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Archive for the ‘education’ Category

I think I first became aware of research suggesting that even a view of natural surroundings could be good for us in the paper about recovery times after surgery. The findings showed that post-op patients required less painkillers, had less post-op complications and required shorter stays in hospital if their bed had a view outside to a natural environment (as opposed to no view, or a view of a wall).

Then I came across the Japanese concept of “forest bathing” and work from a university in Tokyo which showed that spending a few minutes in a forest could increase the levels of helpful immune chemicals in the blood.

Today I read a paper about “Attention Restoration Theory” suggesting that spending time in nature improves the concentration levels of children with ADHD. This “ART” concept describes two kinds of attention – an easy, effortless, “bottom up” (neurologically speaking) attention to the environment, and an effortful, focused “top down” attention which we use when deliberately concentrating on something. We use the former when gazing out of a window to the natural environment, and the latter when trying to do a difficult mental task. The research study I read split children into three groups, putting one group in a classroom with no windows, one in a classroom with windows looking out onto a bare, built environment, and a third group in a classroom with windows looking out onto nature. They gave them all the same difficult lesson, took a five minute break where they stayed in their classroom, then tested their concentration after the break. Only the third group, the one in the classroom with a natural view, improved their concentration.

One of the things I like about this paper is that it showed two things – that turning our awareness towards the natural world is good for us, and, that the way to improve concentration wasn’t to “concentrate harder” but to build in a break where the mind could drift into a more natural state of open awareness.

Well, you know, I don’t really need any scientific research or “evidence” to convince me I like to have a view of nature from my window, or that I enjoy walking in forests, parks or along beaches, but, hey, it’s still good to learn about some of the measurable effects of open awareness and engagement with natural environments.

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At one point in my life I was reflecting on what I was trying to achieve as a doctor. Maybe that seems an odd statement to you, but I think we fall very easily into routines and paths which we then “live” largely unconsciously. That’s what’s behind my “heroes not zombies” blog title. Whether it’s about saying “an unexamined life is not worth living”, or it’s simply about wanting freedom and autonomy, I’m wary of the automatic pilot approach to life. I want to be aware, to understand and to consciously choose, as much as I can. I want to move from being a zombie, controlled by hidden, and some not so hidden, forces, to being the hero of my own story – the main character, the subject, the one who is living this life.

I’m sure we all go through cycles and phases of self-reflection. For many people there is a peak of this around the age of 40, but, really it can happen any time and at any age. I believe it’s a good thing to pause and reflect from time to time. I think that’s essential to our personal growth.

So, as I reflected on that question which would appear to me from time to time – “what does a doctor do?” – I looked at a spider web like the one above, early one morning as the dew drops sparkled on it, making it all the more beautiful, and revealing both its presence and its structure. What struck me was that whilst there were many elements coming together to make this web appear as it was, that morning, one element, light, suddenly seemed the one I wanted to focus on.

As I played with the words we use which are based on light, I hit upon three which I thought captured some of the most important aspects of my job.

Lighten. In all cases, I saw my job as trying to lighten other’s load. Maybe this was the first, and most important, part of all that I did. My job was to alleviate suffering. When someone left my consulting room, their life should feel a little lighter than it was when they entered. Certainly, it shouldn’t feel darker, and it shouldn’t feel heavier. Even when I’d had to give news of a serious disease. Giving news wasn’t enough. I needed to lighten the burden of that news by increasing how much the person understood, helping them to make more sense of what was happening, and helping them to realise that they were cared for, that they weren’t alone with this.

In fact, “diagnosis” is a big part of that. To me, diagnosis is not simply an act of labelling and categorising. It’s an act of understanding. It’s taking the messy chaos of experience and saying “I recognise this pattern” “I know what’s going on here”. What I found, time and time again, was that the very act of diagnosis lightened the load. Almost universally people start to feel better once they have a sense that they know what they are dealing with. Understanding, in my experience, shines a light.

Brighten. But then I thought, that’s not enough. Well, maybe it’s enough for some people who will go off with their new understanding and deal with it in their own way, but for many patients, I could do more. I could start to relieve the suffering, but I could also begin to help them build the positives in their life. I could help to actually brighten their days, both by giving reasonable hope, and by establishing an ongoing relationship of care focused on identifying and supporting their inner strengths, and teaching, coaching and enabling them to begin to grow in the light of this illness. This was a kind of turning a negative into a potential positive, because I’d find that for many of us, an illness was telling us something. It was suggesting that we should change something. And that required a development of strengths and skills.

