Thriving from the Inside, Out
What happens to our well-being when everything ‘external’ is out of bounds? The answer is simple: we enhance our well-being from the inside, out.
With lockdown conditions extended for another few weeks, many Sydneysiders will be dealing with amplified feelings of fear, loneliness, boredom, anxiety, overwhelm and uncertainty. Concerningly, most people will be discovering that their usual well-being practices are inaccessible … just when they are needed most.
Many of us are accustomed to well-being that flows from the outside, in. In our normal, mobile lives, we have access to a multitude of external solutions that meet our demands for physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being – going to the gym, hiking in the mountains, a yoga session, or a night out with close friends. So, what happens to our well-being when everything ‘external’ is out of bounds? The answer is simple: we enhance our well-being from the inside, out.
Kim Forrester is an award-winning author, educator and consultant. She combines cutting edge science with spiritual philosophy to inspire holistic well-being and fullness of living. For anyone struggling to maintain their sense of well-being during lockdown, Kim has one simple message:
“A good life is good for you”, she says. “By tapping into the scientifically-proven, health-enhancing power of profound ‘holistic’ human experiences, you have an opportunity to feel better about yourself, and your life, without leaving your home.”
To enhance your sense of well-being in these difficult times, Kim encourages you to:
1. Forgive life for what’s happening: Holding a grudge, or resisting ‘what is’ activates your body’s fight-flight response, increases stress, and decreases your immunity. Forgiveness and acceptance reduce these stress responses and boosts a sense of calm and well-being.
2. Seek purpose, meaning and creativity: Filling your days with meaningful activities has been shown to enhance feelings of happiness, increase physical wellbeing … and even extend your lifespan. With the internet, it’s possible to use this time of relative stillness and isolation to find other avenues for purposeful and meaningful projects.
3. Practice self-compassion. Studies show that being a kind and comforting friend to yourself in times of emotional overwhelm can lower stress, boost the immune system, mitigate the effects of depression and anxiety, and compel you to make healthier life choices. Kristin Neff has designed a three-step self-compassion practice that all Sydneysiders are encouraged to seek out and use.
4. Commit to a mediation or mindfulness practice. Although not always easy, research shows that incorporating meditation into your daily schedule will reduce stress, enhance your ability to sleep, gain mental clarity, and boost your immunity.
5. Acknowledge your brain’s ‘negativity bias’ and filter your information diet. In times of great anxiety, such as the moment we’re living through, it’s vital to actively engage in positivity. Studies show that your brain and body work best when you choose to activate hope and consciously engage in solution-based thinking.
6. Boost your kindness quota: Kindness is a well-being super-power and by consciously engaging in random acts of kindness and compassion, you will flood your body with happiness-enhancing hormones. Even better, studies show that you can enjoy this well-being boost simply by witnessing kindness – so practice kind acts each day and get online to watch others doing the same.
7. Finally, allow yourself to be vulnerable, scared and anxious at this time, and allow others the opportunity to express their grief, fear and concern. There is a common perception that emotional well-being requires a commitment to ‘positive thinking’. However, studies show that emo-diversity (acceptance of emotional pain) is a vital element in ongoing well-being and life satisfaction. So let the tears flow; feel fragile, and accept the moments of grief, even as you lean into faith, activate your hope, and reach for optimism.
For as long as the COVID-19 pandemic upends our lives, it’s important for us all to appreciate the importance of holistic well-being. By recognizing and amplifying the powerful, yet subtle, factors that enhance the human experience — such as forgiveness, purpose, compassion, and hope — you can experience a greater sense of peace and happiness … without leaving your home. Put simply, holistic well-being is an accessible and sustainable way to cope ‘on the inside’ until you are, once again, able to source your well-being from the outside.
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Kim Forrester is an award-winning author, holistic well-being educator, and consultant. She blends science with spiritual philosophy to inspire fullness of living, and regularly contributes to well-being and lifestyle publications all over the world. She is the producer-host of the Eudaemonia podcast, on which she explores the traits and practices that help us flourish in life. www.kimforrester.net