Cultivating well-being is not an overnight project: it is a process that requires motivation, mindfulness, and a lot of friendliness towards yourself. You may want to start out with ambitious goals that require big changes but you don’t need to try so hard and risk running out of steam! Take small steps and appreciate the rewards. If you miss a few days, just start over again without beating yourself up. Remember that you are on the path to well-being, and every part of that experience should contribute to your sense of harmony.
Enjoy the journey!
“Well-being” is about more than health; it is a state of balance in your mind, body, and spirit. In order to achieve a state of well-being which is also a state of happiness or personal harmony, you have to look at, well, your whole being! Think of well-being as a bridge that requires the support of all its beams: if you focus only on your physical health and neglect your emotional needs, the bridge will collapse. Likewise, if you focus on relieving personal stress without strengthening your connection to your community or environment, you won’t be able to achieve a sense of balance that you are striving to achieve.
Sounds like a big job? Then let’s start with the basics.
The first step in achieving long-lasting well-being is to simply be aware of yourself. That’s it! The practise of mindfulness is thousands of years old, and for good reason; the more we pay attention to our habits and thoughts, the more likely we are to make healthy decisions for ourselves. So kick-start your daily well-being with the simple practice of watching your body move throughout the day. How many hours do you sit? Do you take the stairs or the elevator? When does your body feel restless, fidgety, or tired? It might help to keep a note of the things the first week to track the movements of your body, or you may want to do a body scan to bring even more awareness to specific parts of your body.
After a few days, reflect on what you have noticed. Are you sitting for hours in front of electronic gadgets each day, or are you on your feet? What parts of your body feel sore or in need of stretching? At what points during the day did you see an opportunity to break out of old habits and begin new ones? It’s okay to start small, walk around your house, do some stretching at your desk at work, or start walking a few miles in the evening. As you practice paying attention to your body, you’ll notice more and more opportunities to keep your body moving during the day, and you’ll be aware of which of those opportunities you take, and which ones you should avoid.
Transformation Through Movement
Once you become more aware of the way you move your body every day, determine where your physical-activity strengths and weaknesses are. Try and incorporate the right kind of movement into your life. Try to incorporate a balance of aerobic activity and mindful movement. Don’t forget, the more you move, the better chances you have of fighting off type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer.
It’s no secret that our bodies need physical activity in order to stay healthy, but you may not have considered the flipside: staying sedentary for long periods of time (eight hours in front of the computer at work, or an evening on the couch watching television) is actually dangerous. Researchers have found that sitting down for long periods of time can have seriously negative effects on the body’s cholesterol levels and insulin effectiveness, and it can also cause the leg muscles to lose their ability to remove harmful lipoproteins from the blood. This is scary news for those of us who have desk jobs and love to spend evenings watching TV or browsing on our mobile phones. So let’s incorporate some basic physical activity into our schedules and our habits to create the conditions for better physical health, which is the first step towards physical well-being.
Good luck and enjoy the transformation!
Watch this space for more tips on how to take charge of your own well-being!