“Life is a succession of lessons, which must be lived to be understood.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
At Wellschool, our hope is that you will learn a succession of lessons, that you will live and understand. Have a read through them and see how they sound. You can take the opportunity to try them out, put them into practice and start to reap the benefits of wellness.
So lets start with the mother of all principles, principle number one:
- Fail: Failure is a necessary and healthy part of being a human being. When you realise that failure is a natural consequence of trying new things or challenging yourself you may start to see failure as a positive thing. This is an essential part of personal growth and learning. How you respond to failure can change how you live your life.
- Know Yourself: You need to know yourself to improve yourself. This starts with being ‘habit aware’ – i.e: noticing your good and bad habits. The self-reflection quizzes will also help you learn more about yourself and your habits. You can also become self-aware by talking with others about your habits, and learning from theirs.
- Live YOUR Life: Everyone has their own interests, characteristics, motivation and unique path to wellness. You need to discover what you enjoy doing and what works for you regardless of what others do or what they think you should be doing. Being told ‘should’ can have a demotivating effect and trigger feelings of failure, guilt or defensiveness. Instead embrace what makes you happy- be your own person! Exploring your natural interests helps you find your passions, your purpose, your people. This exploration can lead you to live the life that you want to live from the inside out, not from the outside in. We all have a unique path to living the life we want, so listening for our natural preference is a great skill to develop. Others may want to support you in the path they believe in: “You really should…. Enrol in teaching / take that job / break up that relationship…etc.” Being told ‘should’ can trigger reactions such as resentment, failure, guilt etc. Know that no one else can know what you are really feeling, so look to find the unique things that make your heart sing.
- Beware and be aware: There are some situations that cannot lead you to learning, but to addiction. Be aware of the subtle and critical differences between following your passions, and following your addictions. Listen to people if they are showing concern for you being involved in addictive habits. External drugs, whether they are pharmaceutical or recreational, have the power to replace your own inner experiences. The best things in life come naturally, and learning to get joy from the natural highs of life is a great gift that comes with wellness. If you find that you have fallen down a spiral of addiction to something or someone – know that your decision-making may be faulty, and find others to guide you as you recover from your addiction. It takes time but it is doable with awareness, support and time.
- Create: The creative process is a pathway to explore new things and know yourself better. Writing, singing, drawing, telling stories, dancing, playing instruments, improvising… are all brilliant ways to express who you are. You don’t have to be amazing at any of it – creative expression is not a test, but a pathway to wellness of your mind. It is a natural way to play with your body and mind, which brings you joy.
- Be Open and Curious: Sometimes our minds can enter a small and narrow space where we lose hope, where we feel abandoned by a better future. There is a simple remedy and it is called curiosity. Life is full of opportunities if you’re open to exploring them. Learning to say yes to new experiences brings a feeling of freedom. Don’t Make Assumptions: Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. This one principle can completely transform your life. Talk to people, ask questions, read – doors may open. The more options you give yourself to explore, the better you will feel as the world becomes a bigger place. Take the time to do your research and consider the options in more detail so you know and understand the long-term outcomes of your choices.
- Start Small and Slow: There is a natural path if you want to make change, do it small and take it slow. Start with small good habits to reduce your bad habits. Change takes time and is more likely to stick than rushing to change. Go to bed 15 minutes earlier, drink one less soft drink a day, eat one more fruit a day, drink one glass of water each morning, have one social media free day or night. New habits can be uncomfortable at first. Becoming comfortable is best done with small steps. A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. It helps to learn the fine art of waiting; breathe if you feel impatient; learn to be comfortable with the pace of slow.
- Plan: Change doesn’t happen by accident- it is a process that requires planning, so plan ahead! First you need to imagine where you want to end up. Where is that place you are going to? Then consider what is the pathway to get there and work out the small steps that will take you there. Writing a plan make it much more likely to happen so sit down alone or with someone you trust to put the plan on paper then put it somewhere you can see it often to remind you.
- Support and be Supported: Humans are designed to be part of communities. If you don’t like the people around you, don’t give up on people. Seek options, find people you like, that you can get on with. There are thousands of communities: online communities, sporting clubs, book clubs, volunteer organisations. There is a world full of places where people share, listen, understand and support each other– plan and persist to see where you can find communities of support.
- Don’t Take It Personally: It is great to realise that nothing others do is really because of you. What others say and do is most likely a projection of their own reality, issues, moods or habits of mind.When you find yourself trying really hard to please others, beware! Learn to be more immune to their actions and opinions . Then you won’t find yourself trying to people please all the time. Breaking the people pleasing habit can give you enormous freedom from others expectations and judgements.(See principle 3!)
- Always do your Best: Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, in life just simply do your best, and that will help you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.
- Celebrate your Wins: Make change a positive and rewarding experience – treat yourself to something special when you do well and make the changes you seek! See a film, buy something small but precious, take a day off. Learn to celebrate yourself with wellness.