Enlighten. In some cases, that work went to a whole other level. Someone would get nothing short of a revelation. They would suddenly understand the origins of their suffering, and they would gradually become aware of their own thought patterns, their own behaviours, and of the conditions in which they were living which were impacting on them so adversely, and they would say “That’s it. I’m changing.” Not just they would change some habit or other, but they would change direction. Get out of a toxic relationship. Leave a soul crushing job. Enter into education or training, or take the leap to begin something their heart had longed for, for many years. It was like they had a sudden enlightenment and said “I’m not going to live my life this way any more. I’m going to choose this other path instead”.

So, there I had it. My three light-based verbs. Lighten, brighten and enlighten. And of course, what happened from there? I applied those same three verbs to myself. That’s how I made the biggest changes in my life…..seeking some understanding which would lighten my load, turning towards positives, strengths, and emotions like joy, awe and wonder to brighten my days, and thinking outside the box I’d built, to change direction in the bright light of enlightenment.

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I graduated in Medicine from The University of Edinburgh back in 1978. During my medical education and training I was taught about the heart. I remember we were taught about the heart muscle, the system of electrical conduction which produced the rhythm of beats, about the heart valves and how to diagnose different valve problems according to the sounds we could hear when we listened through our stethoscopes. I learned how to administer and read an “ECG” – that series of spikes and waves you see on heart monitors and printed out on long strips of paper.

I didn’t learn that there was a neural network around the heart, nor what that might do. Back then if we thought about it all, the heart was a sophisticated pump for keeping the blood flowing around the body, and phrases like “heart felt”, “broken heart”, “having a heart to heart conversation”, and so on, were considered flowery or poetic metaphors.

I know better now.

We now know that there are sophisticated networks of nerve cells around all the hollow organs of the body, but especially around the heart and the gut. We also know that there is a LOT of communication between the heart and the brain, and that, contrary to what we used to believe about those connections, most of the flow of information is from the heart TO the brain, not the other way around.

We’ve also learned that the beating of the heart creates electromagnetic waves which radiate out around the whole body, and can even be detected outside the body. Those rhythmic waves seem to have a role to play in co-ordinating, or “integrating”, a wide range of functions of the whole body, and even connect with, influence and can be influenced by the waves radiating from other peoples’ hearts.

It turns out that those metaphors we use have a biological, neurological, physical basis in the person. We have a certain kind of “heart intelligence” which allows us to “know” and to “communicate” from one heart to another.

Isn’t that amazing?

Since I came to understand all that I’ve realised just how important it is for we humans to have a “heart focus” – to try to connect to others and communicate with others “from the heart”, not just from the rational brain.

We all love to find heart shapes in Nature, don’t we? Like this little flower in today’s image. Or in the bark of a tree, the shape of a stone, or in a work of art. Why is that, do you think?

I think it speaks to the core importance of everything we think of when we use these heart metaphors in our language, in our poetry and in our songs.

After all, who thinks it’s a good idea for someone to act in a “heartless” way?

Not me!

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One day I was walking the streets of Kyoto and I saw this…….a game of Go, set up at the side of the road, for anyone to play. I don’t play Go but I thought it was amazing to see this. I suppose I’ve seen public chess boards and outsized chess pieces in other places, but this seemed a first to me.

Board games are very popular in France, where they are called “jeux de sociétié”(which would translate into “society games”) and sales of board games have apparently taken off spectacularly here. Card games are also very popular in France, although it’s a long time since I’ve seen a group of old men sitting at a cafe playing cards (I expect that will come back though)

There has also been a tremendous growth of interest in chess this last year, although, as I understand it, that is being put down, largely, to the extremely popular, fabulous, Netflix series, “The Queen’s Gambit” (if you haven’t seen that yet, I highly, highly, recommend it)

I also read recently that a study has shown that young boys who play video games are registering lower degrees of anxiety and psychological stress during the pandemic. Nice to read a more positive report about gaming.

