Don’t let your health go bankrupt

May 27, 2020 09:58
Photo: Reuters

Hong Kong has been filled with depression due to social unrest since mid last year together with the covid-19 epidemic this year. Professor Lisa Feldman Barrett, an American neurobiologist, pointed out that the impact of depressed social atmosphere is far-reaching, it can damage neurons. Many brain diseases, such as Parkinson's disease, dementia, etc., are caused by neurological injury.

Her research found that the brain concentration in monitoring the overall and individual elements, such as salt, water, glucose, and other essential elements, functions like the body's finance manager, to make sure a solid finance base is maintained. When necessary, the brain will instruct the body to absorb extra glucose and nutrients, so as to support increased activities in learning, exercise, social contact, and releasing tension to maintain health.

Occasionally, we get sick or stay up all night because of work or entertainment, and the body will fire an alarm signal; if we continue such practice in the long run, the overdraft of the body budget will get the immune system out of balance. When our health goes bankrupt, various chronic diseases such as diabetes, dementia and obesity will appear.

Depression is also a result of health bankruptcy. When the body is heavily in debt, it stops energy consumption, and the two biggest consumptions of the brain are learning new knowledge and engaging in various activities, so the patients are always unable to work hard and lack motivation to socialize.

In fact, mental health is a global problem. According to the research firm CB Insights, it is estimated that the global value of wellness industry is about US$3.7 trillion. Therefore, many companies are capitalizing on the wellness hype. For example, car manufacturers use artificial intelligence to detect passengers' emotions, making timely adjustments to their environment to soothe and relax the passengers, such as fragrance, music, lighting, temperature and seat adjustment. An airline partnering with a startup provides programs that guide passengers to meditate, and immersive broadcast services that help passengers to fall asleep.

We must work hard to maintain our health, i.e., to maintain a solid financial base. Professor Barrett suggested not to place mobile phone in the bedroom for a good sleep is a good start indeed.

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Adjunct Professor, Department of Geography, Faculty of Social Sciences; and Faculty of Architecture, The University of Hong Kong