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Strong relationships improve survival as much as quitting smoking

The August 11th edition of the British Medical Journal reported: "Having strong social relationships seems to have an effect on survival comparable to that of quitting smoking and larger than controlling traditional risk factors, such as obesity or hypertension. A meta-analysis of social relationships and mortality looked at 308,849 participants aged 63.9, on average, at baseline; 29% died during the follow-up of 7.5 years.  Overall, strong social relationships improved the odds of survival by 50%. Similar results were found for two aspects of relationships, defined by the researchers as structural (integration in social networks) and functional (received or perceived social support), although the link with integration was somewhat stronger.

Life skills for stress, health & wellbeing, ninth session

Yesterday was the ninth evening of this "Life skills" training.  I wrote about the eighth session last week.  The sequence of regular weekly classes now moves on to increasing gaps between sessions - so it's three weeks until the tenth, a further five weeks until the eleventh, and then an additional eleven weeks until the final twelfth session.  My hope is that we will be able to arrange occasional follow-up meetings even after that.

Life skills for stress, health & wellbeing, fifth session

Yesterday evening was the fifth session of this 12 evening training course.  I wrote about the fourth session last week.  As usual, this evening, the material we were due to cover was described in a dozen Powerpoint slides which the participants received as a handout.  See slides 1-6, Powerpoint or slides 1-6, PDF and slides 7-12, Powerpoint or slides 7-12, PDF.

Life skills for stress, health & wellbeing, fourth session

So yesterday we had the fourth evening of this twelve session course.  I posted on the third session last week.  What we covered is illustrated on the Powerpoint handouts I gave out as two six-slides-to-a-page handouts.  Click on slides 1-6, Powerpoint or slides 1-6, PDF and slides 7-12, Powerpoint or slides 7-12, PDF to see.

New NICE guidance on alcohol misuse

"Alcohol is the third leading cause of disease burden in developed countries".  This month the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) published the first two parts of a three-part guidance on alcohol-related problems.  The first section is "Alcohol-use disorders: preventing the development of hazardous and harmful drinking" which covers public health guidance on the price, advertising and availability of alcohol, how best to detect alcohol misuse in and outside primary care, and brief interventions to manage it in these settings.  The second part is "Alcohol-use disorders: diagnosis and clinical management of alcohol-related physi

Life skills for stress, health & wellbeing, second session

So it was the second session of the group yesterday.  I blogged about the first session last week.  Sadly a couple of people couldn't get to this second meeting - due to a pre-planned holiday and to an unexpected crisis.  It's quite common for participants to miss one or two evenings across a twelve session course like this, but I want to be careful when people miss such an early meeting.  It's important that they don't lose their way and get left behind.  They will get copies of the handouts and the Autogenic CD, but I also make a note to contact them myself.   

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