So, maybe this pandemic has turned out to be an opportunity for us to rediscover the value of play in our lives – whether that be board games, card games, video games, or simply the unexpected benefit of young parents finding more time to play with their children. I know a lot of concern and emphasis has been on the difficulties associated with home schooling but I also know that many young parents now working from home are finding that their quality of relationships with their children has increased, at least in part due to the fact that commuting has diminished so much and spending that “found time” playing with the kids is such a delight to many.

So, how about you? Have you been playing more over the course of this last year? Did you take up chess? Are you enjoying your new “play times” with your children?

We shouldn’t underestimate the value of play.

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One day, as I was walking to the railway station to go to work, I saw this little guy apparently checking out surfing! Ok, I know, it’s actually the stick from an ice lolly but, hey, to a snail, maybe that looks like a surf board? I paused to take a photo, smiled, then continued on my way to work. But this photo still makes me smile every time I look at it.

It reminds me of two of the most important things in life – slowing down and playing.

I emigrated from Scotland to France when I retired in 2014, and I now live in the Charente. This region of South West France has a snail as part of its logo. There is a strong culture here of slowing down, staying calm, and enjoying the everyday. Slowing down is what I had to do to take this photo. I was on my way to work, and for most of us, that’s something we do somewhat hurriedly. After all, I had a train to catch. However, stopping for a moment, getting my camera out of my bag and taking the photo, pulled me right out of my head full of “to do” lists and schedules, right back into the here and now. That’s what slowing down does. It gives us the opportunity to be present, and to savour the moment. It gives us the opportunity to pay attention to reality, right here and right now, instead of surfing across the face of life with our head in the clouds. It also prompts you to reflect and consider. I find that when I pause, or slow down, and notice what is around me, that whatever I’ve noticed lingers for a bit. It affects my mood for a bit. It stimulates a line of thought that I carry forward…..on that particular day, into the train, where I got out my notebook and jotted down some thoughts about the “slow movement” – “slow cities”, “slow food“, “slow medicine“.

The second thing is that this is just fun. It’s amusing to think of a snail taking up surfing. It’s about play. The neuroscientist, Panskepp, describes seven fundamental emotions we can find in many living creatures (including humans!). The three “negative” ones, are the ones we are all probably familiar with – Rage, Fear and Panic. Interestingly, though, he names four “positive” ones – Seeking, Care, Lust and Play. (read this interview with him in the “Journal of Play” – yes, there really is such a thing!) Play turns out to be a really important driving force, stimulating curiosity, experimentation, imagination and creativity.

You only need to spend a few minutes with a toddler to see how important play is. They press every button (yes, including your buttons!), as they explore what each object can do, and what they can do with each object. As they get a little older you see children totally absorbed in imaginary worlds….whether playing with toys, with found objects, or with other children. Give a child a piece of paper and some crayons or paint and they don’t stop to wonder if their art skills are up to the challenge of creating something, they just start to draw and to splash the colours around. How much do children like dressing up? Building spacecraft, houses, vehicles from cardboard boxes (thank you Amazon)? Play is absolutely fundamental. Pansepp has studied this in depth, and much of his work has been on the way animals play. He’s gone a long way to help us understand the importance of play and thank goodness for that, because otherwise we are likely to dismiss it as “childish”. It isn’t.

So, here’s my recommendation for this week – follow the surfing snail’s example – slow down and play a little!

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During this pandemic our horizons have been drawn closer, our worlds have become physically smaller and our social worlds have either diminished completely, or have been translated into the virtual world of messaging, video calls, and emails……something which can be enriching, even vital, but which still seem second best to the physical-social world of shared time AND space, and, especially of touch.

It’s a time where there’s a sense of collapsing into ourselves, of withdrawal, and of separation. Which is one of the reasons why this image is particularly appealing to me today. It reminds me of the fact that in Nature there are cycles and seasons. There are times, for example in the winter, when creatures and plants withdraw into themselves, hibernate, go dormant, on in old Scots “courie in“. In other words, there is a time in Nature when it makes sense to fold inwards, to snuggle, to curl up. But the appearance of a first crocus plant in my garden this week reminded me that there is another season around the corner – Spring – and that in the Spring time we see the opposite direction of movement…..a shift towards expansion, reaching up and beyond, of unfurling and unfolding.

I chose the French word “epanouissement” for my word of the year this year…..it means to flourish, to open up, to unfurl, in the way you see a plant move from the phase of a bud to a fully opened, multi-petalled blossom or flower. So I think of that word as I look at this fern unfurling.

