My favourite card in the Tarot pack is the one that depicts the fool.

Being a fool more often would have taken me to places and experiences that I cannot actually imagine

The wisdom of the centuries can be heard on a bus. Photograph: iStock

Listening to two young men having an argument was a reminder of the impermanence of life

On average, carers provide 39 hours of unpaid care per week – the equivalent of a full-time career. Photograph: iStock

Carers often experience burnout, stress and exhaustion. They need all the help they can get

‘Not all separated parents get to see their kids on Christmas Day.’ Photograph: iStock

Separated parents need to act early to work out Christmas arrangements

“You forget where in the car park you left the car and you feel a stab of fear.” Photograph: iStock

Normal forgetfulness can often convince us we have early-stage Alzheimer’s

Thirty years ago when we organised any event at which journalists might appear, the rule was to have a table groaning with free drink. But things have changed.

Falling consumption of alcohol among young Europeans part of a long trend

“The ‘News of the World’ published racy news stories, often about prominent personalities having affairs or running off with other people’s spouses.” Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

A recent column in this newspaper shows just how far we’ve come from days of sexual repression

‘Clown by Candlelight’ by Mary Swanzy is on show at the ‘Circus250: Art of the Show’ exhibition at the National Gallery of Ireland.

Our most private moments are increasingly lived under the very public scrutiny of social media

Whether you go to wrestling shows, meditate, dress up in drag, study for a PhD, pound the pavements in your running shoes, turn cartwheels, write poetry or pretend to be Batman, you are connecting with the power of motivation. Photograph: iStock

Whether it’s getting good grades, flying model airplanes or just having a cup of tea in peace, keep that motivation bubbling along

Your faults and virtues are shared by millions, maybe billions, of other people at this moment. Photograph: iStock

Learning to still be a friend to yourself despite your imperfections is a vital skill

A common mistake following relationship breakdown is to assume  something is inherently wrong with you as a person.

When hurt, it’s advisable to turn to your friends and family for emotional support

For many workers, sources of stress were not urgent crises that came out of nowhere, but projects that could have been done quite calmly if they had been started on time.

Give yourself less time to do things and you’ll do them faster

A workplace with ‘slagging’ going on can be a torment to a person with social anxiety

You spend a lot of time at work and if you can deepen its meaning for you, then you deepen the meaning of your life. Photograph: iStock

The Irish Times’ Harry and a group of hospital cleaners are fine examples of people who considered their work much more than just (...)

Men are more likely to do their grieving silently. Photograph: iStock

How many men and women you know are silently grieving over miscarriage?

Going over a pleasant memory or even over a good experience you expect to have in the future can boost your sense of well-being and positivity. Photograph: iStock

Ruminating over your faults, regrets and resentments is bad for you. Here’s how to change your thinking

The man who goes around fathering children without a care for the future is, perhaps, a guarantor of the health of the human species as he varies our genetic material. Photograph: iStock

Prolific fathers, the undesirables, the unemployed – sometimes we just need to shift our perspective to see things in a whole new (...)

A parent who refused to contemplate failure on the part of a child  may condemn that child to a lifetime of not feeling good enough.

If you can’t contemplate failure you’d have to stay out of relationships

If you find it hard to forgive you probably spend a lot of time ruminating about what happened. Photograph: iStock

Forgiveness goes against our natural instinct and requires a deliberate choice

UL research found that strength training brought about improvements in symptoms of depression, boosting mood, increasing interest in activities and reducing feelings of worthlessness. Photograph: iStock

The benefits of exercise for our physical, mental and emotional health are enormous

Padraig O’Morain: Text without images and a child who doesn’t exist

Wine is now seen as almost indispensable to relaxation. Photograph: iStock

Padraig O’Morain: The idea of linking drinking and motherhood would seem weird if it wasn’t so normal

Taking a break, which could include a night’s sleep, allows each participant to calm down, to get their rational brains back in action.

Taking a break can prove beneficial – you can return to the issue when calmer heads prevail

“There were 37 deaths by suspected suicide in Dublin South Central in 2017 and 50 per cent of those were women.” Photograph: iStock

‘Failures to address the shortage of houses actually kill people’

A few simple precautions could ensure you avoid having your holiday disrupted by theft.

Being pickpocketed and losing your cash or cards abroad is an experience to be avoided

St Peter’s mother and baby home, Castlepollard, Co Longford. A stairs in the home led to a window to which young mothers used to run in order to watch their babies being taken away. Photograph: Paddy Whelan

Misleading information made it almost impossible for people to find each other following an adoption

Tthree types of man on the train journey from Waterford to Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

The man who can’t potter; the academic with no house; and the family man with his beer

One important aspect of surviving another person’s suicide is to accept that, in most cases, you will never fully know why

At this time of the year an even greater number of families and friends are lost in the shock of grief

Men, it suggests, evolved to be aggressive, to advance in the face of difficulties and to doggedly pursue difficult goals in keeping with their role as fathers.

Padraig O’Morain: A 1965 Redemptorist pamphlet provides some guidance

Our children have expectations for care, emotional support and love that it’s good to meet.

Too many lives have been sacrificed on the altar of ‘the family’s’ expectations

'What would worry me about drinking would be the elevated risk of stroke rather than the higher mortality risk.'

Study suggests that more than 12.5 units of alcohol per week is bad for us, reduces life expectancy and increases the risk of stro(...)

That’s Men: Fellow travellers give insight into lives of pain, survival and chaos

The trouble with arguments that support the other side is the danger that they might change your mind

To make an informed decision we need to listen to the other side of the debate – even though they are wrong and listening to them (...)

The sooner you recognise workplace stress and work out what you can do about it – seek changes in how things are done, work fewer days, change job for instance – the better

If you are caught in the spiral of workplace stress, it can be difficult to get your head above the water long enough to see reali(...)

We are naturally drawn to groups and to the members of our own group as insiders seeing the rest as outsiders. Photograph: iStock

It’s important that young people at the receiving end of bullying and abuse realise the world is full of groups that will not reje(...)

In a world that sometimes feels like it’s held together with string that could unravel at any time, we do indeed have to find happiness in the middle of imperfection. Photograph: iStock

The words uttered many years ago by a lazy colleague are true: if we want to find moments of happiness we have to find them in the(...)

Research shows an adult child moving back in is as bad as developing a disability in terms of the reduction in quality of life for parents.

The adult child who moves home isn’t the only one losing their freedom – their parents lose it too

People who  adopt an attitude of kindness towards themselves  tend to be better at taking on challenges than those who don’t

Attitude can make the big difference to how you feel and to how you approach upcoming challenges such as exams

So began my 10-year relationship with confession which ended when I lost the faith

One by one, the reputations of trusted institutions have disintegrated – the Catholic Church, the banking system and now the chari(...)

Did you ever give your ex your Google password?  Does your smartphone have location services turned on?

Shortly after texting arrived, I noticed that the clean break was becoming a thing of the past

The general increase in the number of years before childbirth may not mean people are having more fun

Big changes are the lengths of adolescence and of dependency during education

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’

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