As a counselling practitioner, I often ask myself, what is the meaning of well-being?
“When we are physically unwell, we certainly have to work extra-hard to recover. So as Mental Health.”
Across my experiences at work, I have deeply endorsed the belief in philanthropy, that is, the love of humanity. While patients are brought to me because of the classification of the different clinical ‘name tags’ – depression, personality disorder, learning difficulty, etc., I always do my best to maximize the opportunities to work with them on the common underlying root-cause, surprisingly is the lack of caring and nourishing from the others, the surrounding or simply the society. At the work in a security unit (a recovery residential place for those who are sectioned under mental health act 1983, United Kingdom) of the forensic adult mental health services, many patients are the typical products of family/social victims, and you repeatedly come across with comments like this:
‘He (the patient) may not even want to leave here (security unit). Out there he had no one to talk to, no family, no peers, no money… To be honest his mental health is so severe that he would never recover to the normal people’s stage, and living in such poor living conditions, I would not be surprised he may get sectioned again not long after he’s discharged, and there is nothing we can do…’
“The recovery of mental health is tricky…it deeply penetrates our not just psychological aspect, but rather the intertwined linkages between our physical, emotional, spiritual, interpersonal, and even ecological health.”
This has brought my attention to the broader sense of well-being. Apart from the freedom of mind and spirit, one cannot deny that wellness penetrates the integrated concepts of all ranges of interconnecting physical, emotional, spiritual, interpersonal and even ecological health. A lack of consideration of one side can lead to the chained effect on the other aspects.
Back to the example of my role as a practicing psychologist, surely we all agree that my role as the provider of therapeutic benefit cannot be the only source of support for a patient. In most clinical/mental health institutional settings like NHS (National Health Service, the largest healthcare system in the UK) or private hospitals, the clinical team must be in a multi-disciplinary setting to aim at the multi-leveled (medical, psychological, rehabilitation, daily care, nutritional) interventions. I am inspired not just from providing therapy myself, but also getting to know, observe and even participate in the other supporting services, for example, carer’s team makes healthy lunches (sometimes with the patients) for weight loss program; or the weekly physical exercise program has zero absence all the time.
“Is ‘ok’ OK enough? Do I still need to be BETTER?”
This makes me take this well-being concept to my daily life. Certainly I may lead a relatively regular life routine which is not problematic, or not leading to problematic outcomes. Then I ask myself, do I need to take the next step to get better?
Somehow I was intrigued to look at the different resources from books or online, or speak to different people about meanings of ‘goodness’ or health. The more I was engaged with it, the more I realize there is so much more I could do to make a change. What struck me was that the benefit is not just for myself, but also for others, and even the community and environment.
This is not about finding fault and improve from mistakes. This is not about categorizing people who are ill or with problem thus needing some fix.
“We can all do something to get better holistic health…holism transcends one’s well-being from the sole self to connection with other people and the environment, and the enrichment returns back to the self.”
This is about appreciating what we already have, and be open to new things which could strengthen us. It is about acknowledging different people with different stages/conditions of life, and there is something in common which we could support and encourage with each other. It is about doing something small in life, bit by bit which could connect with ourselves, with others and the outer world.
And so I began this journey of trying to explore, learn and try the different small things known as the goodness which benefits the holistic health. There are many things I hope to share now, yet I am happy to start with a few points,
- We can benefit from a nutritious dieting, skin and body care with more natural input. This includes using less chemical, eat less process food, and add our daily routine with more natural products like essential oils, fresh food and small caring practices.
- Practice our moral and spiritual principles by developing different small habits. Connect our values with our behavior, like making good early morning routines to remain self-aware/clarity, maintaining regular physical exercise (persistence), gaining inspirational and empowering ideas (self-initiative and reflectivity), learning some mindfulness practices, etc.
- Add diversity in our lives. This sounds vague, but actually our lives are built upon different levels of diversity. Our minds are a complicated system developed by our multiple experiences with so many differences. Through traveling, meeting different people, trying one thing from different situations/circumstances, seeing things in multiple aspects…these are all ways to help us develop our ‘diversity’ of mind. I find this particularly essential for us to see our doing not just from self-perspective, but also the dynamic impact between self and others, as well as the surrounding. And certainly there are some useful tips to articulate this growth.
- Keep, keep, keep on learning. I don’t have to highlight how important it is for us to maintain a humble attitude to anticipate new things we are yet to know, unfamiliar challenges we may be fearful of yet need to embrace/overcome.
To the sharing journey…
I guess this has moved my blog writing interests from the psychological inspirations and empowerment to the holistic health. I am aware there are so many different kinds of methods shared around the media of ‘the best way’ or the ’10 tips you must do’ and so fore. Indeed different people may find their own ways which work the best. What I hope to do is to skip all the different general tips, and go straight to the questions around ‘how’, ‘why’ and ‘which is better’. This is after I navigate all those tips and try them myself.
Last but not least, sharing is not a one-way activity. I hope to hear from you too – any feedback, suggestion or sharing is welcome.
And now the journey starts…