I don’t think this unfurling motion is something we need to wait for. It’s not just that we are in winter and spring is around the corner (if you live in the Southern hemisphere, of course, you are in summer, and it’s autumn that’s just around the corner!).

No, I think that every day we can find a way to tune into this unfurling – this expanding, developing, growing, shift from potential to realisation. One way I try to do that is to deliberately choose two activities every single day – one activity of learning, and one of creating. Because I think learning and creating are our two most fundamental ways of growing and developing.

I have had a love of learning all my life, and my curiosity and appetite for discovery and understanding has only grown over the years. It utterly delights me to learn something every day. Amongst my learning activities I do language learning. Every day I learn a little French and/or Spanish. It’s become a habit (I use Duolingo to embed that habit) and I do it formally, following exercises, and informally reading in French, every day. I’m just a beginner at Spanish but I’ll move on to reading Spanish soon. I’m always learning other things too. Questions pop into my head as I live an ordinary day, and I pursue some of those questions online, using wikipedia, blogs, youtube, podcasts and articles.

I also love to create – for me that’s primarily photography and writing – but playing music is part of it as well. Well, in the creative areas of life, I find there is also always something more to learn – whether that be at the piano, on the guitar, on the computer, or in writing exercises.

So, I think unfurling happens all the time for we, humans. We just have to choose to become aware of it and give it some time and attention.

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This pandemic has been going on for months now, and in many countries office workers have been working from home. I had to deal with a government agency recently and I could tell from the background sounds that the person I was speaking to wasn’t working in an office, so I asked him if he was at home. He replied that he was and he thought it was great. He no longer had to commute for about an hour and half in each direction between home and work every day, and when he wanted a coffee, he said, he could just reach behind him and switch on the coffee machine – no queue to join! He sounded relaxed and happy.

In surveys I’ve read it seems a lot of office workers are hoping they will never have to return to an actual office. Maybe this will be one of the big bonuses to come out of the pandemic……a shift away from commuting, from impersonal workspaces, and an increase in both quality of life, and time spent locally with friends, family and in local businesses and communities.

I took that photo above many years ago, one evening as I walked through Aix-en-Provence. I guess these two folk found a way to access free wifi! But that image comes back to me now as I think about how we are breaking out of the old ways and habits of office working.

On another evening in Aix I came across this man sitting high up in a tree, reading a book. I don’t know why he picked that particular spot but I remembered him just as I was writing about the unusual places a lot of us now work from, or study in.

I do think one of the main lessons we are going to get from this pandemic is to challenge our orthodoxies, and our habits. You can even make a case for saying that we got to where we are today by doing things the way we’ve been doing them, so if we want to get out of this and not fall back into it, perhaps we are going to have to get creative and come up with new ways of living, new ways of working, studying and sharing our time and space.

Maybe this isn’t the end of the office as we’ve come to know it, but it surely challenges the dominance of the current model. If that leads to more flexibility and more diversity then I think that can contribute to a better, healthier way of living.

Apply this same thinking to education and you can already see that the way we’ve been delivering education to children and young people is also going through a potential revolution. I’m a bit of an optimist at heart, and I can’t help thinking that, although these changes bring lots of challenges and difficulties, they can also bring us the opportunities to learn and to teach differently.

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How much do you think love motivates you to do what you do, to say what you say, to think what you think?

Are there serious arguments against making love our priority, our touchstone, our foundation, our core?

What couldn’t be improved by bringing a loving attitude to bear?

I think good health care requires love….love in the form of caring about, caring for, and wanting the best for, every patient. Love in the form of non-judgemental listening and attending. Love in the form of respect for the unique individual. Love which values personal relationships above techniques, tools and processes.

I think good education requires love…..love for children, love for knowledge, love for wisdom, love for growth, development and maturity. Actually, education isn’t something we should restrict to children, we could all do with learning all our lives. We could all benefit from life long education based on loving each person and wanting to try to help them realise their potentials.

I think good work requires love….love for craft, for skill, for quality, for service to our fellow workers, our families and our communities.

So how about a politics of love and an economics of love ….. love of Nature, of Planet Earth, of our fellow creatures, and of other people? What would that look like?

Maybe it’s time for us to be less shy about love. Maybe it’s time for us to speak up and say it’s important. More than important….essential.

