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

He had been on a summer holiday but had lost much of his hoped-for relaxation to thoughts about past disappointments and future anxieties. Drinking ch(...)

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

We have a tendency to misunderstand stress, even though it is one of the defining characteristics of our age. Research by Prof Mark Williams at Oxford(...)

The person doing the stonewalling – the silent one – is probably  ‘flooded’ emotionally. Photograph: iStock

If you live in a city it’s not rare to see couples fighting on the street, unless you happen to dwell in the sort of area where rows go on behind dis(...)

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

A recent Irishman’s diary by Derek Scally about a novel called The Valley Of the Squinting Windows reminded me that living in a surveillance culture i(...)

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

While I was wandering through the Central Library in Vancouver a few months ago, my attention was captured by an information board which said the dema(...)

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

The two boys, aged maybe 10 or 11, pushed through the rest of us to get on to the bus. When they tried to rush past the driver, he told them to get ti(...)

‘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

He had the capacity to get angry about anything at all and to bring it to such depths that people generally made themselves scarce. Having too much t(...)

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

Sometimes, when my brain has nothing better to do, I wonder who or what I would be if I retired. Would I be among the happy ones who go around annoyin(...)

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

A conversation with a passenger on a flight to Rome underlined for me the degree of unhappiness we bring into our lives by clinging to ideas that no l(...)

We tend to move in with people who are like us – in education, physical attributes, social class and in other ways. Photograph: iStock

I recently heard a young person (ie, somebody under the age of 30), express bafflement at the idea that anybody would consider getting married without(...)

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