Self-Help ‘Makes You Feel Worse’



Bridget Jones is not alone in turning to self-help mantras to boost her spirits, but a study warns they may have the opposite effect.

Canadian researchers found those with low self-esteem actually felt worse after repeating positive statements about themselves.

They said phrases such as “I am a lovable person” only helped people with high self-esteem.

The study appears in the journal Psychological Science.

A UK psychologist said people based their feelings about themselves on real evidence from their lives.

The suggestion people should “help themselves” to feel better was first mooted by Victorian Samuel Smiles 150 years ago.

His book, called simply “Self Help”, sold a quarter of a million copies and included guidance such as: “Heaven helps those who help themselves”.

Self-help is now a multi-billion pound global industry.

‘Contradictory thoughts’

The researchers, from the University of Waterloo and the University of New Brunswick, asked people with high and low self-esteem to say “I am a lovable person.”

They then measured the participants’ moods and their feelings about themselves.

In the low self-esteem group, those who repeated the mantra felt worse afterwards compared with others who did not.

However people with high self-esteem felt better after repeating the positive self-statement – but only slightly.

The psychologists then asked the study participants to list negative and positive thoughts about themselves.

They found that, paradoxically, those with low self-esteem were in a better mood when they were allowed to have negative thoughts than when they were asked to focus exclusively on affirmative thoughts.

Writing in the journal, the researchers suggest that, like overly positive praise, unreasonably positive self-statements, such as “I accept myself completely,” can provoke contradictory thoughts in individuals with low self-esteem.

Such negative thoughts can overwhelm the positive thoughts.

If people are instructed to focus exclusively on positive thoughts, negative thoughts might be especially discouraging.

Real life

The researchers, led by psychologist Joanne Wood, said: “Repeating positive self-statements may benefit certain people, such as individuals with high self-esteem, but backfire for the very people who need them the most.”

However, they say positive thinking can help when it is part of a broader programme of therapy.

Simon Delsthorpe, a psychologist with Bradford District Care Trust and spokesman for the British Psychological Society, said self-esteem was based on a range of real life factors, and that counselling to build confidence – rather than telling yourself things are better than they are – was the solution.

“These are things like, do you have close family relationships, a wide network of friends, employment and appearance.

“If you’re not close to your parents, don’t have many friends, are unemployed and are unhappy with your appearance, it might be hard to have high self-esteem.

“But if your experience is the reverse of that it would be much easier to say ‘I’m OK’ and believe that.”

Source: BBC

Leave a comment

Posted by on April 24, 2014 in WISDOM


Tags: , , ,

Incredible stories of how brain trauma can transform ordinary people into maths, music and art experts


Most of us have wished we might suddenly wake up richer, taller, thinner or better-looking at some point. But Jason Padgett really did wake up a changed man.

Previously a school drop-out who worked in his dad’s furniture shop and was the life and soul of the party, at the age of 31 he was left a maths and physics genius overnight after being hit on the head during a mugging.

Diagnosed with acquired savant syndrome, in which brain injuries turn previously normal people into experts in maths, art or music, Jason, 43, is one of few people in the world who can draw fractals by hand. The images are repeated geometric patters and can take him weeks – if not months to finish.

He’s in good company. While a head injury is undoubtedly a traumatic experience, for some it provided an unexpected epiphany, too.

Calendrical calculations

Hit on the side of the head with a baseball aged 10, Orlando Serrell was knocked out before coming round and finishing the game.

“I didn’t tell my parents,” he said, “therefore, I had no medical treatment for the accident.”

He suffered headaches for a year but when the pain finally lifted after a year Orlando, now 44, from Virginia, realised he could recall the day of the week of any given date. He has never made a mistake.

He can perform incredible calendrical calculations – from knowing how many days there are between two given dates or how many times March 12 has ever fallen on a Thursday.

For instance ask him about February 11, 1983 and he says: “Friday. It was raining that day. I had a pizza from Domino’s – pepperoni sausage.”

Painting and poetry

Former prison inmate Tommy McHugh was lucky to survive two subarachnoid brain haemorrhages in 2001 when he was 51.

