Does brain training really work?

(I first published this one in Australian Women’s Health. Loved you in Dead Calm, Our Nic)

On the outside, I am calm and ordered. I’m a massive fan of lists. I keep three jobs on track – uni tutor, writer, yoga instructor. I rapidly switch between tasks without missing any major deadlines. But on the inside … inside my brain there is a pack of wild brumbies, careening out of control.

The ritual every parent should do with their kids before the age of 7

Do all new parents have that ‘better do this perfectly so they don’t complain about me to their shrink’ paranoia? Though I’m gradually learning to accept that I’ll mess this stuff up, here’s my interview with a few people with more wisdom than I on what all parents can do to raise emotionally stable and happy kids. (and if you have any other tips, let’s hear ’em!)

How to deal with a well-meaning naysayer

The well-meaning naysayer is here to help. They are here to ensure you don’t put off having a baby (‘If you leave it too late they’ll come out deformed or not at all!’), or a wedding (‘I know he’s not perfect, but you don’t want to be left on the shelf, do you?’), and don’t even think about upgrading or switching careers (‘be realistic, competition will be tough, there’s no security!’). “I’m just saying it because I care,” is their motto and heaping fear is their method.

Inside sex addiction treatment

As a writer, you don’t always finish a piece and think ‘Jeez, I’m glad I did that one’. But was fascinating and humbling to talk to these three lovely people about their experience, and I hope some readers get something out of it:

WHAT comes to mind when you think of sex addicts in recovery?

Sleazy men in trench coats trying to have sex with nymphomaniac Girls Gone Wild? Platoons of strippers who love their jobs more than is healthy? Or perhaps it’s the image of yet another celebrity caught in a cheating scandal, vowing to “get help”?

Do you self-sabotage in new relationships?

At first meeting, Elissa comes across as an attractive, thoroughly independent professional woman in her thirties. Get closer and you’ll also find she’s warm, generous – what you might call emotionally intelligent. The woman has her shit in order.

After a long period of internet dating, she was set up by a friend with Chris  – ‘an awesome bloke’, according to Elissa. Yet three weeks into dating him, she found herself, yet again, ‘acting like a psycho’. Hot and cold, getting down to sexy business one minute, then fighting a strong desire to, erm, punch him in the face the next.

Could a ‘growth mindset’ be the real secret to success?

By conventional measures, David Fitter is the picture of success. After almost a decade playing rugby for the Australian Wallabies, he decided to become a doctor. (As you do.)

Now in his second year as a medical resident, he’s taken up skateboarding in his downtime. Not put off by the stares of local kids, he’s just mastered the 180 varial kickflip. But according to Fitter the key to his success is that he’s never naturally been good at anything.