How are you?

Reflecting on ourselves, and how we are, maybe something that only happens when we take time off work, and have some down time, for instance during the summer holidays. If you are one of those people who work hard and are always busy, it may be that you don’t feel you have time to check in with yourself, and ask yourself “How are you?”.

It is well known that our levels of resilience are linked to our state of health, both physical and psychological. Resilience is important if you are going to keep up with the demands of a busy work and home life, and stay well in the process. The fast pace of life generally is not showing any signs of slowing down, so we humans need to have strategies to build and maintain our state of resilience in order to make the best of our lives, stay healthy and deal with stress.

So take a few minutes for yourself, to do a short personal health audit, by asking yourself the following questions, and writing down the answers:

1. On a scale of 1 – 10, how healthy are you now?
2. On a scale of 1 – 10, how healthy do you expect to be in 20 years’ time if you continue with your present lifestyle?
3. What could make you more healthy?
4. What can you identify in your life now that contributes to your health and sense of wellbeing?
5. What could you be doing to get more of this?
6. What is there in your life now that detracts from your health and sense of wellbeing?
7. What could you do to ensure there is less of this negative influence in your life?
8. How good is the quality of your sleep?
9. Do you suffer from constant time pressure, as if you are always a bit behind?

Then take a look at your 10 answers and see what can be learned from them. Most of us know what we really need…we just have to give time to deciding to do something about it.

One of my very favourite thought leaders is Prof Angus McLeod PHD. He writes about the mind/body relationship at

Angus reminds us that good vibes produce a healthy brain-chemistry and healthy brain-chemistry leads to a healthy body. So, we need pleasure to release our oxytocin reserves Smile Pleasure kicks off a process involving the feel-good factor, dopamine. Pleasure also shrivels up bad endocrinal and amygdala activities in the brain and body. These chemical changes lead to less cortisol in the blood-stream. Less cortisol means less stress – another boost to healthy mind & healthy body.

When we have been through a stressful time, and cortisol is lurking in our system, use aerobic exercise – anything that gets you panting and sweaty and for at least 15-20 minutes - to remove cortisol, and restore a more healthy chemical balance.

Another way to improve your brain chemistry is by physical contact: welcome hugs, welcome eye-contact. Your pet animals can play an important part in providing oxytocin highs! So go pet your dog, cuddle your kids or your cat, give somebody a hug, and enjoy the feeling Laughing It’s good for your health!!

© Barbara Capstick

Summer 2014.