Our attitude and approach to life has an effect on our whole wellbeing – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Nobody can expect to be 100% happy all of the time, but the person who views the cup half full as opposed to half empty does have a better chance of attaining their goals and being successful, and thus, happy. Unfortunately, sometimes life can seem like it is all too much and we become overwhelmed, perhaps even blowing a fuse. When this happens it can adversely affect our job, our relationship with our spouse/partner, family members, or friends.
With all the stress in people’s lives is it any wonder that many people struggle to cope? Critically, if stress is not managed, it can manifest in physical illness in our body and symptoms may include headaches or migraines, irritability, stomach tightness or upset, ulcers, back pain or other joint pain, depression, a low immune system or generally being run down. All sorts of physical ailments can arise from stressful situations.
Physical activities are well known to release endorphins throughout the body through oxygenated blood, and help us to get rid of aggression, stress and general frustrations.
However, exercise doesn’t have to be a workout at a gym, in fact, as we get older, we may find that we can do less on a physical level, but still get a lot of enjoyment from walking around a park, getting into the garden, or dancing.
Glenn often says, “Walking around outside gives me a positive feeling about life, it’s about connecting with the simple things in mother nature – the sounds of the birds, the wind on my face, watching the animals in their natural habitat.”
“Pottering around in the garden, planting seeds, tidying the fallen leaves, managing the weeds can all be therapeutic on their own.“
Clearing clutter can be applied in our minds, as well as in our gardens. Our physical bodies are a reflection of what goes on within our minds, and whilst physical exercise is what any doctor might recommend for physical improvements, having a positive mindset can often influence, and bring enhancements to our mental health. There needs to be a balance of healthy body and healthy mind.
There is a key to improving our mental attitude, and it is simply to just take some time out of the daily routine for ourselves, for our state of mind.
Meditation (or mindfulness), call it what you will, is a simple but key factor to making our inner selves feel better. Nobody can realistically expect to feel great physically if they are feeling low emotionally.
Anyone can make themselves feel better by focusing on simple breathing exercises and releasing any negative emotions, hurt or stress. A great way to do this is by visualizing anything that you feel bad about as black smoke leaving your body.
Then visualize tiny, sparkly particles of bright light being brought into your being, and this leads to feelings of refreshment and upliftment. Done whenever you feel upset or stressed, it reduces tension to minimal levels.
Barbara Frederickson, a Psychology Researcher at the University of North Carolina, has completed a study1 on the science of positive thinking and her results show that, when participants practice a daily loving-kindness meditation, it leads to increases in further experiences of positive emotions.
This has a flow on result and produces increases in mindfulness, purpose in life, social support and a decrease in symptoms of illness.
Another way to bring about an improved feeling of health and wellbeing is via directed thoughts.
Go to your ‘happy’ place, which is a place in your mind where you feel positive and peaceful, even if for only a few minutes. It is a good way to “escape”, think things through, and get some proper perspective on life’s challenges. It also brings about clearer thinking when we return to our regular mind set.
Other studies show that positive emotions can contribute to:
• Marital/relationship satisfaction
• Higher incomes
• Friendship/social development, and
• Better physical health.
Meditation can play an important role in helping our bodies cope and improving our state of awareness. It is no longer about Buddhist monks sitting on a mountain top and chanting. In fact, meditation has become much more a part of the mainstream with some schools implementing these practices into the curriculum.
There are also other powerful benefits to meditation, namely that it can unlock the power of the unconscious mind and is a simple and effective solution to finding peace within.
In our extremely time sensitive and fast paced world, we are becoming further and further disconnected from each other and ourselves.
Like anything, you need practice in quietening the “monkey mind” from daily distractions and that is a skill in itself, but the rewards are there. Even if meditation is not your thing, four powerful techniques for improving your mind set are:
• Re-evaluate priorities – what is important right now and what can be delayed?
• Go for a walk – even some exercise is better than none and it gives you a chance to think, contemplate, or just be.
• Daily quiet time – take ten to twenty minutes to unwind, relax, meditate or have a bath, with no interruptions from the phone, TV, kids or family.
• Have fun – make sure to incorporate some fun time into your life – go out with friends, catch a movie, play sport or do a hobby.
Importantly, take time out from the routine of your everyday chores and tasks.
Nurturing wellness is about making sure our physical and mental needs are being met and this will go a long way toward improving our overall happiness and welfare.