Let's find ways to Flourish!
We live in a fast paced, often tumultuous society in which we are confronted with new problems and stressors on a near daily basis. Whether it be challenges we face at work, conflicts with family or friends, or much larger scale issues like the climate crisis, it is easy to become overwhelmed and feel helpless.
It can be difficult to comprehend the effects these challenges have on us and our feelings. They can cause us to feel stressed, anxious and unfulfilled in our relationships with ourselves, our loved ones and our surroundings. It is understandable that we are often left thinking “What I am missing? There must be something more.”
The wellbeing model integrates multiple aspects of our lives, promoting a more holistic approach to leading a fulfilling life. As opposed to being a state of mind or a response to stimuli, wellbeing is a much broader concept of what it means to flourish, and what is necessary to allow us to do so.
Wellbeing has value in itself...
I see a lot of people - especially professional women, mid-career with plenty to manage at home and at work, just really struggling. And I have been there too - heck, every other week! When I was wrestling with the stress of life back at work after my second go with cancer my counselor asked me if I meditated. I said, "No, I have tried, but I either hyperventilate or can't really clear my mind."
She suggested I try one of the Apps for meditation and I did. I use Headspace every day now, and it has fundamentally changed my life. No, it is not all better all at once, it is not a panacea, but I am more at ease - more content. And what could be better than that? Like Dan Harris' book about his journey to meditation, I am definitely "10% Happier".
Incorporating practices into your life that encourage the development of your mind-body connection can result in significant mental and physical health benefits.
Tuning into your body and emotions can be achieved through practices such as...
“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.” - Henri Nouwen
The practice of gratitude has proven to have a substantial impact on the wellbeing and happiness of individuals who consistently express thankfulness for the things and people in their lives, no matter how big or small.
It is important to keep in mind that nobody’s life is perfect. We all experience negative emotions and difficult circumstances but being able to acknowledge the things you are grateful for is an important part in helping you overcome your struggles and feel content with your life.
In fact, one of the best ways to identify your gratitude is by visualizing your life without the positive events that you have experienced. By imagining the absence of these events, you will be able to develop an even stronger appreciation that they did in fact occur and are present in your life.
How you can express gratitude
In expressing gratitude, you will be able...
Sounds is interesting. It has the power to transport us to a calm and centred frame of mind or to stress us out. While a babbling brook might feel calming to our nervous system, traffic, the sounds of the urban environment, or noisy neighbours can stress us out. So what makes some sound pleasant and others stressful?
Is sound really just subjective and could we train ourselves to observe sound without judgment and simply use it as a tool to connect with ourselves?
When we find ourselves facing eco-anxiety, mindfulness is an excellent tool to help ourselves be more present, and gain perspective, but we often think about meditation or mindfulness as requiring a calm environment. However, in addition to basic breathwork, soundscapes are all around us all of the time and present an opportunity to tune in to our surroundings and practice mindfulness.
“Once you are meditative, music will naturally be a part of your life. Everything is vibration – everything is sound.” -...
“A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” – Marcus Garvey
Wisdom and cultural heritage are inherited and passed down from generation to generation. The knowledge and cultural heritage that is passed down creates a sense of belonging and strengthens cultural ties between generations.
Oral traditions, skills, belongings, languages, social practices, and natural environments are all part of cultural heritage and wisdom. They are often learned from previous generations and are considered an integral part of our identity.
The elements that are shared between generations represent the memories and knowledge of the past, as well as their importance in the present moment and in the future. Much of our knowledge of how to live sustainably originates in the principles and wisdom passed down from our ancestors.
Traditions and nuggets of wisdom are passed down not by accident, but because they are deemed...
We seek out nature for many reasons – for recreation, quiet and solitude, exercise, nature views, and plenty more. But did you know that nature has measurable positive effects on our physiological and psychological wellbeing?
You may have noticed that spending time in the outdoors leaves you feeling refreshed with an improved mood. You might even find yourself seeking out nature during times when you are stressed, upset, or feeling under the weather.
The biophilia hypothesis is the idea that humans have an innate tendency to seek connections and associate with nature. The term biophilia literally translates to “love of life.” American biologist Edward O. Wilson proposed in his work Biophilia (1984) that the tendency for humans seek out life and lifelike processes is biologically ingrained.
Throughout the course of our evolution, the natural environment has been conducive to our survival and enhanced our physical, emotional, and intellectual fitness. We depended...
“It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.” - Robert Louis Stevenson
Forest bathing is a mental and physical wellbeing exercise that emerged in Japan in the 1980s. The Japanese name, shinrin-yoku, can be directly translated into the English words “forest” and “bath.”
This exercise, as its name suggests, involves immersing yourself in nature and connecting to your surroundings through sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste. Unlike many organized outdoor activities that involve physical exercises such as hiking, sports, swimming, or jogging, forest bathing only requires your presence in nature.
Although forest bathing may seem intuitive, our growing disconnect from nature means that we are not taking the time to be present in nature as often as we should.
"Yoga makes you harmonious with nature and teaches you to be joyfully curious about your inner world." - Debasish Mridha
Yoga is a mind-body practice that has been around for thousands of years and continues to be a popular method of exercise and wellness today.
And good news, it is not just for the fit and flexible. There is a yoga practice for every body type and ability.
Some physical benefits of practicing yoga include increased flexibility, increased muscle tone and strength, lowered blood pressure, better posture, and improved balance.
These physical benefits are accompanied by many mental benefits as well. Yoga practices often incorporate meditation and breathing exercises in order to reduce stress, increase awareness of your body and movements, aid in sleep, and increase mental clarity.
But even beyond the physical and mental benefits, when we connect deeply with our bodies, we begin to find a new relationship to ourselves and the natural world. Our bodies are made of the...
Mindfulness is a term that you are likely to hear and read about quite often. It has become a bit of a buzzword, but despite its recent popularity, mindfulness isn’t a new fad. It's actually a basic human ability that anyone can tap into. Essentially, mindfulness is the ability to centre oneself in the present moment and become aware of our actions without becoming overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.
Even though you may understand the basic premise of mindfulness, it can still be difficult to achieve, and actually feel the positive impacts in your daily life, especially during stressful times (like a pandemic) or when we have other life challenges. But, this is when we actually need it most.
One of the ways mindfulness can help improve your life is through its ability to reduce stress. Mindfulness is being recommended for people going through a variety of especially stressful situations such as serious illness and can be used to also help us at least in part,...