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Why don’t I enjoy life? You asked Google – here’s the answer | Anouchka Grose

Feb 2nd, 2017 by

Every day millions of internet users ask Google life’s most difficult questions, big and small. Our writers answer some of the commonest queries

I’d like to begin by shelving the obvious, contemporary answer to the question “Why don’t I enjoy life?”: “Because you have a chemical imbalance in your brain, which can be fixed with medication.” I wouldn’t want to put anyone off doing anything that might help their suffering, but this answer needs to stop being so pushy and get to the back of the queue: there are plenty of perfectly valid reasons for not enjoying life.

Related: How would the Stoics cope today? | Ryan Holiday

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How can I cope better with stress?

Feb 2nd, 2017 by

Some people can bounce back from life’s pressures, but others do not seem to have the capacity. Can anything help them to strengthen their emotional armour?

How do you feel when bad things happen? Do you bounce back from adversity or sob indefinitely? Emotional resilience, the ability that some people have to withstand stress, was once thought to be a genetic gift. You were either lucky and had it, or you didn’t and struggled. Studies show that teenagers who fail exams have an increased risk of depression as adults, while athletes who lose can feel long-term guilt and humiliation. But recent psychological research suggests that emotional resilience can be developed. A systematic review of what makes people able to deal with failure looked at results from 46 studies.

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Tom Fletcher: ‘Dad wanted to be in a band. I’m living his dream’

Feb 2nd, 2017 by

The singer and children’s author on his many family creative influences, fatherhood and depression

I had a really happy childhood. My dad worked 12-hour shifts in the Kodak factory – I remember creeping about when he was on nights – but he was also lead singer in a band playing in British Legion and working men’s clubs. My earliest memories are of being sat at the back of a pub, falling asleep on the bench while my dad played. He used to get me up on stage to sing with him from when I was only three or four. I get my music from my dad.

I wanted to play the guitar like him. Now my son, Buzz, is doing the same with me. He is only two but he’s obsessed with guitars, especially mine. He sits there with it upside down and sings McFly songs. It’s really sweet and he’s got amazing rhythm. I did a McFly tour recently and he came to a sound check. We gave him a ukulele so he could join in and he didn’t want to leave the stage. I can see now how it naturally passes from father to son.

Related: Carrie Hope Fletcher: ‘I’m human and I screw up but I’m willing to be told I’m wrong’

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No new antidepressants likely in next decade, say scientists

Feb 2nd, 2017 by

Reluctance of healthcare providers such as NHS to pay for expensive drugs is behind lack of research, says Oxford professor

No new drugs for depression are likely in the next decade, even though those such as Prozac work for little more than half of those treated and there have been concerns over their side-effects, say scientists.

Leading psychiatrists, some of whom have been involved in drug development, say criticism of the antidepressants of the Prozac class, called the SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), is partly responsible for the pharmaceutical industry’s reluctance to invest in new drugs – even though demand is steadily rising.

Related: Why ‘big pharma’ stopped searching for the next Prozac

Related: Why have antidepressant prescriptions doubled in the last decade?

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How dropping acid saved my life

Feb 2nd, 2017 by

When writer Ayelet Waldman fell into depression she started microdosing with LSD. She tells Rachel Cooke about her extraordinary experiment with acid

Some time ago – for reasons that will become apparent I am not allowed to say when, exactly – the American writer Ayelet Waldman scored some LSD. She did this, not on a street corner or via the dark web, but middle-class style, through an acquaintance of an acquaintance, for which reason the drug arrived at her home in Berkeley, California, in a stamp-encrusted brown paper package whose sender (an elderly professor, she believed) identified himself only as Lewis Carroll, a “fellow resident” of her town. Mr Carroll had, however, troubled to write her a brief note. “Our lives may be no more than dewdrops on a summer morning,” it said. “But surely, it is better that we sparkle while we are here.” The bottle he enclosed contained 50 drops of “vintage quality” LSD, of which he advised her to take two at a time. Waldman was delighted. Not to put too fine a point on it, she believed this drug might save her life.

