Making gratitude effortless with the power of the reframe

Woman with umbrella moving from dark, cold place into a sunny, warm place with flowers in background

When I was in medical school and low on funds, I took part in clinical trials testing out new medications as a well-paid, human guinea pig.

It was easy money, the only catch being the rare chance of a serious adverse reaction. On one occasion the potassium in my blood…

4 simple steps to unshakeable equanimity

Double multiply exposure portrait of a dreamy woman mindfully meditating outdoors with eyes closed, combined photograph of nature, sunrise or sunset.

One of the downsides of being a doctor is having to work on-call shifts.

It’s like a normal working day, only instead of going home and relaxing, you go home and wait to get called back into work. The call could come at any time: just as you’re about to…

3 questions to figure out if you’re an “open looper” or a “closed looper” (and what to do about it)

Overworked businesswoman with piles of papers surrounding her

Answer these 3 questions honestly:

  1. When you finish eating, do you clean up straight away?
  2. When you get changed, do you put the old clothes in the wardrobe/drawer/dirty linen immediately?
  3. When a simple task like making a quick phone call or responding to an email crosses your mind, do you…

Western psychology tells us to strengthen and develop the self, Eastern religion tells us to let go of it — what’s the correct approach?

Woman drawing a picture of herself as a reflection

This article continues our 2-part exploration into the illusory self. Last time we looked at what the self is, the nature of our relationship with it, and how it’s really an illusion created by our left brain “interpreter”.

In this part, we’ll look at whether we should stick with Western…

Don’t get fooled by your left-brain “interpreter” trying to categorize and label you

Statue of philosopher thinking

This is the first of a 2-part exploration into the illusory self. In this part we’ll look at what the self is, and the nature of our relationship with it. …

Regain control of your thoughts with the “Attention Training Technique”

Young woman working from home, holding head in pain with room spinning

There’s an old Zen Buddhist tale about a man and a horse. The horse is galloping full speed ahead, and passersby assume the rider must be going somewhere important. “Where are you going?” shouts a bystander, “I have no idea! Ask the horse!” the man yells back.

Our minds often…

Hope is powerful — Despair lethal

Dying patient in hospital corridor, with bright light in the distance

It started with a stomach ache. The stomach ache turned into a burning in the pit of my stomach. The burning in the pit of my stomach turned into a raging fireball that scorched my insides. The raging fireball turned me into a fire-breathing dragon — well a fire-vomiting one…

What are you willing to sacrifice?

Wide open green field and blue sky with tree in the distance

“Looks like a subacromial bursitis”.

He wiped the ultrasound gel off my shoulder, then told me exactly what I wanted to hear.

“Don’t fret, after a shot of cortisone you’ll be back out on the water in no time”.

It had already been three weeks without surfing and it was…

The myth of the “dream job”, and 5 questions to guide you toward work that satisfies, motivates, and energizes you

My way of life perplexes my medical colleagues.

I’ve lost count of how many times they’ve asked me the same questions: When are you going to start specialty training? Why are you wasting your time at home? Why can’t you work full-time like the rest of us? …

Free yourself from the imaginary restrictions of your self-narrative

Movie clapper board in front of a scene being shot.

One of my favorite movies of all time is “Inception”. Mainly because I’ve had a lifelong obsession with lucid dreaming, and the film does a reasonable job of depicting what it’s actually like.

Of course, if it were more accurate the characters would get swept up in how real everything…

Dr. Adam Bell

Medical doctor with an interest in psychiatry. Seeking solutions for the human condition. Subscribe to my newsletter at

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