He said: “I woke up in hospital and looked out of the window to see the tree was sprouting numbers. 3, 6, 9. Then I started talking in rhyme…”

Damage to his frontal and temporal lobes in his brain left Tommy, who died of cancer in 2012 aged 63, with an incredible urge to paint and speak in rhyme. He became so prolific the walls of his home in Birkenhead, Merseyside, were covered in paintings after canvas became too costly.

“I could taste the femininity inside of myself,” he said. “My head was full of rhymes and images and pictures.”

Harvard neurologist Dr Alice Flaherty, who studied Mr McHugh, said the brain haemorrhage was “a crack that let the light in”.

Classical musical genius

Tony Cicoria, an orthopaedic surgeon, was struck by lightning in a park in 1994.

A nearby nurse saved his life with CPR and Dr Cicoria’s health returned to normal.

But soon afterwards he felt an inexplicable compulsion to listen to classical piano music and then play it – even though he never had any desire to play a musical instrument before.

He bought some sheet music and taught himself the piano, before starting to compose his own complicated pieces.

Dr Cicoria, 62, of New York, said: “It took me a couple of weeks to get over what had happened. And then the music started. The first thing that came was just the desire to hear piano music. I started to listen and I didn’t question it all that much. It was shortly after that that I thought, ‘I want to be able to play this music’.”


As a toddler, Alonzo Clemons suffered a traumatic head injury after falling onto the bathroom floor.

Left with an IQ of just 40 and unable to read or write, he grew up in a home for people with learning difficulties.

But almost straight away, he showed an incredible ability to sculpt. He made intricate models of animals using whatever materials he had, even after seeing the animals for just a few moments.

“He started using just about anything he could to sculpt like soap,” said his mum Evelyn Clemmons, “He had a need to do that.

“At first I didn’t quite understand it, I wanted him to try other things. But he just kept on.”

Alonzo, 56, of Boulder, Colorado, was diagnosed with acquired savant syndrome and has produced works which have sold for as much as £26,000.


When Ben McMahon was left in a coma after a car crash, his parents feared he might never wake up.

But a week later the Australian student did wake – speaking Mandarin.

“Most of it’s hazy, but when I woke up seeing a Chinese nurse, I thought I was in China,” said Ben, 22, who had studied the basic language at school and failed it.

“It was like a dream. I just started speaking Chinese — they were the first words that left my mouth.”

Ben eventually recalled English but his talent never left and he now uses it to earn a living as a Chinese-speaking tour guide in Australia and on television Au My Gau – Oh My God – a Chinese-language television helping Chinese expats settle in Australia.

Musical prodigy

Lachlan Connors, from Denver, Colorado, was so tone-deaf he couldn’t even play nursery rhymes on the piano, much to his mother’s frustration.

The sports-mad teen was left with two serious concussions in separate accidents during lacrosse games, he suffered epileptic seizures and hallucinations and had to quit contact sports.

But the 17-year-old’s injury had a positive side effect – he acquired the skill to learn to play musical instruments effortlessly. Experts believe his epileptic seizures may have been the same as composer Frederic Chopin

From having “no talent” as a boy he now plays 13 instruments including the piano, guitar, mandolin, ukelele, and harmonica.

“I honestly think something got rewired and just changed,” he said. “Thank God it did. Music is the thing that gets me up in the morning.

Maths genius

Daniel Tammett became obsessed with numbers after he suffered an epileptic seizure at three.

Throughout school he won awards for his studies but he was not picked out as extraordinary. It wasn’t until he was 25 that he was diagnosed with high-functioning autistic savant syndrome that allows him to work out calculations to an incredible degree of accuracy.

He recited pi from memory to 22,514 decimal places in 5 hours 9 minutes. He also speaks 10 languages, including Icelandic which he learnt in a week after a challenge for a television programme.

Unusually for an autistic savant Daniel, 35, can articulate the process he goes through when working out complex calculations.

He said: “When I multiply numbers together, I see two shapes. The image starts to change and evolve, and a third shape emerges. That’s the answer. It’s mental imagery. It’s like maths without having to think.”

Musical ability

When Derek Amato dived into a friend’s pool in October 2006, he knew he had hurt himself as soon as his head hit the concrete floor.

He said: “I remember the panic set in that I knew I hurt myself. I knew it was something bad.”