Can we learn from this pandemic and move towards a society based more on creativity and care, than the present model which is based on consumption and competition? Can we move towards a society based more on qualities than on quantities, challenging the current dominance of figures, statistics and “data”, and insisting instead on loving, caring relationships, on experiences, on individual uniqueness, and on diversity?

I’d like to see that. How about you?

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One day in Paris I came across this electric scooter sitting just beside this rather imposing statue of Condorcet. I had the notion that the serious thinker was looking down rather disdainfully at the scooter.

Even as I framed the shot I thought this was an interesting juxtaposition. Condorcet was a leading thinker of the Enlightenment, a champion of rational thought. That’s one large, heavy tome he has in his hand there and he has the air of someone who goes through life, eyes downcast, as he thinks seriously about everything.

For the Enlightenment thinkers rational thought was the way to liberate mankind, to free them up from the chains of superstition and enslavement by autocratic powers.

The electric scooter, on the other hand, is our right up to the moment symbol of autonomous freedom. In a city like Paris you can pick one up wherever it’s been left, pay your hire price using your smartphone, step on, and away you go whizzing along streets and passageways faster than pedestrians, weaving between static traffic jams of cars, pretty much as free as you’d like to be.

Yet a scooter, for many of us, is a sort of toy, isn’t it? I had a scooter as a child, as did my sister. In fact, just the other day there she found an old black and white photo of us both on our scooters, and sent it to me. Scooters back in the 1960s of course weren’t electric, but, apart from that is the modern version really that different?

I have a notion that one of the appeals of the electric scooter is something to do with play. Think back to childhood, or observe a child in your own family. From the very earliest of years children learn and develop through play. They explore, they discover, the try things out, pressing, pushing, bending, tasting, touching, looking and listening. They are like little sponges aren’t they? Absorbing every possible experience they can have minute by minute through the entirety of their waking hours.

Curiosity, then, that fundamental building block of learning, is expressed, first of all, through play. But there are three other qualities to play which come to my mind as I write this.

Play develops the imagination. Children create whole worlds to inhabit. Worlds of creatures, monsters, fairies, heroes. They dress up and assume roles. We even retain the phrase “role play” as an adult activity, don’t we?

Play encourages creativity. Children express themselves through drawing, singing, and making. Play is the medium through which creativity is released and nurtured.

Finally, play is social. Although a lot of play can be solitary, children adore games – games played with others. They are always asking to play games. Come and play this with me! Let’s play…..! They learn to connect, to interact and form relationships through play.

So, yes, the Enlightenment thinkers promoted liberation through rational thought, but are we missing a trick by reducing play to something less important, something somewhat trivial, even “childish”, to be left behind as we grow and mature into rational, thinking human beings?

Hey, you know me, and my “and not or” mantra – don’t we need BOTH? Don’t we need to inhabit, live, develop and grow both our “play” skills and our “rational” ones?

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”

There’s such a push now, during this pandemic, for people to work from home, and already it’s easy to find a host of articles about the dangers this poses to work-life balance. Yet, “home-working” could be liberating. I had a telephone conversation with a government worker recently and I could tell from the background noise that he was at home, not in an office, so I asked him if that was the case. He replied yes and said how much he loved it. He no longer had to commute for 90 minutes to work and another 90 minutes back home every day – so he felt he had gained 3 hours. And, he said, when he wanted a coffee he didn’t have to stand in line and pay a hefty sum for a cup any more, he could just reach behind himself to where he’d placed his coffee machine.

I’m exploring a new way of organising my time, and I’ll share it with you once I’m happy with it, but today I realise I need to factor in something else, something a bit more liberated, something a bit more imaginative, something a bit more fun – play!

Why don’t you join me, and spend at least a little bit more of today in play?

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What protects us from infection?

The immune system.

What supports, encourages and maintains a healthy immune system?

The answer is lots of things, and no one thing by itself. There isn’t a magic pill or single technique which will keep your immune system healthy, but I thought it might be worthwhile just summarising some of the things which have a good chance of helping.

Nature

My first one is Nature. Japanese scientists have shown that “forest bathing” boosts immune activity. It seems that trees actually send out certain chemical which boost particular immune defence chemicals in the human body. But there’s probably a holistic, experiential element active as well. In other words, it’s probably not all down to particular molecules in the atmosphere. Because we also know that just spending time in natural environments boosts health….to the extent that Richard Louv describes Nature as “Vitamin N” and hypothesises that most of us are suffering from “NDD” – “Nature Deficit Disorder”. It seems that whether we are in a forest, in a garden, up in the hills, walking along the sea shore….all of these places are probably positive for our health and our natural defences.

