You can make the choice to call off the search for the best in favour of a search for the good enough. Photograph: iStock

Putting impossible demands on ourselves to excel only causes stress and unhappiness

“The number of evening and weekend courses available from September is uncountable but choose courses or events on the basis of interaction between people.”

A strategy for connecting with other people is vital to tackling loneliness

 A woman checks her phone  on the opening day of the annual Appleby Horse Fair, in   north-west England. For today’s children and young teenagers, the smartphone is just something that has been around for as long as they have. Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty

Smart phones can darken childhood and childhood is a world you can never revisit

Researchers at Yale University found that when a husband cares for his wife, her distress levels can increase. Photograph: Getty

As family caring becomes more common, we must pay attention to the emotional side

We spend a lot of time figuring out who other people are. Then we spend a lot of time confirming that they are who we think they are

We really should be careful about judging people on the basis of what we see

I know today that walking in a ‘green’ area   can lift your mood. Photograph:  iStock

When I find myself in a low mood I accept that it’s there and it will pass

As we saw with the recession in Ireland, a bad economic jolt can lead to huge emotional distress and increased risk of cardiovascu(...)

Maura Higgins in Love Island

TV star is far removed from De Valera’s vision of suppressed women

Almost any woman you would meet by chance, she asserts, would make a better husband than almost any man ever born, according to English actor Ellen Terry. Photograph: iStock

The great English actor Ellen Terry's harshest thoughts were directed at husbands

When thinking about a problem, it’s helpful to ask what was the exception – in other words when did you not have the problem? Photograph: iStock

An approach called ‘solution-focused therapy’ can be very beneficial to people who get bogged down by their problems

Opportunity knocks:  the concept that opportunity breeds regret can be seen even in small things

What we seem to regret more than anything else are missed opportunities

Reduction in stress produces a mental and emotional space to identify choices that could improve working life. File photograph: Getty

Estimates suggest up to 50% of stress is attributable to external factors: work, for example

Productivity isn’t always good for the planet. Photograph: iStock

They harm the planet, clog up the roads, work crazy hours and make the rest of us feel guilty

Many who grew up in close-knit communities found it quite a relief to escape to the anonymity of a city bedsit

Gossip functions not only as entertainment but of condemning those who fail to conform

Tourists taking selfies while on holiday in Dublin. It seems that if the camera is less than five feet away you begin to get distortions in your image

Selfies distort one’s face. What we are looking at is not necessarily reality

It was as the boys had a need to do things, to express their personal power, but hadn’t a clue how to go about it or how to control it. Photograph: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Therapist David Jurasek’s message on power and love is hugely important both as a global issue and for the two boys on the bus

‘He never hit out physically or shouted – he was a growler. Yet, the angrier he got the scarier he got and that’s when people started moving away.’ Photograph: iStock

Feelings we think of as negative, such as fear, guilt or anger, can prompt us to deal with situations

In general, people who retire because they want to have little difficulty in adapting themselves to their new status

The difference between a good retirement and a challenging one can be advance planning

You can also cling to the idea that you must please your parents and never cause them any pain no matter what. Illustration: iStock

Ask yourself what is it that you are clinging to in your life and whether it’s worth the cost

According to Jigsaw, the national centre for youth mental health, “researchers estimate that at any given time, roughly 20 per cent of people feel sufficiently isolated for it to be a major source of unhappiness in their lives”.

Deepening relationships may be more beneficial than creating lots of new ones

Are women more likely to pick up on it “because we used to be teenage girls too”?

Burden falls to women to help strangers from unwanted male attention

The idea of positive thinking as a form of magic that can breed rabbits in the fields of Britain runs counter to reality. Photograph: iStock

Taking a positive approach can make us feel better, but negative thinking has its uses

There is some UK research  suggesting that spending time in nature is good for your mental health and can give you a welcome emotional boost. Photograph: iStock

Sense of community and getting outdoors can be powerful in fighting off depression

Avoiding social media during study periods will help you stay focused. Photograph: iStock

With summer exams fast approaching, here’s a guide to making the most of the time you have left

Protesters hold up a placard remembering Allison Marimón-Herrera and her mother Giselle who were found dead in a flat in Newry, during the International Women’s Day rally at Belfast city hall. Photograph: Michael McHugh/PA Wire

Recent events have highlighted need for action in dealing with attacks against women

Common outcomes to an affair include the end of the marriage or an attempt to rebuild the relationship. Photograph: iStock

The relationship you knew is over; it’s time to let a new one begin, if you can

Tony Walsh could only have got away with abusing children for so long because of a deferential attitude in society. File photograph: Collins Courts

Healthy scepticism required to counterbalance our desire to put people on pedestals

“Depressed fathers tend to play and engage less with their children and talk more negatively about and to them,” according to the UK’s National Childbirth Trust.

The peak time for this type of depression in men is three to six months after the birth

“If money represents freedom to you, then just having a fund that represents the possibility of freedom can feel reassuring even if you’re never going to use it.”

‘Running-away’ fund underlines psychological role of money in relationships

It’s often their imperfections and departures from the norm that make people  memorable.

The first imperfect person you need to learn to tolerate is yourself

Alone in a crowd: Isolation is a problem that can be addressed by people being more present for other people.

Having meaning is hugely important in an era in which our old props are pulled away

A trouble shared is shared through words and the naming of one’s feelings in words is calming.

There’s a reason why counselling works, but writing a journal can have the same benefits

Young people can feel lonely when they have moved away from home  to go to college or to work  or when their own friends have moved away.

Intriguing BBC study finds about 40 per cent of 16-24 year-olds can be affected

Here’s another trap: imagining that everybody but you is having a fantastic time throwing back the booze in warmth and conviviality. Photograph: iStock

Tips on how to conquer triggers that make you want to reach for a glass

Most of us don’t talk to ourselves out loud except under stress – more than one reader will hear a muttered “God give me patience” during the season of peace and goodwill as the speaker’s stress escapes from inside his or her head. Photograph: iStock

Christmas, with its demands and stresses, is a time when we do battle with our internal voices

Bickering could be a way for couples to maintain autonomy while fitting into the confines of their long-term relationship.

For successful bickering, keep it to what the other person does and stay away from attacking who they are

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

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