A Personal MOT

Posted by Lee Johnson, Monday 10th December, 2018

François Isaac de Rivaz was a French inventor and politician. In 1807 he invented the first internal combustion engine, which was fitted into one of the greatest human inventions, the automobile.
“What on earth has this got to do with self-development and wellbeing?” I can hear you say.
Well, this invention has allowed us to travel the world, to transport goods, to deliver aid, and on a more personal level, has helped us to work, study and maintain social connections.

So the automobile aka car, has a number of known benefits, but there are unfortunately, some negatives, such as when a car stops working, say on a cold December morning, when you’re on your way to work, and of course, already running late…(BEEEP#*!)

We depend on cars so much, that when they break down, they can disturb our normal life patterns very quickly. When a car petrol engine stops working, there really could be 101 differing diagnoses depending on the mechanic that you talk to. Some problems can be expensive, some very time consuming and others may completely misdiagnose, adding more time and money to our inconvenience. But ultimately, when you really break it down, a petrol engine only needs three elements to function well:


So if an engine is not running, it is really recommended that the basics are checked early, to prevent expense and the potential prolonged pain of not having any transport. As it turned out, the fault on the cold November morning, was a little sensor which helped my engine to spark.

Back to Basics

I am guessing that by now you are getting the analogy.

I find this approach very true with regards to people who may be experiencing any mental or physical symptoms: and my message … Step one: “Always go back to the basics first!”

Of course, I am not saying, do not seek medical help, but you could save yourself some time by investigating three areas of your life, which play a key part in a healthy human being, similar to the car analogy:

  1. Hydration / Nutrition
  2. Sleep
  3. Emotional State

I would like to give you an extreme, but true, example of this:

A man who was in prison, was taking medication for some mild to moderate mental health problems. His mental health started to deteriorate, so the prison staff decided to increase his medication.

Soon after, his condition deteriorated, communication broke down, and he went into a psychotic state. He trashed his cell, assaulted the guards and became unmanageable for the prison service, so the forensic mental health services were called in to help.

Once admitted onto a mental health ward, he still displayed the same behaviours, but if anything, a little worse. He had all of the relevant medical and medication reviews, and to be honest, everyone was a little confused and running out of ideas.

That was until, one very experienced nurse asked,  “When was the last time he went to the toilet?” No one could answer; no one had any idea of this gentleman ever going to the toilet.

He was given a laxative, started going to the toilet, and within 24 hours he began communicating again. Within 3 days he was playing board games with the nurses, and after a few weeks returned to prison.

I know this is an extreme example, but it does really highlight the importance of checking the basics!

Personal Maintenance

 So the next time you feel ill, run down, suffering with aches, pains or just generally frustrated, here are some questions to consider on the physical aspects:

  • How is my nutrition, sleep and emotional wellbeing?
  • Do they need adjusting in some way? If so, what specific adjustments do I need?
  • Skip the pizza, have a salad and avocado instead?
  • Have I been staring at the computer screen for too many hours?
  • Since bodies were designed to move, how have I moved mine today?
  • Or do I need to stop, pause, rejuvenate and recharge my batteries?

And for the emotional aspect, perhaps ask yourself these types of questions:

  • What is the one thing I need most right now?
  • How could I give that to myself?
  • Do I need rest, rejuvenation, self-expression, a hug, to shout, to write it all out, to speak, to be alone?

Practise listening and responding to your body

Sometimes life can be so busy, that we eat convenience foods with low nutritional value, work too hard and eventually burn ourselves out, meaning that we have missed the vital signs that our bodies have been trying to communicate to us:

“Essential maintenance needed!”

Learn to listen to your body in an ongoing dialogue and your body, and mind will perform at its best.

Remember a car is valuable, especially one that has been well looked after, serviced and polished! So, whether you see your body as your temple, or your car … remember that some basic adjustments can make all the difference in maintaining yourself in optimum balance and condition!

© 2018 Lee Johnson


Photo credit: Pixabay


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Lee Johnson

MindBody Health Coach

Lee is an experienced MindBody Health Coach, he helps people over come chronic pain and other ailments which are caused by bottled up emotions and/or past trauma. Using a lot of coaching tools and NLP techniques, he coaches people out of a place of dis-ease to one of health and wellbeing.

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