Derek was diagnosed with a serious concussion, hearing loss and headaches. It seemed like yet another setback after he had been made homeless after a failed business deal in 2002.

But weeks later, he saw a piano at his friend’s house and was “drawn” to play it. He explained he instinctively knew how to play after seeing black and white squares moving from left to right that prompt his fingers to move.

Amato, who can play eight instruments and has released two albums, said: “When those black and white squares are going, that’s what my hands do. I’m convinced it’s all for a reason and it’s my job to do it right.”


By Melissa Thompson / Source: The Mirror UK

Leave a comment

Posted by on April 24, 2014 in WISDOM


Tags: , , , , ,

Election NOTES – SA institutions rot in post-apartheid world


Johannesburg – In the bowels of Africa’s largest hospital, doctors carry out emergency surgery by the light of a cellphone while, in a nearby ward, seriously ill patients are sardined three-to-a-bed.

Twenty years after South Africans jubilantly swept apartheid aside, Johannesburg’s Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, like many of the country’s post-apartheid institutions, has failed to live up to the dream.

Away from the country’s high-profile political scandals, a more pernicious institutional crisis is ravaging the “Rainbow Nation”.

Small municipalities and large ministries are being eaten away by corruption, mismanagement and the enormity of serving all of the country’s 51 million citizens, not just an elite few.

The problems are “systemic” and require a complete “overhaul” according to Phophi Ramathuba of the country’s doctors association, but they are not limited to the health sector.

Education failure

In Limpopo 5 000 children had no textbooks for more than six months because the government stuffed-up a delivery contract.

Across the country the government has lowered the high school pass mark to 30% to ensure matriculation rates don’t collapse under the weight of low-quality teachers, protected by government-allied unions.

At an upscale housing estate in Pretoria ill-trained or reckless police tramp through a suspected murder crime scene, putting their own case in jeopardy, while some investigations into the politically connected are dropped.

“The whole policing sector is a failed institution. It has become like a militia – like Haiti’s Tonton Macoute,” said political analyst Moeletsi Mbeki, the brother of former president Thabo, referring to the brutal paramilitary force created by ex-dictator Francois ‘Papa Doc’ Duvalier.

‘Things have got worse’

And a facility that was once one of Africa’s finest hospitals is now plagued by broken equipment, a lack of basic medicine and despite having 3 200 of them, a lack of beds.

At the advent of democracy on 27 April 1994 Baragwanath Hospital had a stellar reputation, receiving referral patients from far beyond South Africa’s borders.

Its doctors had already successfully separated conjoined twins, while Groote Schuur hospital in Cape Town was the first place in the world to successfully carry out a heart transplant.

With universal suffrage came a duty to care for tens of millions of black patients who had largely been denied access to quality care for most of the previous century under racist apartheid laws.

“Things have got worse, it’s so bad, it’s actually frightening,” said a black senior doctor at the hospital who asked not to be named.

He remembers an incident two weeks ago when three very ill patients were forced to share a bed in an admission ward that checks in more than 100 patients each day.

“The one in the middle died and suddenly these two people were sandwiching a corpse,” he recalled indignantly.

In another recent case a woman was forced to share a bed with a male patient.

State “hospitals were much better run under apartheid”, he said, dismissing suggestions that the expansion of medical coverage to black patients is the root of the system’s problems.

“There was less money that was going into corruption.”

Corruption takes root

When the ANC took over governance 20 years ago, the party, by its own admission, lacked the capacity to run a government.

“We were taken from the bush, or from underground outside the country, or from prisons to come and take charge,” the late Nelson Mandela recalled after becoming the country’s first democratic president.

“We were suddenly thrown into this immense responsibility of running a highly developed country.”

But 20 years on South Africans appear to be less understanding, with blame roundly piled on the governing party and its policies.

The party’s leadership has “allowed corruption to take root, ran an ineffectual bureaucracy and education system, and spent millions on vanity projects,” said analyst Max du Preez, in a recent book A Rumour of Spring.

While Mandela sought to retain all but the most politically-warped white civil servants needed to run the country, many still left.

They were replaced by party acolytes who too often used the public sector for self-enrichment, looting coffers through manipulation while the people were neglected through poor service delivery.

