Happy spring! I don't know about you, but the entrance of spring awakens my aspirations and energy that went dormant through the winter. I enjoy this time of the year when I have a refreshed outlook and optimism on what's to come. It's my version of New Years, ha!
When you connect with your aspirations and contemplate how to live a skillful, wholehearted life, what do you focus on?
According to decades of scientific research, Dr. Richard Davidson - Founder of the Center for Healthy Minds at UW Madison emphasizes 4 key areas of well-being: Awareness, Insight, Connection and Purpose. These are the pillars of a healthy mind. We function at our optimal level when we are present, curious, connected and motivated. This is not only good for us, it is beneficial for the people around us.
My work as a Psychotherapist and educator, as well as my personal practice of being human, rests on these four pillars - along with a 5th pillar "embody" (which make up the 5 peaks of 5Peaks - more on that later). And so in the spirit of awakening to renewed or new energy, I want to share with you a simple method to take inventory of your well-being. The following 5 life areas provide a template for you to measure and track your well-being (based on what science says matters most). With practice, these skills will help you flourish by giving you the opportunity to choose, rather than drift through life
LEARN - Be open and receptive to what life has to offer
- pause in wonder and awe often
- be more curious, less judgmental
- try a new hobby, skill or craft
- listen to the podcast, read the book
- be open to and with others
BE - However you do it, pause long enough to let your nervous system rest
- give yourself permission to start over
- remember that rest restores
- be fully present - do one thing at a time
- create a list of self-care ideas (use it)
- practice mindfulness - pay attention on purpose
- quiet your inner critic with affirmations
- download a meditation app
MOVE - Don't forget you have a body below your head, move it
- sit less, move more
- get to know your body and it's cues
- take breaks in the day to stretch
- make movement a priority
CONNECT - Reach out, we are made to do life together
- practice kindness and compassion
- listen to understand before giving advice
- make eye contact, put the phone down
- nature, pets, plants matter too
NOURISH - Feed yourself good real whole food
- choose health over convenience
- hydrate (coffee doesn't count)
- eat your food slowly and taste it
Reflection & Intention
Reflect on the past week and rate each area on a scale of 1-5.
1 = I'm really struggling with this
5 = I'm rocking it
Based on your reflection, set an intention to act on. What is one simple, small step you can take in the coming week to adjust your rating? What life area will you choose to give effort and attention?
For ratings between 1-2, practice self-compassion by acknowledging the circumstances that have brought difficulty. For ratings between 4-5, take a moment to celebrate feeling accomplished. Give yourself a wide view of your well-being and recognize you have some control over what comes next.