Most people prefer to lead a happy healthy life.

Since 1938, neuroscientists have been following the lives of more than 3000 people from varied backgrounds. Many of these people are now in their 80s. Every year we have collected data on their diet, work life, lifestyle and relationships, and on their dominant mood and physical and mental health.

We are surprised to find that people who have had a good friend, have had a better chance of leading a happy healthy life into their 80s, than, for example, people who reported having a good sex life, a stable marriage, or a successful career alone. People who were married, were less likely to have affairs or get divorced, when they described their partner as a “good friend”, rather than “good in bed”.

When asked what made a friend, a “good friend”, different people said different things, like: shared interests, shared values, and similar lifestyles, but almost everyone said that a “good friend” was someone you could talk to honestly and in confidence.

At Time-to-Talk, we have studied how talking, amongst things like diet and lifestyle, can produce in your brain, the chemical conditions necessary for you to feel good and for your immune system to work well. Talking helps “ feel-good” chemicals, like oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine, which are produced in your gut and your heart, to enter your brain, via your vagus nerve.

Talking reduces the concentration of acidic chemicals, like cortisol, in your brain. The chemical reactions involved in cognitive processes like critical thinking, remembering and having creative ideas, are all favoured by having alkaline conditions in your brain. High levels of acidic chemicals, like the cortisol derivatives associated with fear, stress and anxiety, produce a condition which many people have described as a kind of “ brain fog”.

These same acidic conditions also slow down your recovery from illness.

Chemical explanations have helped us to understand the way talking will help you to raise your mood and your self motivation and your mental energy, as well as helping you to speed up your ability to think critically and creatively.

Talking therapies can reduce your need to take medication to alleviate depression and chronic pain.

Some types of conversation benefit your mood and your health faster than others. Conversational Practitioners who work for Time-to-Talk, are trained to have consultancy and counselling conversations which can improve your physical and mental well being and which will enhance your ability to…

  • Analyse information,
  • Formulate original ideas,
  • Take timely decisions,
  • Implement plans.