“The public service is incapable of fulfilling its obligations because of a lack of capacity among civil servants,” said Wits University vice chancellor, Adam Habib.

This is a consequence of the government’s “misguided cadre deployment policy”.

“Corruption runs rampant and is not dealt with firmly because of party loyalties or inefficiencies in the system,” he said in a recently published book South Africa’s Suspended Revolution.

Not all is lost

Despite the bleak picture, the country is unlikely to turn into a failed state and a few institutions still function well.

“Our best institutions are the public protector, the constitutional court – in fact the courts, generally are very independent and these institutions are doing what they are supposed to be doing,” said Mbeki.

“SARS (the South African Revenue Service) is efficient at collecting taxes, but it’s being used by Zuma and company to harass his opponents.

“South Africa did not go into a tailspin which other African countries went into, is because we have a very strong and competently managed private sector,” said Mbeki.

“This is what keeps the country shining.”




Leave a comment

Posted by on April 24, 2014 in WISDOM



Tom Campbell: “Becoming Love”

Leave a comment

Posted by on April 24, 2014 in WISDOM



Man often change shape, loyalty, form and colour like chameleons.



La Rochefoucauld


I have had many friends that found it impossible to stop being the doctor, professor or managing director when they arrive home or came for a visit. The same “management tools” that they used at their offices they continued to use at home and in their private lives. They found it impossible to adjust roles when they arrived home or mixed with friends and family.

They expected their families to “consult” with them. They expected their family or friends to continuously “earn” their love. They never really dropped their pose. I got the feeling that they were afraid that they might not be accepted, respected and loved without their title. They become the piece of paper (certificate) that decorates their wall or the position they held in their offices. Without their title or money they felt invisible and powerless. I can still remember a person that held a virtual celebrity status in the community and how he fell apart when he lost his job and title as “Metropolitan Chief Security Officer”. He deflated like a beach ball that sprung a major leak. His “Mr. Big image disappeared overnight. He changed from a leader to a stuttering insecure follower. He lost his imposing and dominating figure and even looked smaller with his bowed shoulders. It was pathetic to see this person fade away when he lost his uniform and title.


It takes real courage to just be you on all occasions. The best doctors do not float around in a God like manner. They are usually warm, kind, empathetic and compassionate people. They are effective and highly professional and only wear masks when they operate. Don’t get me wrong. I do not say that a person that is just himself goes around with a frozen smile on his face all the time. He is also not in a good mood all the time. He is simply a “What you see is what you get.” kind of person.




People play very complicated games with each other. Man is the most devious of all creations. They can change shape, loyalty, form and colour like chameleons. They have a mask for most occasions. Most people position themselves so they can get the best deal for themselves possible from every encounter. A fool convinces himself that friends, family and even strangers have their best interest at heart.


Life is not a popularity contest. When you start living your life without fear of rejection or loss you gain real power. When you can be you, wherever you go you have reached full maturity. When you meet a person that can be honest without a police officer looking over his shoulder, you have met a person of integrity. When you have a worker that can give you an honest days work without constant supervision you have met a person with integrity. It is easy to say and do the right things when you are in the public eye, but to sustain deliberate and honest action when you are out of the spotlight shows real character. Just be you. If someone does not like who you are it is his or her problem. You can only live a stress free life if you love your fear of failure.



Leave a comment

Posted by on April 24, 2014 in WISDOM


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Smile for a While!



 A car travelling 100 mph would take more than 29 million years to reach the nearest star.

In Cleveland, Ohio it is illegal to catch mice without a hunting license.

The average cocoon contains about 300-400 metres of silk.

The average bed is home to over 6 billion dust mites.

Whitby, Ontario has more donut stores per capita than any other place in the world.

Ernest Vincent Wright wrote a novel with over 50,000 words, none of which containing the letter “E”.

No president of the United States was an only child.

Apples are more effective at keeping people awake in the morning than caffeine.

Mosquitoes have 47 teeth.

Most lipstick is partailly made of fish scales.

Tablecloths were originally meant to be served as towels with which dinner guests could wipe their hands and faces after eating.

Until the nineteenth century, solid blocks of tea were used as money in Siberia.

