This week I finished reading ‘The Happiness Hypothesis’ by Jonathan Haidt which I would rate as excellent. Though it can be positioned in the Positive Psychology genre, this book is much more than another rehash of happiness research. Haidt is a researcher in what you could summarise as the psychology of morality. I think his experience has given him some pretty unique insights that mean we can all draw some important learnings relating to a theme that is missing from the majority of self-help books and which the psychotherapy world has shied away from. That theme is the idea that “moral character” is core to our well-being. Continue reading
Recently I came across a new research paper showing efficacy of mindfulness training for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) – see also this other paper on mindfulness for IBS.
The researchers identified the likely mechanism as “non-reactivity to gut-focused anxiety and catastrophic appraisals of the significance of abdominal sensations” – in other words to a change in attitude on the part of the subjects towards their own gut sensations, and to the thoughts they had about them (though the thoughts themselves didn’t necessarily change).
Does this mean that either the IBS itself is all in the head (brain, rather than imagination), or alternatively, that the improvement is all in the head and nothing to do with the gut itself? After all, IBS tends to be the diagnosis you get when your doctor can’t find anything wrong with your gut. Continue reading