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Halcyon actively monitors change covering more than 150 key elements of life.

A Mundane Comedy is Dom Kelleher's new book. Extracts will appear on this site and across social media from early 2022. Please get in touch with any questions or thoughts.

The 52:52:52 project, launching both on this site and on Twitter in early 2022 will help you address 52 issues with 52 responses over 52 weeks.

What's Changing? - Self-Esteem



Please see below recent self-esteem-related change.


See also:


November 2021


September 2021


July 2021

  • In a survey, 55 per cent of women and 42 per cent of men reported some measure of dissatisfaction with at least one element of their appearance. The degree to which people are concerned about their bodies ranges widely, from not liking one particular feature to a serious mental health condition called body dysmorphic disorder, in which people focus obsessively on their appearance. People with the disorder often limit their social interactions and frequently experience other mental health problems such as eating disorders and obsessive compulsive disorder. Body image concerns are not merely superficial, but can affect many aspects of people’s lives. This means that developing a positive body image can have positive consequences for both mental and physical health and wellbeing.


June 2021


April 2021

  • For The School of Life, self-love is the quality that determines how much we can be friends with ourselves and, day to day, remain on our own side. When we meet a stranger who has things we don’t, how quickly do we feel ourselves pitiful – and how long can we remain assured by the decency of what we have and are? When another person frustrates or humiliates us, can we let the insult go, able to perceive the senseless malice beneath the attack – or are we left brooding and devastated, implicitly identifying with the verdict of our enemies? How much can the disapproval or neglect of public opinion be offset by the memory of the steady attention of few significant people in the past?
  • Psyche argues that, from a young age, we learn how to be a good friend to others. In kindergarten or nursery school, we’re taught how to share, cooperate and play. Any child who calls other kids dumb, losers or ‘fart face’ is swiftly scolded or given a time out. All in all, we grow up learning to follow the golden rule: ‘Treat others how you want to be treated.’ Yet many of us receive no guidance on how to be a friend to ourselves. In fact, we might even get counterproductive messaging about what it means to treat ourselves with kindness. We might come to believe that being kind towards ourselves is self-indulgent, lazy or weak.


December 2020


September 2020


August 2020

  • New World, Same Humans warns that in 2020, and in the global ‘west’ as traditionally defined, the individual is elevated to a near-kingly status. Brands compete to serve our every desire. Politicians promise to give us what we want. And our culture endlessly tells us the same story: that of the individual protagonist, guided by an inextinguishable light, which is their essential, rational, human self. The central western story is that of the heroic individual. However, as our societies become more advanced and interconnected, they become better at serving any given individual’s preferences. But they also increasingly efface us as individuals, by dwarfing us within a massive and dizzyingly complex social space in which it becomes impossible to feel that we really matter. In 1929 Sigmund Freud published Civilisation and Its Discontents. In that book, he argued that a deep tension was present in the very nature of civilisation itself. We humans, said Freud, have a deep need of civilised forms of life: to keep us safe, and serve our needs. At the same time, though, these forms of life demand that we crush certain crucial and deep-running aspects of ourselves, such as our boundless desire for power over others. Civilisation, then, is paradoxical. It serves us while it enslaves us. We both want it, and don’t want it
  • While researchers, notably Myers-Briggs, indicate that around half the global population are introverted, a new study suggests introverts in the workplace may become victims of unconscious bias. The Silent Worker report, by experience management software provider Qualtrics, reveals that just under two thirds of the 1,000 UK workers it questioned, who identified as introverts, believed they were not given the chance to be heard. Just over half also felt their opinions were neither valued nor listened to.


July 2020

  • We almost all have a character inside our minds whom we might call the "inner critic". It tends to pay its visits late at night, it waits until we’re very tired or physically depleted – and it then it starts to whisper vicious and appalling things to us in order to destroy all possibility of peace, self-confidence and self-compassion. It is at base convinced that we shouldn’t really exist – and it’s extremely subtle and inventive about telling us why. It is, in extremis, the inner critic that tells people to go and kill themselves, warns the School of Life, before examining a range of ways we might try to fight off the inner critic.


June 2020

  • IAI News explained how the pursuit of transcendental values defines not just who we are but who we hope we'll become.
  • IAI News also considered how the self endures even amid the onset of dementia and memory loss.


