From the very beginning of my professional entrepreneurial journey, I’ve always had a strong passion for understanding how I could be at my best. As a young self employed professional with limited resources, I soon came to the realization that being mentally and emotionally fit was essential in order to move forward in my life with purpose. This insatiable desire to understand what makes people tick and thrive led me to a long and fortunate journey of studying, speaking, and working with some of the leading experts in the field of behavioural psychology, coaching, and neuroscience.
At the start of my “personal growth” journey, I often thought that being intensely productive and self-motivated was what I needed to succeed both personally and professionally. However, over time and thanks to my studies, I discovered that for someone to flourish in the long run, something different was needed. The key was wellbeing!
Naively, I initially felt that wellbeing was something important just for the elderly but when I took the time to dig deeper at what it actually meant, I realised that it was ultimately the answer I was looking for. Think about it, if we don’t feel well, how can we possibly do well for ourselves and others?
And so, I turned to neuroscience to get a better understanding of what wellbeing is and how we can experience more of it in our daily lives.
To my surprise, the first thing I discovered was that wellbeing is actually a skill we can develop, which was incredibly encouraging. There is no doubt that as human beings we are quite complex: our environment, background and personal traits inevitably impact the way we experience our lives. However, knowing that we can all deliberately practice wellbeing is nothing short of empowering.
There are 4 pillars that make up wellbeing:
- Self Awareness
Let’s take a closer look at all four pillars and find simple ways to practice them:
1. Self Awareness
Self awareness refers to the knowledge we have of ourselves: of our inner motives, states, emotions, and feelings. Being or better developing self awareness is incredibly powerful as it can help us better deal with stress and uncertainty but also provide us with insights on what is truly important for our personal and professional success. See self awareness as the basis for operating with greater clarity and focus in our life.
What’s a simple way to develop our daily self awareness? The act of self observation – This means taking the time throughout the day to check-in with ourselves, to observe what emotions are present, what thoughts are in our mind, and noticing our physical states when responding or more often reacting to life events. This simple (yet not easy) act can bring invaluable insight in the way we manage and experience our life, allowing us to slowly shift from reacting to interacting with life.
Intricately connected to self-awareness, outlook refers to the way we look at ourselves and the world around us. It’s basically the story we tell ourselves and this can make a massive difference. Let me give you an example.
Imagine I have just lost my job…
Scenario 1: The world sucks and my life is over. I wasted 2 years in that job, there are no opportunities out there for me now and I don’t have what it takes to find my dream job. I’m exhausted!
Scenario 2: It’s unfortunate but I have learnt from it and now it’s a great opportunity to move forward to something better. I am excited to see what the future holds and I am going to start researching which industries are hiring at the moment where I could expand myself and add true value.
Which perspective do you think is more useful? It’s the same event, just seen from a different perspective. When we have a great outlook on life, we are more positive, energised, and ultimately, we develop a growth mindset ,which means looking at every event no matter if positive or negative as an opportunity for growth.
What’s a simple way to practice it? Take a recent event that did not go your way and ask yourself, what did this event teach me? How did it make me better? Be inspired by the great Nelson Mandela who said “ I don’t lose, I either win or learn.” Life works in mysterious ways but you can be sure that everything has its purpose and a silver lining!
As I am sure you can agree, without a great outlook, having resilience becomes a challenging matter. Being able to keep going, to persevere, and to build that inner strength that stops you from giving up is what makes for great resilience. Of course, pushing for something that we feel is not worth it might not be necessarily a good example of resilience but here is where self awareness is so important!
In times of difficulty or uncertainty like the ones we are currently experiencing, resilience is key. The more we teach ourselves to become resilient the more our brain becomes resilient. Want to become more resilient? Science shows us that meditating, practicing self compassion and facing our fears are all powerful ways to build resilience.
“Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” – Nelson Mandela
Who would have thought that being more generous could be one of the 4 pillars for our optimum wellbeing? When I discovered this, a big part of me felt humbled: “I can increase my own levels of wellbeing while helping others? What a beautiful thing! It’s mother nature’s poetic ways of keeping the world going round.”
Science tells us that there is a part of our brain that is hardwired for contribution. In fact, whenever we give, our brain releases what is called the “happiness trifecta,” a rush of serotonin, oxytocin and dopamine that increases our energy levels and mood. It even drops our stress levels!
From this perspective, life is enormously generous with us as it offers endless possibilities for us to be generous, whether that is with a friend, family, colleague, or stranger. Simply open your heart to others and let your best you shine: generosity is contagious.
There is no one recipe to success or happiness but with a bit of effort and focus on the right direction we can take small steps in our daily lives that compounded over time can bring expediential results.
Which one of the above pillars do you think is most important to living your life? Share your thoughts with us below!
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