Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to be someone else. Someone who doesn’t wake up in the morning so creaky and achy. Someone who doesn’t worry daily about bone density loss due to medication. Someone who doesn’t think about cancer recurrences. It doesn’t take long until I tell myself that everyone has something going on, but do they really?? It’s hard to believe sometimes that some people have a problem in the world. Really, they are probably just better at hiding it, so we just don’t know. I think that’s why it is so important to share our struggles. Simply sharing takes the weight off of you. Knowing you are not alone and knowing others struggle with some of the same issues is so beneficial to our mental health.
I really believe that the lack of community in our culture is at the root of much of the unhappiness that people experience. Neighbors don’t know each other or want to know each other, church memberships are declining etc. Technology is replacing the need for connection, but it doesn’t go deep enough. We either need to plug into communities around us or make the effort to deepen connections and build our tribes.
I listened to a podcast recently about personalities. The interviewee had a technique she would use to test the waters with people. She would throw out a “bid”. The bid was something personal, but also something safe. Safe in that it wouldn’t bother her if someone shot down this bid or even laughed. For example, she might say “My feet are killing me in these heels”. If the woman she was talking to responded with “I love heels”, she knew this wasn’t a match for her and she didn’t throw out another bid. If the response was more along the lines of “Yeah, and my spanx are squeezing the life out of me”, then BINGO she is now safe to throw out another bid and hopefully deepen the relationship even for just the evening. In doing so, she’s relieved her own pressure and possible anxiety about the event while doing the same for another. Pretty cool. I think we instinctively do this, but don’t always realize it is happening. Imagine the progress we could make with a little more intention in our interactions.
I am pretty plugged into my society. I have children involved in various activities, I work outside the home and I attend church somewhat regularly. I have friends whom I adore and can talk about anything with. The problem is, I don’t spend nearly enough time with them. Time seems to be absorbed so easily into daily routines. If I finish the laundry today, there will always be more tomorrow, right? Dropping the “shoulds”, being mindful of our true selves and our true desires while taking the time to nurture ourselves will all come together and enable us to create the lives we have always dreamed of. Not only will the laundry get done, but we will begin to experience increased happiness in our everyday lives. Let’s start by evaluating where we are now. How fulfilled are we in these 6 major areas? Rate yourself on a scale of 1-10. (The following list was copied from https://wellness.ucr.edu/seven_dimensions.html)
- Social - is connecting with other people. Establishing and maintaining relationships with family and friends and even co-workers has anis the ability to relate to and connect with other people in our world. Our ability to establish and maintain positive relationships with family, friends and co-workers contributes to our Social Wellness.
- Emotional is the ability to understand ourselves and cope with the challenges life can bring. The ability to acknowledge and share feelings of anger, fear, sadness or stress; hope, love, joy and happiness in a productive manner contributes to our Emotional Wellness.
- Spiritual is the ability to establish peace and harmony in our lives. The ability to develop congruency between values and actions and to realize a common purpose that binds creation together contributes to our Spiritual Wellness.
- Occupational is the ability to get personal fulfillment from our jobs or our chosen career fields while still maintaining balance in our lives. Our desire to contribute in our careers to make a positive impact on the organizations we work in and to society as a whole leads to Occupational Wellness.
- Intellectual is the ability to open our minds to new ideas and experiences that can be applied to personal decisions, group interaction and community betterment. The desire to learn new concepts, improve skills and seek challenges in pursuit of lifelong learning contributes to our Intellectual Wellness.
- Physical is the ability to maintain a healthy quality of life that allows us to get through our daily activities without undue fatigue or physical stress. The ability to recognize that our behaviors have a significant impact on our wellness and adopting healthful habits (routine check ups, a balanced diet, exercise, etc.) while avoiding destructive habits (tobacco, drugs, alcohol, etc.) will lead to optimal Physical Wellness.
This will give you good insight into which areas you may want to add more intentional living and balance your life. Have some fun with this. Draw each as a piece of pie in a pie chart, graph it or even assign each category a different color on a flower. How many of your leaves are Social and how many are Spiritual?
The Podcast mentioned can be found at Good Life Project Vanessa Van Edwards: Hacking Social Interaction for Good. Search your PodCast Ap or on your computer at http://www.goodlifeproject.com/radio/ Lots of great ones to listen to!!