To me, as a doctor, total wellness doesn’t mean always being healthy. Total wellness means resilience – the ability to experience each change that comes at me and use it to become more of the person I want to be. I put together five things You Need to Cultivate Total Wellness, so that you can be even more the person YOU want to be, no matter what stressors show up in your life.
- Stronger connections. Widen and deepen your network of connections to others. Ask questions you’ve never dared, share what makes you laugh, or cry. Listen and talk to the people you know and respect. Tell them the truth, and ask for help when you could use it, not only when you desperately need it. It feels great to help people we care about, so do that, and let them do the same for you.
- The ability to manage discomfort. Change is hard! Even change we expect, even change we dream about causes our brains to feel terribly uncomfortable. Change is at best, like a fantastic new pair of pants. No matter how much you love them, your brain insists on noticing what doesn’t feel the same. For true wellbeing, you need lots of positive ways of managing discomfort, because otherwise you will either run from discomfort (which means avoiding all change and growth) or try to mask it with risky behaviors and damaging choices.
- Boundaries around what matters to you. Say yes when you mean yes, say no when you mean no. Protect the people and priorities that are truly important to you by giving them more of your resources – your creativity, your time, your money. Every time you say yes to something outside those boundaries, you’re probably saying no to something inside them. When your actions match your priorities, it becomes easier for you to be resilient and whole.
- Purpose. Find your reasons for getting through hard times, for trying one more time, for being resilient when you don’t want to be. Thinking, talking, writing about your purpose can give you strength when you need it. For me, my purpose is to make the world a more open, hopeful place for my kids. I’d endure just about any discomfort I can imagine to work towards that goal.
- Open-mindedness… towards stress! If you want to be able to walk up 3 flights of stairs without feeling out of breath, you need to start walking up some stairs to build up stamina, right? Well, if you want to be able to handle what life throws at you without being totally overwhelmed, then it’s stress that will strengthen you. Rather than avoiding, minimizing or fearing ALL stress, evaluate what it can do for you. Just like if you wanted to run a marathon someday, get the support and coaching you need and look at each stressor that comes along to figure out not only how to conquer it, but how to make sure it makes you stronger for the next time.
Check out this video for these tips and more!
I also gave insight into my own personal background, tips for managing stress and setting good habits for mental well-being over at Authority Magazine!