Create and craft a sense of personal wellbeing using these practical tools
Self–reflection is probably the most valuable tool in your Wellbeing Toolbox. Taking time to sit and think about yourself – who you are, what is important to you, what you dream of, how you want to be in this world and what you want to do. Watch the presentation to learn more.
Identity is such an individual thing. And at the same time many of us draw our sense of identity from the community around us – our ancestors, our geography, our family, our culture, how we were raised in our community. It is about who you think you are and how you think about yourself.
For me it is about a Sense of Place – feeling grounded internally and externally. The image here is a self-portrait I painted a few years ago with my favourite quote added. I even have these words tattooed on my arm. These are a couple of ways I express my Identity. How do you like to express yours?
It is that age old question – Who Am I?
Watch the TED-Ed video and perhaps gain an interesting insight into developing this all-important Wellbeing Tool – your Identity.
Then listen to what Rebeca Hwang has to say about The Power of Diversity within Yourself.
Values are the things that are important to you personally, as well as in the context of your community. What you and the people around you value or think of as important will guide how you act and the decisions you make in life. Values are your guiding forces.
If you want to live mindfully and with intention it is good to have a clear understanding of your values. Your values will change over time as you grow and life gives you new situations and circumstances to consider. So, checking in regularly with what is important to you is a good life skill.
There are lots of different ways to reflect on your values . A simple method I use is to look at a list of values words and pick the five that are most important to me at that moment. Let’s try it…
Look carefully at the Values words in the word cloud image. Make a list of the ones that are most important to you right now. Once you have a list of about ten keep thinking about which ones are more important until you get your list down to five Values.
These are your five most important Values at this moment in time. Reflect on how your Values could shape your decisions going forward.
There is a beautiful concept from the Māori people of Aotearoa/New Zealand – Hauora. This philosophy (which is recognised by the World Health Organisation) holds that there are four aspects of wellbeing – physical, mental and emotional, social, and spiritual.
Dr Mason Durie , an expert in Māori health, developed a model comparing the four walls of a house to this philosophy of Hauora. Each of the four aspects is a wall of the house. There needs to be a balance between the physical, mental and emotional, social and spiritual for the “house” to be strong and functional.
The physical aspect of wellbeing is the most straightforward – our bodies growing and developing and functioning as they should. We know when our bodies feel unwell or when we feel healthy and fit.
The mental and emotional aspect of wellbeing covers our thoughts and feelings and how we communicate these constructively. This is also about how we acknowledge and deal with difficult thoughts and emotions.
Social wellbeing focuses on relationships, our sense of belonging, compassion and kindness, considering more than just ourselves.
And finally, spiritual wellbeing – how you see yourself, your identity, your values and beliefs.
Reflect on how you can bring more Balance to your Hauora House. Start with celebrating your strongest aspects. Then consider how you might bring that positive energy into the aspects that aren’t yet as strong for you.
There are three key steps to help you in your Dreaming.
First, you need to believe in yourself. Give yourself permission to dream, to let your imagination run wild. Find a quiet space, take a few deep, slow breaths and then ask yourself – if time and money did not matter, what would I want for my life? See where your imagination takes you. Perhaps write down the list of dreams that come. Don’t put any limits on this. Dream about every aspect of your life – education, family, career, health, hobbies, interests, friends, community – whatever comes to mind.
Then take a day or two after this exercise before coming back to your list. Pick one or two Dreams that you think you want to focus on in the immediate future. Write these down and place them somewhere safe or keep them with you all the time.
The last step is up to you. You can either keep these Dreams safe and close in your mind waiting as opportunity presents to see them come true. Or you could start to break them down into smaller goals or actions, and set milestones for these goals. Or a combination of these steps.
These ideas are just suggestions. There are no rules or a magic formula to follow when dreaming. The most important thing is to truly believe you are worthy of your Dreams no matter how impossible they may seem to you now.
Realistically, all we have any control over is how we live today, now, in the present.
As our ‘now’ is often complicated and sometimes troubled, we need to develop Resilience. Life is bittersweet in nature. Resilience is the ability to withstand adversity and bounce back from our doubts and difficult life events. Developing Resilience is another vital tool in your Wellbeing Toolbox.
If there was only one lesson that I could share with you to help you be resilient and really live in the present, it would be to learn the practice of Gratitude. Gratitude is a mindset and a choice. Finding something, even just one small thing daily, for which you can be grateful will change your life and do wonders for your Wellbeing! The more thankful thoughts, the merrier.
I have a daily Gratitude practice of listing at least one thing I am thankful for every night before I go to sleep. You could write this down in a pretty notebook, or there are plenty of good apps around these days.
In my experience Gratitude leads to Hope. Hope is a powerful motivator – it gets you moving and shaking your World. With Gratitude and Hope your future, and the future of Mother Earth, can become less insecure.
Another tool you can add to Gratitude to help you stay present and focused is to learn to be ‘mindful’. A Mindfulness practice can take many forms. I like the approach of Action for Happiness and have found their resources really useful.
Whatever form you find that works for you, it is sure to cultivate Resilience and Emotional Agility. If you would like to learn more about the power and benefits of emotional agility, I highly recommend Susan David PHD’s book – Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change and Thrive in Work and Life – and her TED talk.
Storytelling is so important to the human experience. Many anthropologists and sociologists that have studied humans report how significant sharing and hearing stories is to us as a species.
Give yourself permission to own your story and take Your Place in the World.
Ways of storytelling are as unique as each of us. Take your time with this tool… craft your ideal Creative outlet to express your Story.
You could write a story, of course, or share your ideas as a poem or a song or a play or a painting or a drawing or a bunch of photos or a poster or a carving or woven into a cloth or basket or any other way you can think of or imagine…. Let your imagination run free!
Here’s some links to useful further learning about Storytelling:
Wellbeing is a journey.
It is much easier to tackle this journey step by step each day. Some days will be easier than others. It is important not to judge the bad ones and then stop the journey.
The work of Arianna Huffington and Thrive Global is brilliant at explaining this. They talk about microsteps in different areas of your life as being revolutionary in your wellbeing journey. Having tried this technique myself, I agree.
Some of the areas of life you can thrive in using microsteps include sleep, nutrition, movement, focus, relationship with technology and work-life balance.
Here’s a couple of extra resources on the subject of Thriving with Microsteps.