Our whole wellbeing – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually – is affected by our attitude and approach to life. How we think and feel affects not only our physical body but also affects how we approach life in general, how we move forward, how we create a better fulfilling experience for ourselves.
Absolutely everybody is affected by negative situations that cause us stress and tension but how well we cope depends on how we view our overall life.
We have all had challenging situations in our life and nobody can expect to be 100% happy all of the time. However, instead of viewing our life as one filled with “mistakes”, how about looking these things as lessons in what not to do?
On a bigger picture view, life is about learning. We cannot expect to know everything and guess what, as part of learning, we don’t always get it right. That’s why it’s called learning.
The key here is to recognize the lesson, and move forwards.
If we then look at our life from the view of the cup being half full as opposed to half empty, we do have a better chance of attaining our goals and being successful, and thus, happy.
There are times in our lives when it seems like it is all too much or too hard and we become disheartened and 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.
Stress is a major factor in many illnesses or disease. 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.
One way to minimize stress is to participate in more physical activities as these are well known to release endorphins throughout the body through oxygenated blood, and help us to get rid of aggression, stress and general frustrations.
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, “Sometimes it is just about getting out and about. Walking around outside gives me a positive feeling about life, it’s about being able to connect with the simple things in mother nature – the chirping of the birds, the breeze on my face, watching the animals in their natural surroundings.”
“Working in the garden has a magic all of its own and can be very therapeutic. Planting seeds, tidying the fallen leaves, managing the weeds can all be help be beneficial in relaxing and calming us, not to mention just getting us out of the house and into the fresh air.“
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.
We can improve our mental attitude, by simply taking some time out of the daily routine for ourselves, for our state of mind. Nobody can realistically expect to feel great physically if they are feeling low emotionally.
Meditation (or mindfulness), call it what you will, is a simple but key factor to making our inner selves feel better.
This can be done 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. As you see or feel this energy leaving you, it should make you feel more at ease, even lighter within yourself.
Then imagine small, glittery particles of bright light being brought into your being, and this leads to feelings of upliftment. Done whenever you feel upset or stressed, it can reduce tension and stress.
Studies have been completed on the effects of meditation and mindfulness practices. One such study was completed by Barbara Frederickson, a Psychology Researcher at the University of North Carolina. Her study1 was 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.
Directed thoughts are another way to bring about an improved feeling of health and wellbeing. By focusing on our own happiness, we can decrease the effect that negative thoughts have on our mind and body.
When feeling a bit down or overwhelmed, 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 a different 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. Meditation has even been implemented in some schools and the results show that where these practices have been applied, students feel more connected to each other, and there are lower cases of bullying and harassment.
By using meditation, we can unlock the power of the unconscious mind and this is a simple and effective solution to finding peace within.
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.