Want to take the guess work out of mental wellbeing?

Wellbeing isn’t perfection nor is it a license for smugness. Mental wellbeing can encompass ill health, burnout and grief. These experiences are on everyone’s life trajectory and we can make better choices, but we can’t avoid what life has in store for us.

I think mental wellbeing is an attempt at an authentic look at ones life, desires and self in the context of a broader whole. You will notice that I favour approaches that hold self at the core, however aren’t disconnected from community or our sense of togetherness. Because no matter how hard we push against it, we are intrinsically linked to the whole including the ugly, messy, abhorrent and confused. While wellbeing is the cultivation of the positive, it is not an attempt to deny what actually is.

Tell me what does mental wellbeing feel like to you?

My best effort to explain wellbeing is as an experience.  Not my experience but your experience. Think back to a time in your life (it could be now) that you felt strong, connected, empowered and content. What was happening in your life at this time? Who were you spending time with? What were your days like? What was your mindset? Knowing this can help us identify this as our very own experience. If you’re not currently experiencing a sense of wellbeing, what changed?

Regularly people may identify that these experience were when they were on a holiday or something quite specific that is hard to replicate in everyday life. The work then becomes about  about creating a life that you don’t need a holiday from. Now that’s a challenge for any of us!

If a profound sense of wellbeing is something that you don’t think you have experienced, that is ok too. It just means that you really have this to look forward to in your life. It might be the time to get looking?

Wellbeing isn’t haphazard. You’ve got to actually prioritise it. The sense of mastery associated with empowered mental wellbeing isn’t going to necessarily protect us from ‘life’. That bit is beyond our remit. What it gives us are the tools for making the ride more an expression of who we are and what we value. However beyond tools, it gives us the experience of who we are at our centre and it is this space and place that we return to. Optimal mental wellbeing is an inner experience and expression of our humanity. I crave being near it. 

PERMA –  a useful model for optimal mental wellbeing 

This week I have been talking about the idea of PERMA (the acronym stands for Positive Emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, Accomplishment). It is not prescriptive but instead a beginning place to search, if you are feeling that life is bleak.  So which area below do you need to focus on at the moment?

Next week I will be breaking these down and suggesting areas to look at within these domains to get you well on your way to that lived sense of authentic wellbeing.

With love,

Dr Katie.

Katie Carter is the Founder of Womenkind. She is a passionate advocate of justice, community and human rights for all. She believes in a devolved system of power that recognises the vulnerable and values diversity. Her stuff spans mental health, wellbeing, spirituality and relationship. You will find her writing, coaching, speaking and researching via her website.

womenkind.com.au

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