sologamy: a fleeting piece of silliness or  something else?

‘Sologamy' is the latest thing in the US. Is it ultimate symbol of individualism? Or just sad?

Remember that the brain is lying when it says booze equals enjoyment and no booze means no fun

More than three years after going off the drink, summer holidays bring back the longing

Controlling behaviour of the kind that destroys relationships can also sometimes destroy lives.

Watch for the warning signs: criticising your friends, checking your phone

Suffering Arsenal fans got some relief  when  Danny Welbeck scored his side’s second goal against Manchester United in the recent Premier League clash. Photograph: Adam Davy/PA

When you feel downtrodden, a little righteous anger can be a good thing

There’s more to people than quick and easy judgments would suggest. That applies to those see angels, conservative Catholics, writers of haiku, ex-partners – and yourself.

Padraig O’Morain: A person who seems daft on one issue could be wise on everything else

When cashiers in the local supermarket are replaced by automation, that’s the future coming straight at you. 

Workers are being replaced by machines – and we need to start talking about it

The next homeless person you see might be that way because of an invisible brain injury and not for any of the other reasons we so quickly generate. Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Traffic accidents and falls can mean complexities of daily life are too much to handle

Tragic journey: the man on the Luas seemed to get a sense of belonging from being in jail.  Photograph: Marc O’Sullivan

A man on the Luas meets his needs. But his life journey will have an unhappy ending

Cygnet: in the Ugly Duckling story a baby bird thinks it is a weird-looking duck but turns out to be a beautiful swan

Not every ugly duckling can become a swan – happiness is learning to like who you are

Those in the top fifth  of the welbeing table rate   their neighbourhood – as a place in which people talk to each other and can get advice from each other – more highly than those with the lowest levels of wellbeing. Photograph: iStock

Engagement in social activities is a major contributor to wellbeing, according to a British study

Everyday technologies provide ways to create a sense of connection with your teenage son or daughter when you have to be away from home

It’s easy for parents to underestimate the value to their teen of being present as much as they can

I have always been intrigued by people who can apparently brush off levels of stress that would have most of us pulling the bed clothes over our heads until further notice. Photograph: iStock

If I could not find my own happiness in the middle of the stresses of life, did I deserve to be happy at all?

I wondered why I felt quite so put out by the computer being down

Men are left behind in a world where even mechanics must connect cars to the internet to fix them

Respect for the other partner and respect for the child’s needs has to underpin the differences between parents

Cut yourself some slack, mum and dad. Perfect parenting is inherently bad for children

The emotional distress experienced by young people is, to them, something new with which they need to learn how to deal.That’s why it was so awful that school counselling services were cut in the financial crisis. Photograph: iStock

We think of self-harm as involving cutting, but drug overdose is more common

Whether the green area is a city park or a country forest, we still get health effects from exercising. Photograph: iStock

Research shows that fitting in exercise isn’t as demanding as we like to make out

Narcissists’ Chief of Staff: President Donald Trump is  convinced that people admire him even when it’s pretty obvious to the rest of the world that people do not. Photograph:  Reuters/Carlo Allegri

Trump genuinely can’t understand what it is everybody is getting upset about

An unmarried father now has automatic guardianship rights so long as the parents lived together for a year and so long at least three months of that year occurred between the birth of the child and his or her 18th birthday. Photograph: iStock

Behind all the legal issues lie human stories and emotions so strong they can tear lives apart

After they marry, couples influence each other’s drinking. Photograph: Lambert/Getty Images

Many men drink less when they marry and many women drink more, according to a 10-year study

“As humans, we have a negativity bias – even though more positive than negative things usually happen to us.”

Why do people tittle-tattle – and what can you do if you are on the receiving end?

Many people need to cultivate a degree of self-compassion so as not to keep driving themselves on relentlessly

But can he keep it up for 30 minutes?... Pencils at the ready...

Hen party nude drawing with a ‘tasty Italian’ creates quite a picture in the mind

The thought of not drinking can be more difficult than the act of not drinking

‘If it’s no good without alcohol, then it’s no good’

A survey by Calm and the Huffington Post reveals that one in five men feels he cannot provide financial dependability

Men are much less likely than women to confide in others, including their partners

The Claus family  enjoy lunch: we all need a break from our ‘healthy’ diets. Photograph: Reuters

Some people find it stressful to treat themselves at Christmas

The prolonged period of social withdrawal often begins at school

In Japan, the number of young men who shut themselves away is estimated, variously, at 250,000 and one million

 Facebook chief executive once declared that young people are smarter.  Photograph: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

Prejudice means people who lose their jobs in middle age at an enormous disadvantage

“People need meaning in their lives and how to provide meaning in a world in which work is changing utterly is a fundamental question for our society in our time.” Photograph: Dave Meehan

It takes teamwork build an ‘antisocial’ bonfire. So, let’s learn from the youths who stacked pallets

Christmas isn’t only Christmas Day. If you can’t be with your children for any part of Christmas Day, try to arrange something for another day over the Christmas period. Photograph: iStock

Remember, it’s easier to do the talking now than on Christmas Eve

Hemeless man sleeping on Kildare Street, Dublin. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill

When I see people helping others, usually giving out food, I feel better. Then I feel worse again

Your adult child gets home two hours late without texting and you say, “I was worried about you.”

If you want to be happier, boost your partner’s happiness. It works, say the researchers

In relationships, you  can’t have the adoration without the fighting.

