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Relationships, self-esteem and health - first posting

Poor relationships damage our health.  Recent research powerfully demonstrates this point (Stinson, Logel et al. 2008).  In these studies, relationships were assessed in three different ways - relationship quality (closeness, trust, satisfaction), number of friends, and relationship stress.  Sheldon Cohen (Cohen 2004) has argued that these three aspects of relationships are all important in the relationships-health link - emotional closeness, broader social network, and low interpersonal conflict.  In this Stinson et al research, all three aspects were assessed and all three predicted subsequent health.  In the team's second study, they showed relationship stress (function) and number of friends (structure) were independently linked to health outcomes - the former a bit more strongly than the latter.  More stress and fewer friends both predicted more health difficulties.  Health difficulties too were assessed in three different ways - simply by asking participants whether they had developed any health problems during the study period, by asking about time off work, and by asking about visits to doctors.  Poor relationships led to increases in all three of these health indicators.

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.

Wellbeing, time management, self-control & self-determination

“ Better keep yourself clean and bright. You are the window through which you must see the world. ” - George Bernard Shaw

This is a bit of a ragbag section.  It contains a mixture of handouts on wellbeing, time management and related topics.  A lot of my work involves helping people face fear and anxiety.  The "Determination training" and more straightforward monthly "Practice record" are often helpful here.  The "Respected figures exercise" is one of the most frequent forms that I ask people to fill in - it clarifies values and so highlights how one wants to act.  The handout on Kohlberg's work is relevant to values too, especially at times when the focus is on fairness and assertiveness.  I often move from the "Respected figues exercise" to the five "Goals for roles" handouts.  They build from clarifying "Role areas" and using this for the "Funeral speeches" or "80th birthday party exercise&qu

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