May 2020

  • Big Think wrote about how ecotherapy (also referred to as nature therapy) has been proven to be effective and is used in various practices and cultures around the world. While we stroll around the forest, breathing in the fresh air, airborne chemicals like phytoncides (a chemical many plants give off to fight disease) are also entering our system. When this happens, the human body responds by increasing the number of natural killer blood cells (a type of white blood cell) which attack virus-infected cells. In one 2009 study, participants spent 3 days/2 nights in a forested area. Their blood and urine were sampled before, during, and after the trip. Natural killer cell activity measured significantly higher during the days spent in the forest and the effect lasted up to 30 days after the trip. The results of a 10-study analysis proved that both men and women have similar self-esteem improvements after experiencing time spent in nature, and the boost in mood particularly impacted men. 


December 2019


November 2019


August 2019


May 2019

  • One of the reasons why our lives are harder than they might be is that most of us have not got a firm handle on the art of mature self-assertion; that is, the ability to put forward our interests in the face of contention in a way that comes across as credible, dignified, serene and effective. For The School of Life, at the root of our failures tends lies one woefully familiar psychological problem above all: self-hatred. It is because we haven’t learnt to love and respect ourselves (indeed, the very concept sounds instinctively alien and somewhat disgusting) that we say nothing, trusting that we have no right to take our own positions seriously. 
  • Anyone with ambition has ego. People who marshal their skills to meet their goals have ego. Artists, athletes, scientists and entrepreneurs achieve their objectives by harnessing the focus and desire to create and discover. But, too often, argues Ego is the Enemy, by Ryan Holiday, while ego is necessary for getting ahead, an unhealthy belief in how important you are has the opposite impact and blocks your progress.


April 2019

  • In Awkward, the Science of Why We're Socially Awkward and Why That's Awesome, Professor and TED speaker Ty Tashiro demonstrated a special faith in awkward people. He urged them to see accepting their oddities and special talents as the doorway to achieving amazing things and explained that high achievers - whom some other people might see as awkward - have the ability to focus intently on a limited area. They search with zeal for answers to questions outside the mainstream.
  • key cause of high anxiety can be self-hatred. People who have grown up not to like themselves very much at all have an above average risk of suffering from extremes of anxiety, for if one doesn’t think one is worthy, it must – by a dastardly logic – follow that the world is permanently and imminently at high risk of punishing one in the way one suspects one deserves. It seems to fit that people may be laughing behind one’s back, that one may soon be sacked or disgraced, that one is an appropriate target for bullying and rejection and that persecution and worse may be heading towards us.


March 2019


February 2019


December 2018

  • The School of Life believes that self-analysis can work because, as we reflect, we let our sadness take its natural, due shape. We dwell at length on the wounds. We give space to our nostalgia. There may not be an immediate solution to the sorrows, but it helps immeasurably to know their contours and give ourselves a chance to square up to them. Our pains need a hearing. The more we think, the more our fears, resentments and hopes may become easier to name. We may become less scared of the contents of our minds. We may grow calmer, less resentful and clearer about our direction. 


November 2018

  • Rimmel launched #IWILLNOTBEDELETED, a campaign to fight cyberbullying. The Coty-owned makeup brand surveyed over 11,000 women aged 16-25 across 10 countries, and found that 1 in 4 have experienced cyberbullying, 46% of whom have gone on to self-harm. Launching on the Cybersmile website in 2019, a tool will guide users to approved local resources and organisations that can help those facing cyberbullying.  


August 2018

  • For The School of Life, the sublime grants us a perspective within which our own concerns are mercifully irrelevant. Bits of our egoism and pride seem less impressive. We may be moved to be more tolerant, less wrapped up in our own concerns. We’re reminded of our fragility and transient occupation of the world – which can move us to focus on what’s genuinely important, while there is still time. The Sublime foregrounds a sense of equality, which we can otherwise find it hard to hold onto. In the face of vast things, the grades of human status lose meaning.
  • We too often assume that we must accept the levels of confidence we currently possess. However, confidence is not a given: it is a quality we can learn about and develop in ourselves, argued The School of Life, who wants to remind us, for the sake of confidence, not to think too well of others; to learn to watch our tendencies to self-sabotage; to imagine strangers sitting in the bathroom; to speak to ourselves in kinder tones; and to remember that the greatest thing we should fear isn't messing up, but dying without having given it a go.


July 2018


June 2018

  • Evolution made it hard for humans to ask for help, suggests recent research. The fear of losing status within a community is hardwired into primate brains.