Tourists visiting Iceland should know that tipping at a restaurant is considered an insult.

When glass breaks, the cracks move faster than 3,000 miles per hour. To photograph the event, a camera must shoot at a millionth of a second.

A violin contains about 70 separate pieces of wood.

During your lifetime, you’ll eat about 60,000 pounds of food, that’s the weight of about 6 elephants.

Dolphins sleep with one eye open.

A sneeze travels out your mouth at over 100 m.p.h.

There wasn’t a single pony in the Pony Express, just horses.

Fingernails grow nearly 4 times faster than toenails.

Leave a comment

Posted by on April 24, 2014 in WISDOM



You can move a mountain, one bucket at a time.




It is wise not to allow your ego to deceive you into the over estimation of your own abilities, resources, progress or financial reach. When you fail to allocate the right value and weight to something or someone, you are setting yourself up for failure. It can be fatal or at lease disastrous to hope that, everything will turn out ok. We sometimes see great masters at work and think that their “faith” moved mountains for them. What we fail to understand is that these masters linked their faith to positive and sustain action. They do not wait for things to happen they make them happen. You can move a mountain, one bucket at a time. Many of us make the mistake of thinking that all we need to do is to believe and wait. Success
comes to those that transform their faith into positive, sustained and
constructive action.



From my book The Hidden Treasure Within

Leave a comment

Posted by on April 24, 2014 in WISDOM


Tags: , , , , , ,

Poetry Inspector

Favorite Blogs- Reblogs

Los Sentidos De La Vida

Un Blog de Cine, Musica, Vinos... En 75 palabras aprox.

The Sting Of The Scorpion

.......................Because Everything Else Just Bites!

My Time is Now

Dancing With The Elderly- A Hollywood Actress's Day Job

let the free birds fly

surviving creating instigating



AshiAkira's Blog

Just another site


Yes I cut Samson's hair, he was an asshole.

Single motherhood in the south

my life, my love, my story

Dean J. Baker - Poetry, and prose poems

Want to buy a signed book? Contact me at deanjbaker @ G mail dot com

Loving Without Boundaries

A Modern Girl’s Life Practicing Polyamory / Ethical Non-monogamy


Ramblings from a disturbed mind ©2013 Cho Wan Yau

Middle-Aged Martial Arts Mom

Loving a crippling compulsion....



Just me being curious

A blog of questions and few answers.

I Dont Want To Talk About It

The Ultimate Paradox: Depression in Sobriety

Shepworld Communications

ICT Research Training and Consultancy,Web & Application Development,Logos and Graphic Design.

Don Charisma

because anything is possible with Charisma

GIFT FROM THE HEART - Share and Care!

Appreciation, Respect and Gratitude towards all...... that there is!

A Spiritual Journey

My path through life exploring faith, nature, synchronicities and dreams


Trying to make sense of turmoil

Dince's Chronicles

My Personal Blog

Awareness It Self

Quotes for spiritual enjoyment


Esoterically Eccentric

Doug Does Life

A Creative Monkey On How To Find Your Path In Life.

Never Quite Broken

What you did not build up, you cannot tear down.

Gorgeous Company

A place to nourish lovers of words and images that inspire

How my heart speaks

Today is the only day


a guidebook of getting happier

Vivek Raj Kumar M

My own rules !


This site is the bee's knees


Changing Our Mindset is the Way Forward


my transformational journey into new light and occasional gushing of mind and heart - Corozal, Belize, CA

Life as Improv

Saying "Yes, and..." to life on the unfolding path to remembering full self.

Total Wellbeing

Share Your Articles

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”

Dharma Goddess: The Journey to Me

Trying to stay awake...

Outside The Fish Bowl

A Look at Life After Divorce, Relationships, Raising my Boys, and Dealing with My Polyamorous Ex-Wife


This site is the cat’s pajamas

Let's Reach Success

Success, Zen, Simplicity, Happiness, Self-improvement, Goals



The Liberated Way

Liberty, Wisdom, Creativity, Sustainability.

The BitterSweet End

Taking a Scalpel to Faith

Sassy in Sydney

Fashion, beauty & the life of a 20-something


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,426 other followers

%d bloggers like this: