Thursday, 7 July 2011

the list

I read an interesting piece recently which I'd like to write about. It has a connection to our situation in Earthquake Country as it relates to managing or preparing for the stresses and strains that life brings, in so far as one can prepare for these things.
Dr Roger Walsh is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California, Irvine, and has written about and researched issues around mental health, and health generally for many years. In a piece he has written for the journal American Psuchologist, he points out how 8 simple lifestyle choices can have a profound effect on health, mental and otherwise. His article reviews the research into these issues and makes some telling points.

Looking at the list of lifestyle choices, you would think that its largely a matter of common sense and whats the big deal? Yet Dr Walsh states that only 10% of health professionals recommend these activities to their patients and thats because they themselves do some or all of them. Here are the 8.


He goes on to say that the benefits of healthy forms of the above are grossly underestimated by health professionals and in the culture at large. These benefits have an impact on a host of conditions and ailments. Using indicators such as depression, prevention of illness, quality of life, and an extended life span, the research shows what an impact these 8 lifestyle practices could have on the health system.and on peoples lives. There is evidence that they have a positive effect on prostate cancer, reversing some heart disease, and can be as effective as medication and psychotherapy in managing depression. A further advantage is that they encourage people to take more control over their own health. Yet, it seems this kind of approach to health is largely ignored by the majority of health professionals.

We who have been through recent earthquakes are perhaps more acutely aware of the kinds of consequences that such crises produce; fear and anxiety, depression, mental health symptoms and even early death, especially in older people.All this is understandable and we are all subject to one or other of these kinds of conditions. It seems to me that quite apart from natural disasters, it makes sense to consider these lifestyle options as a means of managing life itself. Then as crises come and go through life, we would be better prepared for the ups and downs.

Written by guest writer, John Cardwell

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