I see many people each week who come to see me feeling distressed, overwhelmed and burnt out. They sit in the chair opposite me and explain that they work 12 hour days, don’t have time for breakfast and lunch – come home exhausted, change into their PJs and fluffy socks the moment they walk in their front door and then fall asleep in front of the TV. Then they sit opposite me pondering why they feel so low and lethargic with no energy to spare.
Well I have to say – the answer is not rocket science!!
WELLBEING IS NOT A SPECTATOR SPORT.
If you want to get something different or feel something different then you have to do something different.
We really just have to consider the investment we put into ourselves is the investment we will reap. So, you have to sit in a bit of quiet reflection and actually ask yourself – “How much do I invest in myself every day, every week and every year?”
In addition to nourishing your body and participating in physical activities you enjoy, there are many other ways you can improve your mental health and wellbeing.
Well-being is associated with balance, understanding, acceptance and constant growth. Consider some great ways you can enhance your personal wellbeing and thrive:
1. Accept your emotions.
Some would argue that most of our physical, mental and relational problems come from our inability to adequately experience emotions. We deny, bury, project, rationalise, medicate, drink away, smother in comfort food, sleep off, sweat out, suck (it) up and sweep under the rug our sadness, anger and fear.
We tend to spend more energy on avoiding our emotions than we do on actually feeling them. The key is to give yourself unconditional permission to experience your emotions. When we let our guard down and experience our emotional responses to situations, we may then be able to better understand why it hurts and what we want to do about the situation.
Writing about negative emotions also helps. According to clinical psychologist Darlene Mininni, research has shown that people who write about their deepest emotions are less depressed and more positive about life than before they started writing.
2. Step Outside Your Comfort Zone. You have probably heard of keeping a gratitude diary. I also think it’s great to keep a “PUSH” diary. Structure and routine are important. But you also might get stuck in a rut. And that means you’re not growing. So, challenge yourself and PUSH yourself outside your comfort zone at least once a day. Challenge yourself to take a risk each day, whether it’s talking to someone new, buying a different coffee than you normally would, asserting yourself, trusting someone, dancing, setting a tough workout goal or anything that pushes you out of your comfort zone.
3. Be introspective. Avoid coasting through life without assessing yourself and reflecting. Ask yourself questions such as “Am I in denial about anything or resisting anything anywhere in my life?”
You can also take a step back and consider where your thoughts, feelings and behaviours are coming from. Ask yourself “Is that thought helpful?” “It this behaviour necessary?” “Is there a better option?”
4. Laugh. Let’s be honest – we really do take life far too seriously. Did you know that kids laugh about 200 times per day and we adults only laugh an average of 15 times per day. What if we simply took the opportunity to laugh as many times as we could. How could this make us feel?
5. Identify and use your strengths. Using your strengths can have a fantastic way of focusing us on what we are really good at and what energises us. We so often think about a negative experience and all the things we are lacking when considering how to manage the situation. Instead focus on what you can do based on the strengths that you have.
Not sure what your strengths are? Then take this link and do your VIA Character Strength’s profile.
6. Reassess what you believe. We psychologists are aware of the fact that “A belief is just a thought that you keep on having”. So what do you keep on saying to yourself? What vicious cycle of negative thinking are you trapped in? These negative thoughts not only sink our mood, but we start to see them as truths. How about considering how you could challenge some of your thinking.
7. Do what makes you happy first thing. Sometimes it can feel like you’re going through your day on autopilot, and that can get tedious and depressing. Start your day off on a positive note by engaging in an enjoyable activity every morning. Take your dog for a walk, go for a swim (now that the weather’s getting warmer), eat something nice for breakfast, meditate or sit out in the garden and drink your morning brew. This can completely shift your outlook and lift your mood to start your day.
8. Get rid of rotten eggs. There’s usually at least one rotten egg in your life that’s dragging down your mental outlook. Identify your rotten eggs and figure out how to remove them. Your rotten eggs might seem small. But even annoyances can add up and chip away at your mood and well-being.
9. Ta Da List we have all heard of a “To Do List”. Well how about writing a “Ta Da List”. Write down a list of as many things you can think of that recharge and rejuvenate you. It could be sitting with your family for dinner, a long talk with your partner, reading a book in the sunshine, a mindful walk, taking a bubble bath. What ever you can think of that takes under 30 mins. Have this list as long as possible and filled with as many pleasurable experiences as you can come up with. Then dedicate yourself to ticking off two of the things on the list each day.
10. Design your WAP. A WAP is a “Wellbeing Action Plan”. You can’t just hope you will wake up tomorrow and have wellbeing. You have to want it and you have to work for it. Remember “wellbeing is not a spectator sport”. So, what are you going to do about it? What plan could you design for yourself to promote your personal wellbeing.
Want to know more about maximising your wellbeing? Contact Michelle on 0412047590 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org