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Peer groups: Wiston autumn group – first morning

Back in May I wrote about a peer Mixed Group I have been involved in for many years.  I explained how I'd been coming to this Mixed Group since 1991 and how the group had evolved and budded off both a Men's Group and Women's Group.  I talked about the origins and purpose of these groups and also why writing about my personal involvement in them seems relevant to this blog on stress, health & wellbeing.

Besides the Mixed Group in May, I have also come regularly to a Men's Group in November.  They are both just four days long and I've found them hugely precious over the years.  This autumn's Men's Group was at Wiston Lodge about an hour's drive south of Edinburgh and I took my Eee PC along to it to write a bit about my experience: 

Relationships in general

“ Who will prefer the jingle of jade pendants if he once has heard stone growing in a cliff? ” - Lao Tzu

Relationships are right at the heart of human health and wellbeing.  The first four sets of handouts listed below highlight the increased death rates, poorer psychological health and lowered wellbeing in those with worse relationships.  There is a rather confusing plethora of different questionnaires for assessing relationship networks.  I like the large amount of helpful information one can elicit from the "Personal community map" and associated sheets (below).  Sheldon Cohen has argued convincingly that social intimacy, social integration, and social conflict all make independent contributions to our health and wellbeing - we want higher scores for intimacy & integration and (usually) lower scores for conflict.  The community map overall question sheet and the associated brief three question current a

Checking in with Larry - first evening

On the train to Glasgow.  It's a Saturday afternoon in early July and I'm heading over to meet up with my old friend Larry to spend 24 hours or so together looking at how our lives are going.  We've been getting together to do this three or four times a year for the last 10 to 15 years.  Typically it's over a Saturday to Sunday afternoon.  Ideally we try not to make it in one of our houses.  We've found we get more of a perspective on how our lives are going when we're away from desks, emails, and a thousand other demands.  We alternate meeting up in the West or East of Scotland.  Today it's my turn to head West.  I bring my bike over on the train and will use it to cycle up the towpath of the Forth & Clyde canal and then on to Larry's.  Probably we'll then buy food and head out by bus and foot to an out-of-the-way shack owned by one of Larry's friends.  There isn't any running water or electricity, but it's quiet, dry and surrounded by countryside - a great place to breathe and take stock.

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