Soothing Science.

A companion site to the podcast.

April 10, 2019

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This podcast was made against the backdrop of the recent shootings in New Zealand. The aim is to help to acknowledge, accept and learn from unpleasant and distressing emotions. To be able to know when to allow the to wash over us and when it is time to catch them and ride them like a surfer. There is a longer than usual introduction - listen to it the first time, but after that skip ahead to the thirteenth minute for the relaxation exercise. 

I drew a lot of inspiration for this from the work of Russ Harris - have a listen to this podcast - here.  It features a great interview.

Russ is an Australian GP who has written a great book - "The Happiness Trap " which is a self guided book about acceptance and committm...

February 4, 2019

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Hi everyone, just a relaxation exercise today, as I have not yet put my ideas together about the next science topic.

This exercise will focus on your sense of intrinsic value. During the exercise I will ask you to imagine looking at yourself from the outside, looking below the surface layers of appearance and achievements and  into the deeper layers beneath. Much as our indigenous elders look at the internal and spirit world of their subjects when they do paintings. ( Actually the picture above does not show the x ray style, but I could not find an example that does which I was sure was permitted to use - this picture is from wikipedia and hopefully they have checked all the permissions).

( pictu...

December 19, 2018

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Parkrun is a weekly festival that is held at 8am on Saturday mornings at nearly fifteen hundred different parks around the world. It is based around running, but in my opinion it's actually a free festival of community kindness run by volunteers, with a focus on exercise as pathway to good health. You should attend, even if you don't think of yourself as particularly fit or sporty - you will be amongst friends. And, Parkrun is also a hotbed of community science, with several articles published using Parkrun data.

Which brings us to pickle juice - an unlikely but proven cure for cramps. 

I hope you enjoy this podcast in praise of Parkrun and Pickle juice. 

Here are some links:

Newy and Stockton Parkrun pages...

December 19, 2018

Listen here for the podcast.  If you've listened to part 1 then you have heard me extolling the virtues of walking. Here is a meditation to do while out walking, running or jogging that will help you to stay enthusiastic.  Enjoy. And thanks to my daughter Evie for letting me record her double bass practice for the walking bass line. 

October 10, 2018

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In this episode we first have a look at some research into mental health apps. The work was carried out by Dr Lisa Parker and colleagues at the university of Sydney,  and you can see the article here. They had a look at dozens of apps and made disturbing observations that many of them were inaccurate and potentially could make problems worse. I go through the details of this study in the podcast.  Luckily for me the effects of podcasts were not surveyed....

So if apps aren't the answer what is. Well it turns out that there is a treatment for depression that is so natural it really doesn't seem like a treatment at all - yet is as effective at preventing relapse as taking a long term antidepressant.

In fascinatin...

October 10, 2018

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In this relaxation exercise we use the actions of an archer to focus on....focus. It's a great metaphor because the more relaxed an archer is the more likely they are to perform well - letting go of distractions and focusing on the details is the key to a good shot. It's a mindset that applies to many situations, and this exercise will help you with your focus, whether or not you've ever had a bow in your hands.

July 30, 2018

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I have been thinking about the flat earth movement lately. Born in the 60's I spent my childhood believing that by the time I reached the grand old age of 51 there would at least be a colony on the moon and space travel would be routine. Instead we have a growing movement of people who believe the world is flat - a question that I thought got sorted out long ago. It got me thinking about the nature of belief, and how much belief is tied up in trust - and why are we just so trusting anyway?

Here is a fascinating insight into the evolution of trust - this is a thought provoking game that explains so much about how we interact...I think it is truly profound.

So ask yourself, do you believe the world is round or fl...

July 30, 2018

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This is partly just an excuse to put up my holiday photo of the night sky above Guthega, in NSW. 

But I have also done a relaxation exercise for you about the stars - and how they can give us different perspectives on our lives. On the time scales of our lives they are endless and everlasting, yet each time we glance at them we are seeing photons that started their journey many years ago, travelling across the vastness of space just to end up exciting our retina at a unique moment in time and space - how special is that! And of course our very matter is made up of what was once the heart of stars. Hopefully thinking about this will give you a different perspective on you day to day trials and tribulations. En...

May 10, 2018

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          I had one of those moments the other day. One of those moments of sudden doubt when I suddenly ask myself- "what the hell am I doing?" Now it was not exactly existential doubt about the meaning of life, the universe and everything. Or even about whether it was worth continuing  with this podcast project.....No, much smaller scale than that....

         You see, I've been taking Turmeric on and off for a couple of years now for my creaky joints. But it suddenly occurred to me that I knew next to nothing about whether it actually helps or not. I had seen an article on a website about how ubiquitous the yellow spice had become, and that got me thinking. And this po...

May 10, 2018

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This episode is all about portable relaxation. Previously we have done exercises that require about 20 minutes of quiet time, but today there are two exercises that can be done anywhere you like.

The first is a simple breathing pattern that will take about a minute. It is in common use in situations as diverse as yoga classes to navy SEAL training ( that's the commandos, not the animals). I will teach you the timing tricks so that it works well, as the common mistake people make is doing it too quickly, which can make things worse.

The second is an exercise in relaxation with the eyes open focussed on any everyday object or scene. You can do this for as long as you like; the podcast exercise goes for a...

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Dr Adrian Plaskitt
GP and Science enthusiast.


Hi there, I hope you enjoy the podcast. My recording studio is actually under a doona in my bedroom  (it muffles the echo) but with imagination we travel to more interesting  places. We can  use the skills we learn to remain relaxed in stressful situations, when the world seems turned upside down.

Contact me at:

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If you enjoy the podcast and would like to explore how relaxation techniques can be used to treat a specific problem that you need help with then have a look at the College of Medical Hypnosis website by clicking the above link. You can find a therapist near you who has been trained in the sort of techniques I use in the podcast, and can apply them to your particular situation rather than for general relaxation.

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