How do you put the well in wellness?
How you are doing? Good. How are you? Good. Sound familiar? We often say this but really are we good? And what does “fine” mean? You may be feeling better than good or you may be feeling worse. So why not just be honest? This thought occurred to me yesterday as I was in a blah mood.. It was one of those days where “sheet therapy” (pulling the sheets over my head) would have really been attractive. I just wanted to hide from the world. But I had to work and so I went about my day. Thank god I did because helping people often pulls me out of the muck. I had several interactions with coworkers where this form of pleasantry was used. I had a thought :what would it be like if I said, actually I feel like crap and everything has faded to black?” Would that have been too Pearl Jam of me? Maybe a hint of too much reality? Hmmmm interesting question. But one thing I know for sure is that focusing on my bad moods often times puts me in a state of well a bad mood. It’s the concept of the Law of Attraction again that I spoke about in my post Your Eyes Go Where Your Car Goes The Law of Attraction speaks to the the concept that the energy that you put out into the world comes back like a boomerang to you. Your thoughts, your energy, your actions speak volumes about you and send messages to others. So I could have gone on a whiny rant of how bleak things are but really how would that help? People pick up on these messages and then respond in kind. We see examples of this all the time, right? You go into a store and the person at the register is rude. You can bet they go home to complain about people being rude to them that day. The same is true for the person who is kind, even when they don’t feel god, towards others, they get kindness in return. So herein lies a question….does this mean you need to stuff your emotions , apply fake kindness towards others in order to receive kindness back. In a world that is obsessed with “reality” when is it OK to be real and when is it not?
Reflecting on this post this morning, these thoughts came up. This lead me to think about well if wellness is the goal, how do you be real while putting the well in wellness. For me, authenticity has always been important but I am also acutely aware that when I serve up my reality on a platter to ca vetch about it generally doesn’t feel that good for me in the end. I can, of course, choose to be honest when people ask how I am but I also come back to a concept that was spoken about in the “Happiness Project” which is act how I would like to feel. It makes me feel well when, even if I don’t feel it, I act as though I am well. This means that I don’t feed the devil on my shoulder telling me that everything sucks and life is bleak. I don’t listen to the voice as it tells me that since I am feeling bad, I should just eat some wheat and sugar so I can feel even worse. I don’t do things that will exacerbate the already crappy feelings. This is a HUGE shift from the way I used to approach “bad” days. In the past, a bad mood was an excuse for me for me to act in ways that would reinforce the mood. This would make it much harder to shift into a place of being well. Wellness is living to your full potential. While it may be challenging to do this when you are feeling blue, it certainly is not impossible. Even if you struggle with depression, there are things that you do or don’t do that reinforce that mood state. By beginning to shift into a different pattern, you stop reinforcing those depressed feelings.
The key to all of this is having the WILLINGNESS to shift. Shifting out of a space of darkness can, at times, be quite challenging but it is possible. We can dig our heels into the earth and say “it’s not that easy”or we can say “for today I am going to see what I can do to be less depressed.” I believe that this is possible for everyone, whether you are diagnosed with a mental illness or not. It is definitely not impossible that is for sure. It is definitely a challenge, for some more so than others. But that is life. Life is challenging. No change worth making is ever going to be easy no matter who you are. We often make excuses for why it’s harder for us than for other people. Right? If we can believe and get other people to believe this is true then it allows us to wallow in that space a little longer. Putting the well in wellness happens in small incremental ways. It can be as simple as not feeding the devil on your shoulder. For me yesterday it meant that no I was not going to go get the big cookie at Starbucks when I went for afternoon tea. Instead, I practiced yoga, meditated, felt my feelings and shifted my attention to other things. Today I woke up to a new day and a new mood. It is that simple act of not indulging in what I knew would reinforce the mood that helped. Also It’s also important to not feed the bad mood with too much talkiing about it or writing about it. Remember your car goes where your eyes go. These are feeling states that come and go. Feelings are not facts, they just are. Why do we have them? Because we are human and not robots. The most important thing to remember is that everything is impermanent. Things come and they go. You will feel bad, and then you will feel better. That is life. You get to choose how you treat yourself on the journey. I encourage you to use compassion and kindness rather than a bat or a cookie:) This is the piece that is within our control!
Be well and enjoy the ride:)
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