Two people in any relationship are going to rub each other up the wrong way

Talk, talk: to have someone else to share our reality with is a deep need in human relationships. Illustration: iStock

Sharing memories is a key to quality friendships between people

When we look at the fragile mental health of many men we can see that the tough guy is, increasingly, a fiction. Photograph: iStock

We have a clichéd idea of what a real man is but even John Wayne needed a break from being him

“I would bet the house that Roy Keane is an introvert but I think we can all agree that he is not afflicted by a lack of confidence.” Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Introverts can often pass themselves off well as extroverts, but what’s the point?

The need of the food industry to sell large quantities of sugar in various forms is  an important factor in the rise in obesity, but by blaming the obese person, we let the industry off the hook. Photograph: iStockphoto

Surely the sugar content on food labels should be easy to read?

My version of getting away used to be walking through the fields of our farm for ages

It’s okay to want to wander off and find a quiet corner if that’s what you need

In an age in which an image of breasts on television would pass unnoticed by many and would induce a yawn in many others, it is extraordinary that people can get themselves worked up about a woman breastfeeding discreetly in public.

Results of ‘Census of the Heart’ suggests an Irish reluctance to engage in self-love

The funeral is also an important aspect of support. Families who have been bereaved by suicide ‘emphasise the benefits of and comfort in having a public funeral so that adequate tribute is given to the deceased’. Photograph: iStockphoto

If you avoid speaking to someone in grief because it is uncomfortable, they may feel rejected and isolated

In Ireland we have women-only gyms or gyms with women-only sections for those who feel more comfortable exercising with other women.

Quota system in Irish politics has more to do with social engineering than women’s needs

The university lecturer who taught you on the way to your degree could be working in Spar to maintain an income during these summer months. Photograph: iStockphoto

Having a degree doesn’t mean you’ll be keeping your head above water

Those reluctant to undertake weeding and other tedious tasks should “just think of the compensations, such as a nice, healthy, schoolgirl complexion for one, and saving a fortune on fancy soap for another”

One lady with a fig leaf correctly attired will have more allure than all of Kew

‘I caught myself complaining out loud to an otherwise empty kitchen about those little stickers “they” put on bananas and which you have to peel off when recycling them.’ Photograph: iStockphoto

Padraig O’Morain is developing more irritations – ‘take the sticker off the damn banana’

It’s one of mother nature’s cruel tricks that the capacity to fall in love and sexual capacity erupt at a time when the ability to control one’s emotions is still underdeveloped. Photograph: iStockphoto

When people are in love, 12 areas of the brain get involved in producing romantic cocktail

It’s close to impossible to get to the end of most to-do lists, so stop trying

Being productive is a good substitute for existential angst

People who have been bullied at school tend to be more optimistic than their peers  when they face negative situations in the future.  Illustration: iStockphoto

After a trauma, the majority of people report they grow stronger

One of the problems about the whole talking thing is that people who like to talk are often paired with people who do not like to talk. Photograph: iStockphoto

I suspect women can be scared by these words too ... it’s just men are less likely to say them

Commuters look at their mobile phones as they wait in line for a bus after finishing work in Hong Kong. Photograph:  AFP Photo

In Augsburg there are traffic lights in the pavement for people who are absorbed in their phones

The belief that poverty is the fault of the poor is fairly well entrenched. Photograph: iStockphoto

People research registered disgust rather than fellow-feeling at the image of a destitute person

When children  have regular contact with their father at a young age, in other words before they are 11 years old, they  are less likely to get into trouble with the law. Photograph: iStockphoto

Children whose fathers take a warm interest in their progress do better in school

The health of family carers is good or very good though most have had the experience of being mentally or physically drained by caring, according to research. Photograph: iStockphoto

Why does Mayo have the highest proportion of carers providing unpaid care, asks Padraig O’Morain

Happiness is like a butterfly that lands on your hand and as soon you notice it, the butterfly flutters away. I think that’s a pretty good attitude to happiness.  Photograph: iStockphoto

Seeing happiness as a right causes anxiety and disappointment

Mental health is no longer about ‘them’ but about ‘us’. It has become a human rights issue. Photograph: Thinkstock

All over this country, people who are, in fact, physically healthy are taking their own lives

Quay Street, Galway: How is it possible to move from the Shangri-La represented by the lively streets in Galway, to taking your own life only a matter of minutes away? Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

It is all too easy to feel isolated even if you’re old enough to know that the feeling is illogical

Laura Dillon, born in London into a family which held the baronetcy of Lismullen in Co Meath had, by the end of 1949, completed a series of surgical procedures to make her a man.

Laura Dillon became Michael Dillon, the first woman to transition through a combination of surgery and hormone treatment

Try not to take the past too seriously. It might not have happened that way and it might not be the explanation for everything you feel today. Photograph: Thinkstock

That's Men: Memories might feel real but are often far from accurate

Whole swathes of middle class and professional people have been wiped out financially since 2008 but they won’t talk about it so we catch only glimpses of it. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Failure always leads on to something, but it isn’t always bright and wonderful, says Padraig O’Morain

The 1916 story shows us that men and women who can make astonishing things happen can also vary astonishingly in their own personal characteristics. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Several of the leaders like Pearse, McDonagh and Plunkett don’t fit ‘real man’ persona

Why should the alcohol industry be allowed to promote alcohol as though it is a risk-free gateway to good cheer, good fellowship, sporting achievement and general life fulfilment and nothing else?

That’s men: In 1960 the average consumption per head was 4.9 litres. Last year it was 11 litres

The teenager who has learned to do nothing  might be more adapted to the future of our society. Photograph: Getty

Mastering the art of doing nothing could prove to be a vital skill of the future

Dutch psychologist Ad Vingerhoets says that in the UK, studies show that most men are comfortable with showing their emotions and that the Victorian disapproval of tears no longer holds sway.

That’s men: Women cry in situations that make men swear

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