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How to live well - a shared exploration

“ Without numbers, stories are just anecdotes, but without stories, numbers are just dry statistics.

 

- Tara Lamont

                                   how to live well – a shared exploration 

what is it? This course is ambitious. It aims to help us live longer, healthier lives that are more energised, happy and fulfilled. We will work to improve our knowledge and activities in three interconnected areas – optimising wellbeing, nourishing relationships, and living with health, energy & resilience. The course is constructed partly on the recent state-of-the-art, evidence-based ENHANCE intervention for building wellbeing, with ingredients that focus on our values, self-determination theory’s needs/goals/motivations, mindfulness & compassion, positive emotions & savouring, and the central importance of relationships. 

Strength training exercises improve both physical & psychological health

Poor muscle strength predicts increased vulnerability to both physical & psychological health problems and earlier death, in addition to the contribution of poor aerobic, heart-lung fitness.  This is true for both men & women and for all assessed age ranges.  Mechanisms underlying these effects are probably multifactorial, including metabolic/biochemical, neurological & psychological factors.  Research studies have assessed overall muscular strength in a variety of ways including grip strength, push-ups, chair-stands, and squat weight-lifts.  Happily, muscle strengthening interventions can yield major benefits across multiple health domains.  Here are a dozen interesting papers addressing these areas published in the last few years:

How to live well: 2nd meeting - mindset, motivation, positive emotions, exercise & sleep

             

                      "Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right."     Henry Ford                

                        "Knowledge is only rumour, until it is in the muscle."   New Guinea proverb

"Earth": the basic foundations of energy & health

“ Watchful like a man crossing a winter stream, yielding like ice about to melt, simple like an uncarved block of wood, hollow like a cave. ” - Lao Tzu

The four chapters in this "Earth" section cover core foundations of energy & health - Food, Exercise, Sleep and Addictions.

 

 

 

Ch.2: Exercise

“ To stand and stare, to watch the rising sun, fills me with such calm happiness, I am sure I have dwindled away too much time on inessentials. ” - Diana Gault (when dying of cancer)

As the 14th Earl of Derby is reported to have said "He who cannot find the time for exercise will later have to find the time for illness".  Potential areas to cover in this chapter include: Proportion of death & illness due to lack of activity. Relevance to mental disorders.  Prevalence of inactivity & changes over time.  Relevance of HIIT.  Relevance of extended sitting.  How much exercise needed.  Value of strength training too – suggestions.

 

Exercise

“ The life I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place my touch will be felt. ” - Frederick Buechner

Kidney donation: preoperative preparation & facing challenges generally - aspects of self-compassion

I've woken early.  Lying here I feel an unfamiliar hollow pressure in my gut.  What is this?  Fear?  Anxiety? Tension?  "Tense apprehension" seems to fit.  I'm lying here in the early hours of the morning, a hollow tense apprehension in my belly.  And it isn't surprising.  Pretty normal in fact as I move closer & closer to major surgery.  Consciously.  By my own decision.  On this journey, travelling down the "kidney donation river", I can hear the roar of the approaching rapids.  Surgery soon.  It's a pretty standard, basic, healthy response to tense a bit as I move towards the crux, possibly the most intense section of this "donation river".  And I don't have to tighten the rest of my body around the belly apprehension.  I can let go, loosen in my arms, my face.  It's OK. Nothing to do right now.

Kidney donation: preoperative preparation & facing challenges generally - goals and journey

I'm due to donate a kidney soon, and I have been writing about what's involved - see "Kidney donation: why it's well worth considering", "Kidney donation: what are the risks?" and "Kidney donation: preoperative preparation & facing challenges generally - values are central".  Primarily these posts are for other donors, but aspects of what I write are also relevant for facing challenges more generally as well.

Non-drug treatments for bipolar disorder (2nd post) - sleep, light & exercise

I have just given a talk on "Recent research on non-drug treatments for bipolar disorder" to the Lothian branch of "Bipolar Scotland".  There is a description of the first part of the talk at "Non-drug treatments for bipolar disorder (1st post) - the value of psychotherapy" and you can download the full sequence of slides here.  Points touched on in the second part of the talk are illustrated below:

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