Issue 37, August 2014, London

Hello there...

There is something about London in the summer that makes it truly the wonderful city that I know it is. Perhaps it’s this heat wave which, regardless of how you feel about wilting in the sun or embracing eating al fresco, undoubtedly makes a lot of people much happier. Perhaps it’s the beautiful pink skies at dusk that almost transport you to an exotic island (we are on an island after all). Perhaps it’s the throngs of people out on the South Bank and in all our fine parks, their distant chatter lifting high above our heads.

Either way I love summer, this time of true and complete yang. It is the time when plants come alive with a final burst of colour and scent (there is this wonderful residential street just off King’s Road where one house’s jasmine gives you a heady rush every time you pass by – an absolute delight in urban London).
This year we have been lucky with the weather: blue skies are a lot more becoming of summer than grey drizzle. Even the thunderstorms a few weeks ago looked so much more dramatic, a perfect example of nature’s theatre. However, it’s not just the weather that makes summer, it’s the tangible change in rhythm and tempo of the life.
The calendar dictates that the year begins in January but I believe summer, and especially August, is the perfect time to wrap up and prepare for a new chapter. It is hard to escape the structure of the school year even after all these years, and I think it’s because it is so logical. Summer is a time of reflection, for children it is the time to digest all the new and exciting ideas they learned in the previous 10 months – so why should we stop that just because we are no longer sixteen?
For me, the world comes into Technicolor at this time of year – making every train journey a perfect time to truly appreciate and be mindful. There is the maxim “Fake it till you make it” which traditionally describes a way to build your self confidence. I use that idea but to enhance the sense of blessed bliss so that when I’m caught up in a blurred world I consciously take the time to slow down just two seconds, look around me and smile.
Use this month to reflect and decide how you want to spend the rest of the year. I spend all year adding book titles that I come across to my “wish list”, just as a handy way to remember without taking too much effort. Then in August, I go through this year-long list when I have a little more time to decide whether it was just a whim or whether I’m still interested, and then hey presto, I go to the bookstore and buy enough books to last me for the next twelve months.
Is this a little too over-the-top, planning my reading lists? What about life’s impulses which are also a joy in itself? Of course, I make impulse purchases like the next person, but part of creating one’s happiness is planning and creating the perfect environment for it to occur. We spend a considerable amount of time looking at universities, the ideal job, the perfect holiday destination and the dream home, so why do we just let happiness float in and out of our day? I know some people who make their lives look effortless, constantly surrounded by light and joy that almost looks accidental. Almost, but not quite.
They come from different backgrounds and countries: some are married, others are not; some have children, some do not. But one thing they have in common is their bright approach to life. They are the ones who say, “Busy day by the river, great time with friends,” rather than “With friends by the river, too many people out”. They know the importance of words and actions and how it can influence our brains and moods.
Take delight in your surroundings. Breathe in the sweet air.

+ 8 simple ways to have meaningful happiness.

+ Take a walk in the park to ease brain fatigue.

Laughter May Be the Best Medicine for Age-Related Memory Loss

And to continue the theme of happiness we move onto laughter. We all know the saying, “laughter is the best medicine” – now research has shown that laughter can also enhance our memory. This is because laughter is a stress reliever, and stress can have negative impacts on our health and cognitive functions. So, don’t wait till you’re 90, start incorporating some belly laughs in your life now. Read the research here.

50 Kinds of Food You Should be Eating

A few of the ones listed are exotic (numbers 45, 46, 48) but most of these provide a delicious way to give your body the nutrients it needs without taking a lot of supplements.

Why Our Simplistic Approach to Healthy Eating is Doing More Harm Than Good

Recently the Guardian had an article reporting the research published by consumer group Which? that shows shoppers can save up to £440 by swapping “superfoods” with cheaper alternatives.

This is one of my pet peeves: well-intentioned dietary (b)advice that ends up comparing apples with oranges.


Spread the Word

Many of you are experiencing great results from acupuncture, so please do continue spreading the word of this wonderful therapy. If your friends or family have any questions, I would be glad to help.

Other News: Holiday Notice

Just a reminder that I am away until 7 August. There are still some appointments available for Friday, 8 August (location: The Hale Clinic). Please contact the Clinic on 020 7631 0156.
I will be having a tech detox while I am away, so email responses may take longer than usual.

+ Pointspace at two locations:
The Hale Clinic 020 7631 0156 and Neal’s Yard Remedies, King's Road 020 7225 2050.

And Finally...

In Greece, summer was punctuated by the sound of crickets at night. It was an absolute symphony and I still miss not hearing that sound lulling me to sleep. But being part of nature’s orchestra isn’t their only job - I found out recently they can help you estimate the temperature outside too.
In degrees Celsius, count number of chirps in 25 seconds, divide by 3, then add 4 to get temperature. For example: 48 chirps / 3 + 4 = 20° C

In degrees Fahrenheit, count number of chirps in 14 seconds then add 40 to get temperature. For example: 30 chirps + 40 = 70° F

I don’t hear many crickets where I live now, but if you do try it and let me know. The main difficulty with this method is you've got to be able to single out one cricket from many.

Ka Hang Leoungk
Managing Editor, Pointspace

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