‘I was in a dangerous place, doing everything to ruin my own life’

‘Within a couple of doses the computer of my brain restarted’

‘My husband encouraged me to embark on LSD experiment because he was desperate, too’

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Pumped on protein: can a shake ever be as good as a plate of food?

Feb 2nd, 2017 by

Sales of power bars and powders and supplements are surging – but does anyone really need them?

Protein is big business: as pumped-up as any ripped bodybuilder. The drinks, powders and bars that were once the preserve of top athletes have found their way into suburban kitchens and spawned an industry worth $96bn worldwide. In the UK we spend more than £66m a year on sports nutrition products: recent research found nearly a quarter of us, and 42% of men aged 16-24, had consumed one in the past three months. High street chains sell protein drinks and pots, and last year saw a rise in popularity among women.

But are they worth the hype? Protein supplements are pricey, usually heavily processed and, new research suggests, potentially unnecessary. And is a protein shake any better than a handful of nuts or a chicken breast?

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Raise the bar: a beginner’s guide to lifting weights

Feb 2nd, 2017 by

Want to give yourself a boost, physically and mentally? Follow this full-body workout

If you want to get stronger in body and mind, this beginner’s full-body workout is a good place to start. Our bodies want to be fit and strong, fast and powerful. It is just that in our modern-day lives, in which we spend the vast majority of our time sitting down, we aren’t living up to our potential. The benefits of lifting weights are endless. It strengthens your muscles and your bones, too. It reduces your chances of developing osteoporosis, something of which postmenopausal women are particularly at risk. Lifting weights supports all other types of training – running, cycling or swimming – by developing muscular strength.

Perhaps the most valuable benefit of resistance training, and the main reason I love it so much, is that lifting weights enables you to function better in everyday life. You can carry shopping, pick up your children, move furniture with ease. It helps make you healthier mentally, too: you become more confident and feel happier from the endorphins.

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Picture of the day: running through London’s Royal Parks

Feb 2nd, 2017 by

The public ballot to take part in the 2017 Royal Parks half-marathon opened today, with 16,000 places on offer. The event, which has become one of the UK’s most popular, is celebrating its 10th year. The 13.1-mile race, which takes place on October 8, covers Hyde Park, Green Park, St James’s Park and Kensington Gardens

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Ron Hill: Running 19,032 days in a row? Maybe it’s time for a day off

Feb 2nd, 2017 by

Running legend Ron Hill has finally finished an unbroken streak that stretches over half a century

Even the greatest streak must, eventually, end. And Ron Hill has announced that, after 52 years and 39 days, he’s finally going to have a day off.

For those not steeped in the history of distance running, Hill, 78, is probably less a running legend than a brand name for some well-priced kit (though he sold the brand named after him in the early 90s, and now runs Hilly clothing). Yet he is undeniably one of the British all-time greats. In his heyday, he set world records at multiple distances (10 miles, 15 miles, 25km) and was the second man to break 2hrs 10min in the marathon (the first being Australian Derek Clayton). He ran in three Olympic games – Tokyo in 1964, Mexico City in 1968 and Munich in 1972. He won the European Championship marathon in 1969. In 1970, he won the Boston marathon – the first British runner to do so – and in July of the same year, won the Commonwealth Games title in Edinburgh.

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How to run: everything you need to know

Feb 2nd, 2017 by

Whether you are new to running or want to improve your pace, here’s how to get going

Running is a fantastic way to get fit. You don’t need much kit, you can do it anywhere (within reason) and it’s available to you all the time – you don’t need to wait for the gym to be open or a class to start; just go. You might think of it as a leg exercise, but it actually works most of the body. Running fast is also one of the quickest ways to burn calories; it’s an activity with a high “met rate” (calorie burn per kg of weight, per hour). Rowing is another good one; cycling is slightly lower.

People worry about injury and bad knees and so on, but it’s a myth that running is bad for you. With good trainers, and good technique, you should be OK. That said, an unprepared body lacking mobility is more likely to get injured, so make sure you stretch and do supporting exercises. If you’re very overweight, start small, with fast walking. And if you have health issues, take advice from a doctor.

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