The Spectrum of Wellbeing

The Spectrum of Wellbeing

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Are you happy?

‘Yes,’ was the answer I consistently gave, throughout most of my life. On the surface, I genuinely believed this was the case, because I didn’t have a reference point to truly understand what happiness is.

Sure, I had extreme highs – but I also had a lot of lows. My own particular mindset aimed to focus on the highs – high energy, high moods, high performance, high achievement, high success – living the high life at a fast pace – so I never really noticed that things were not as good as they seemed.

To my mind, there was health or sickness – nothing in between. I thought there was only good or bad – happy or sad – in my black and white world with no muted tones or colours in the spectrum. I wanted to focus on the good. I suppressed my emotions or ignored signs and feelings of sadness, stress, depression or anxiety. I claimed I was happy and I denied that I was anything other than mentally healthy. In so doing, I denied myself a range of feelings, and I was not fully experiencing the richness of life. I wish I had understood, at the time, the true possibilities that life offered.

Am I happy now? The answer is ‘Yes’.

Was I happy 20 years ago? Compared with now, I have to confess that the answer would be ‘No’. Because, then, I had no concept of how great life could feel.

Now, I experience moments of joy and bliss that are beyond words. There are days when I am walking through the world feeling as if heaven is on earth. My fundamental capacity to feel life has shifted by orders of magnitude. This ability has come from years of personal development work and, for want of a better phrase, ‘inner healing’.

We can all use some healing – even if we believe ourselves to be well. I would never have admitted that I was ‘mentally ill’ – yet, if I was honest, neither did I feel ‘mentally healthy.’ Only in retrospect, can I see that I didn’t experience ‘peace of mind’ until recent years. 20 years ago, I had no idea how great life could feel. I am sure that in another 20 years’ time, I will be saying the same again.

Here is my conclusion: there is no limit to how wonderful you can feel and how great life can be. Even in the tough times, there is no limit to the wisdom that can found in every moment. Even bad experiences can help to develop our emotional resilience, and the learning we take from them can be used to build a better future.

Improving our mental wellbeing is important for everyone. Young or old, thriving or surviving, there is always a way to improve our relationship with life and enhance and enrich our wellbeing.

In general, our societal approach is that if you are ill – you need help. Usually, drugs. This demonstrates fundamentally flawed thinking about health. We need to see health as a wellbeing spectrum that we all have the capacity to move along. Our mental health can fluctuate from one day to another – sometimes hour by hour – and we can often help ourselves, by either thinking differently, riding out the waves, talking, learning new tools and techniques, loving life, or undergoing some means of personal development.

Our communities, health and education systems need to recognise that there is a whole explosion of possibility outside the ‘red line’ that most people fall below in terms of optimal mental performance or complete health. When everyone realises that, we will truly understand what it means to be well and healthy, and we can fundamentally reverse the ever-increasing cost of illness on society. It affects us all.

On October 13th, we have our 3rd incarnation of the Thrive2020 event – which focusses on mental wellbeing.

So, I implore you to come and join us. Get involved, and commit to the event.

Give yourself the gift of shifting along the spectrum to complete wellbeing.  

To health and happiness!

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  1. Your post tells us your Happy now but not what made the difference. Are we to assume that you just became that way???
    Nice info on the surface but you really didn’t tell us anything. Just that you thought you were happy and now you are happy.
    Dig deeper next time.

    • That would have been a long post which is outside of the bite size format of this blog. I have written about elements of it over the past few years. Ultimately it is a collection of hundreds of experiences that have led to an expanded awareness of life.

  2. You touched on something in the 7th paragraph… the difference now from 20years ago and the possible difference in 20 years time… is it possible that you find only a level of awareness and then of happiness as you mature… in general. In your youth it is the done thing to “be happy”, after all you have youth on your side… but an awful lot of learning still to happen, which I believe helps you to be able to notice the different levels of happiness and/or contentedness as life and learning progress. Maybe it is a state of mind that you have to go through and then learn from. Maybe it is similar for all. Maybe it in a necessary process.

    • Maybe. I have reached my current conclusions in a meandering way. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a more direct route for others to follow if they choose to. In some ways I expect every generation to become on average wiser than the last. I hope that my kids will benefit from my insight in some way that helps them reach higher states of awareness earlier on in life.

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