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Northumbria University psychologist Dr Vincent Deary releases guide book for humans

How We Are is the first book in a trilogy by Dr Vincent Deary and examines the power of habit and our resistance to change

Dr Vincent Deary from Northumbria University and his first of a How To Live trilogy of guide books for humans
Dr Vincent Deary from Northumbria University and his first of a How To Live trilogy of guide books for humans

Who we are and why we don’t like change is the subject of a new book by a senior lecturer and health psychologist at Northumbria University.

Following a “thoughtful midlife crisis”, Dr Vincent Deary has written the first book in the How To Live Trilogy, called How We Are.

Published on September 4, it draws on Dr Deary’s considerable experience as a health psychologist and cognitive behavioural therapist as well as a deep interest in literature, film, philosophy and science.

Dr Deary examines how we negotiate change in our daily lives using transformative personal stories as examples.

“How We Are is divided into two acts,” he said. “The first looks at habit while the second examines how we adjust to change. Change is difficult because the majority of our day to day lives are carried out on auto-pilot. We set things up so we don’t need to think about what we are doing or where we are going. It becomes routine.

“When something happens in our world to disrupt our routines - such as a new relationship, the loss of an old relationship, bereavement, changing jobs or moving to a new city - we then have to adjust, and this is difficult.

“Change is physiologically tiring, emotionally arousing and mentally pre-occupying, and it will continue to be so until we reach a new normal and re-establish equilibrium. Change takes us out of auto-pilot and the comfortable roles we are used to, and we usually want to get back to them as quickly as possible. Change is uncomfortable.”

Published by Allen Lane, the book has already received positive reviews while Dr Deary will give public lectures at the Cheltenham Literary Festival, the Royal Society of Arts, the School of Life and the Southbank Literary Festival following its launch.

He will also speak at the Freethinking Festival at Sage Gateshead on November 1. The discussion will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking programme following the festival.

How We Are is Dr Deary’s first book and represents years of experience, study and reflection.

He added: “After I turned 40 I effectively became a hermit for two years to write and reflect, mapping out all three books. I suppose I had a ‘thoughtful’ mid-life crisis.”

  • Volume 1: How We Are in the How To Live trilogy is out now. It will be followed by Volume 2: How We Break, and Volume 3: How We Mend.

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