This post is a guest post by David Taylor as part of our Reset Your Mindset theme, 21st January 2022.
In the middle of 2019 the term ‘wellbeing’ experienced a surge of interest, peaking as the most ‘googled’ term that May. As the country experienced lockdown, it was clear that people were looking for something that would answer the question about how us as individuals could meet our wellbeing needs.
Then along came the myriad of top tips from yoga to meditation to bouncing around your sitting room with a celebrity and of course – the zoom quiz. Everyone was trying to help and do the best they could with what they had.
The problem is, we as humans are unique, with different preferences, family circumstances and values so why would we think our wellbeing could be met by doing the same things as our neighbours and colleagues?
Having worked with hundreds of people, both individually and in groups the most useful first step is to break down some of the common terms to really understand what they mean and the most important part – what we can do.
“Always use the proper name for things. Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself”
By being clear on what each term means to you will help you be clear on what actions you may need to focus on to improve.
The most common answer to what is resilience is something along the lines of the ability to bounce back. But what if true resilience meant that you never in a position to need to ‘bounce back’? Think about resilience as armour, that is built through powerful wellbeing practices.
Resilience is an outcome and a skill. And with any skill, you can improve it by practicing. This means that everyone can improve their resilience.
“During difficult times people don’t rise to the level of their expectations, they fall to the level of their training” – Archilochus
The best time to have worked on building your resilience capability was before the pandemic started, the next best time is now.
This next definition is not to be found in the dictionary or indeed in any textbook, it is borne through practical experience of wellbeing coaching.
Wellbeing is where “people are experiencing positive, PURPOSEFUL GROWTH both, mentally and physically to such an extent that they actively CONTROL THEIR STATE resulting in happiness and resilience”
To improve wellbeing, you need to seek growth and be deliberate about where you need to grow physically and mentally. The opposite of growth is comfort – be careful about being too comfortable. Think about this as a muscle, we stress the muscle then let it recover to get stronger, we don’t sit watching Netflix.
One must also be able to control their state. This is the condition that “someone or something is in at a specific moment in time.” We are always 100% in control of our state (even though it doesn’t always feel like it). This is critical as it affects and is affected by your energy.
Everything you do has an energy cost – you can generate more on demand but just as critical is protecting what you have by wasting less of it on things that don’t matter.
When you have high energy then you are more likely to perceive events more positively. In fact many people who report feeling ‘down’ are simply exhausted.
“Rest is not a reward for hard work, it is a pre-requisite for elite performance” – Paul Mort
So what can I do?
- Seek physical activities that increase your energy capacity
- Focus your attention on your intention and review
- Reframe events that happen ‘to you’ to events that happen ‘for you’
- Create an environment that supports your goals
- Be accountable to someone for your wellbeing activities
Our thanks to David Taylor, Principal Lead in Project Lift for writing this piece for us. David has run wellbeing sessions for teams across the system and is an experienced coach.
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