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Yet again I have heard a story about a young man starting out who, while struggling to adapt to a new life at  university, was prescribed medication to help with his ‘problems’. It helped, but the downside is that this young man now believes that an acceptable response to the challenge of bigger problems means upping the dose.

Despite the apparent glamour of student life the real story, at least at first, is one of  schoolchildren adapting to early adulthood. It involves separation from home, new friendships (or not), exams, deadlines and oh… welcome to the real world where money occasionally runs out.

Pathologising life’s problems does nothing to help normal development, and it can be the first step on a career most people wouldn’t choose, one that involves repeat prescriptions and lowered self belief.

 

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The Sow’s Ear Effect

Telling yourself good stuff about yourself seems, intuitively, like a good idea. It is supposed to help you feel good, or better, about yourself, and to gradually build self-esteem.

But this only works if the statements – or ‘affirmations’ – are believable. Far fetched inspirational statements seem like a good idea, but they can actually have the opposite effect.

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Hear the Storyteller, Not Just the Story

Stories have the power to persuade and change, they can also condemn and isolate us.

Once we are past childhood we judge a story by the storyteller. We look for interests and motives that could render the story invalid or suspect.

When we listen to the stories we tell ourselves we should be similarly cautious, the narrator is usually hugely biased.

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