Wellbeing - What it is, What it causes and What happens when we don't have it.

A myth?!

A myth?!

Sir Harry Burns, Director of Global Public Health, University of Strathclyde, kicked off the Royal Philosophical Society of Glasgow’s lecture season with one on Wellbeing in Scotland. Here’s what I took from it - with some surprises!

Wellbeing is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing. We Scots get bad press … a picture of smokers tucking into food like the photo, drinking excessively and sedentary. Actually, the only one that’s true is we drink too much. The change in culture and licensing laws in the 1990’s has led to us having the highest average in Europe.

Nonetheless, wealthier Scots have longer life expectancy counterposed with the poorest 20%’s lives shortening since the 1950’s. Overall we therefore have a declining life expectancy. The main drivers of this inequality are drugs, alcohol, suicide and violence - it’s the young who are dying early. The professor pointed out that many supporters for right-wing fringe parties and Trump supporters come from these deprived backgrounds. Happily, those born into deprivation are not bound to fail.

“Having a Why helps you cope with any How” The causes of wellness are:

  • An optimistic outlook - it really pays to have one!

  • A sense of control/our internal locus of control - so professionals’ jobs are typically less stressful and believing you can influence outcomes is better.

  • A sense of purpose and meaning - having a family to care for was a factor in Holocaust survival.

  • Confidence to deal with problems.

  • A supportive network - being connected to your friends and community is beneficial.

  • Enjoying a nurturing family.

Our social and physical environment must be comprehendible, manageable and meaningful or individuals experience chronic stress leading to inflammation/diseases.

(Go to the end to read how I can help or read on to see how it affects our society.)

What does this mean for Scotland?

The consequences of despair in childhood

The consequences of despair in childhood

Sir Harry explained that it is adversity, the lack of wellbeing, that causes major problems. Chaotic parenting, perhaps from addicted parents, causes depression - the child has no sense of coherence or control. The emotional parts of the brain are affected - the thinking part less active but the emotional arousal higher - the child is therefore less able to learn and cope with their emotions. At the molecular level a comforting hug makes a difference - without which epigenetic change means the stress response can’t be switched off leading to poor health and outcomes. These children have poor life expectations, do badly at school, have increased chronic diseases, weight-problems, Type 2 diabetes, stroke and other. In short the Government would be better tackling the factors of despair and adversity in young children than cutting out sugar!

Sir Harry closed by saying transforming people’s ability to cope is how to begin to get to grips with this complex problem. It is financially savvy and more effective than being fished out by NHS rescuers.

How Audrey @ Summit can help…

“Helping you make positive change” using Life Coaching, NLP or Hypnotherapy is my mission. I can help you tackle confidence and optimism issues, help you exert more personal control, make career change, find new purpose or develop your social life. My email is audrey@summitlifecoaching.co.uk, my number 075 548 54321. I work from Mulberry House Complementary Health Clinic in the West End of Edinburgh and coaching is available by Skype/phone if more convenient.


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