Arguably most people in our society have it within their grasp to improve their level of physical and mental wellness. Generally people know some steps they could take towards improving their physical health: better diet, exercise, eat less sugar etc. but the pathways to improved mind wellness are less discussed and less clear.
In the book “A New Model for Health and Disease” by George Vithoulkas, there is a depiction of the way that health can be looked at on the mental, physical and emotion levels, shown in the table below. Any health practitioner would be well advised to read the book, as knowledge of the theory can be enormously helpful prognosis for patients.
Here is a brief summary of the way the Levels of Health theory defines symptoms on the three levels, mental, emotional and physical. The levels of health theory is further developed in the more recent book “Levels of Health, by G. Vithoulkas and E. Van Woensel, both of whom are known to me personally. The symptoms at the top of each column are considered more serious:
|Complete mental confusion||Suicidal depression||Brain|
|Lack of concentration||Fears||Bone|
There is a proven link between mind wellness and good physical health. The ideal is to address both, but if you had to prioritise, probably improving your level of mind wellness is more important.
When we feel good better things happen for us. It’s an interesting fact that in societies where people have less they are much happier, so a good place to begin improving your mind wellness, next time you feel unfortunate, is to try looking down not up. Here are some other things you may also try:
Close your eyes, breathe and remember you are alive.
Meditate: a 5 minute starter…
You could read “Mindfulness: Finding Peace in a Frantic World” by Professor Mark Williams and Dr Danny Penman. It comes with a free CD containing 8 short meditations.
Practice attention regulation, self awareness, gratitude, kindness and compassion including self compassion for the life that beats your heart.
Do yoga, qigong or tai chi.
At night, before sleep, remember all the great things you did that day and picture all the great things you will do tomorrow. When you wake, list all the great things you will do today.
Plan things to look forward to, at least one thing/event per week.
Spend more time with people you like, and less with those you don’t.
Do more things you enjoy (at least one every week).
Attend events that promote wellbeing, e.g. Action for Happiness.
Watch the David Reilly Tedx Talk about self nurture.
Listen or watch Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth, or the ET collection.
Watch Brené Brown on TED, The Power of Vulnerability, and/or Netflix.
Don’t fight, do stand your ground. When you oppose something it gets stronger!
Watch, or listen to, or go and see Byron Katie.
Visit TUT.com, and subscribe to “Notes from the Universe”.
Try and stay in the present moment as much as you can.
Practice being amazed. Look at something and un-name it, e.g. a flower. Look at it and pretend you don’t know what it is.
If you can’t do something you want to do, pretend you can (to yourself)… fake it till you make it.
Look for and notice and focus on The Good – whatever that means to you.
When you feel connected, notice that.
Next time you feel unfortunate practice looking down not up.
Take a 15 minute walk in the morning – get some blue light. It wakes you up.
As much as possible avoid chemicals of all kind.
Eat organic (all the food we ate was organic not so long ago).
Try the Hay Diet.
Drink 2 litres of fresh clean water every day. Just do it!
Don’t listen to your thoughts so much! You are not your thoughts, you are your awareness – the sum of all your senses.
Practise thinking of thoughts as belonging to “the thought stream” watch them come and go, like clouds, or the wind.
Look for the stillness within you.
Walk barefoot outdoors regularly.
We are not separate from everything else. We are part of everything.
Connect with the bigger part of you, your higher or best self.
Treat yourself and others with kindness and compassion.
If self help isn’t working consider seeing a therapist: e.g. homeopathy, acupuncture, psychotherapy. They all have different maps with the same aim.
We know much more about the way humans work than we did even 10 or 20 years ago. Watch a TED talk on neuroscience e.g. Iain McGilchrist, to educate yourself about how your brain works.
Do an 8 week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course.
The foundations of good health: daily meditation, a good network of different friends and family, a belief in something greater than yourself, good diet, drinking 2 litres of water daily, doing some physical exercise, including stretching and something that raises your heart rate, tai chi/qigong/yoga, good sleep, not too much alcohol (more days off than on).
There’s a lot here to be getting on with 🙂
With love Phil