Physical activity

There seems to be ample evidence that physical activity and many forms of exercise can both boost positive moods, and reduce unhealthy levels of inflammation which damage the immune defences. The bottom line is the more inactive your are, the worst it is for your whole system. Physical activity can include walking, jogging, gardening, sports, swimming, cycling – there’s a wide enough range there for pretty much everyone to find some kind of physical activity they can enjoy.

Diet

There are gazillions of articles about so-called healthy diets, or “anti-inflammatory” diets, or whatever. It’s mind-bogglingly confusing! But I think there are certain well established themes which run through every single “healthy diet”. It starts with eating mainly plants. Diets high in fruit and veg turn up again and again in research which identifies what seems to help to reduce chronic diseases, boost immune defences, and even encourage longevity. The second part is minimising what damages us – and that comes down to refined sugars and artificial chemicals more than anything else. How do you do that? Well, most simply by eating what is prepared by hand at home. The more processed, the more industrialised the “food” we eat, the more we are exposed to the harms. Ideally the more you can eat locally produced, seasonal foods, the better. And the more you can eat food from farms which don’t use artificial chemicals or industrialised techniques, the better. But the bottom line is “the less processed the better”. The third part is not eating too much – of anything! Whether you do that through an “intermittent fasting” diet, or simply by stopping snacking between meals, limiting consumption to what we need is good for us.

Supplements

I’m not a fan of supplements. Probably because I’m one of those weird people who finds it nearly impossible to swallow capsules and most pills! I also think we evolved to get what we need from Nature. However, again and again we are finding that Vitamin D deficiency makes us vulnerable. I’ve read a number of studies showing that vitamin D deficiency is most prevalent in patients who get the most severe forms of COVID. But vitamin D deficiency has been implicated in a host of chronic illnesses. So I do recommend it.

Other supplements? I’m pretty convinced about the value of two others when it comes to viral immune defence – Vitamin C and Zinc.

So, that’s what I take, and that’s what I’ve recommended my whole family takes. Vitamin D (4000 iu), Vitamin C (1G) and Zinc (15mg) every day just now. But you should find out for yourself, because we are all different sizes and ages and the amounts to take vary. So, be clear, I’m not prescribing these supplements for you….do your own research and ask health care professionals who trust, and, especially, ask your doctor if you are already taking medication. Immune defence is certainly not all down to supplements but they are worth some consideration.

Stress

There are undoubted, unavoidable links between the immune system, the nervous system and the endocrine system. Stress and emotional distress undermine the body’s defences. How you manage stress, and what practices work best for you, will differ from person to person, but it’s likely to involve some form of mental practice such as Meditation, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Heartmath, Visualisation, keeping a Gratitude Diary, or something like that. That’s in addition to spending time in Nature and taking exercise, both of which also reduce stress.

Maybe you already know what you can do to reduce stress, it’s just you find it hard to set aside the time to do it. Well, now is the time! Start today!

Emotional intelligence – there’s a link between stress and emotional intelligence – by that, I mean that learning to handle our emotions lowers stress, and that stress makes emotional turmoil worse. This is way too big a subject to tackle in a single blog post but I thoroughly recommend learning about your emotions, and how to handle them.

Love

I’ve left this one to last because I guess it’s the least “scientific” factor, but whether it’s longevity studies or studies of well-being, again and again human relationships are shown to be important. We need to be engaged, we need to love and to feel loved. We need that in relation to other people, to other creatures, to Nature, to Life. And that’s pretty tough in times when were are forced into social distancing, or even worse, social isolation. That’s why it’s so important for societies to make sure that whilst physical distancing might reduce the chances of spreading the virus, people are not isolated. We need contact, communication, simple checking in to see if we are ok, or if we need any particular help. We need to know that we are valuable, appreciated, even loved. Without that we are likely to suffer from more stress and less effective defences.

I am sure there’s a lot more you could add to this subject, but my bottom line is that I think we don’t pay enough attention to consciously, actively improving our well-being and our immune defences. If there was ever a time to do that, it must be now.

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