I’ve learnt that the connections we have with other people have such a massive effect on our headspace - and that if I’m not careful the toxic energy from one really bad connection could easily overshadow the loving, positive, supportive energy from 10 or 20 good connections! I’m glad that I now know the importance of being really deliberate with the close connections I allow into my life, so that my environment is constructive, encouraging, and conducive to being my best self.
One key wellness lesson for me has been the acceptance that sometimes I’m responsible for the bad environments I might find myself in. It’s true that there might be a million other things that contribute to a given situation, but sometimes it just comes down to acknowledging that, at the end of the day, I’ve been the one who allowed my environment to become negative, and so I have to take responsibility for improving it.
I’ve also made the decision to moderate my alcohol consumption, and sometimes to avoid it altogether. I find it helps just to be aware of what it does to my emotions. For me, alcohol doesn’t necessarily guarantee me a good time; it just amplifies whatever feelings I’m already experiencing. So if my friends and I are gearing up for a big night, but I’m feeling emotional or wound up, I probably won’t drink. I know from experience that I probably wouldn’t have a great night, and I’ll feel better the next day if I just stay sober, have a nice time and then call it a night when I’m ready.
I find reading poetry to be cathartic. Good, rich, well-written poetry can make me feel connected to the author, and related to on a deep level. It calms me and stimulates my mind at the same time. It’s like packing a whole lot of emotion densely into just a few lines. There’s so much there to take in on just one page.
Two books that I think make some good comments about wellness are The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, by Mark Manson, and All Blacks Don’t Cry, by John Kirwan. They have lessons that I’ve found really useful for building my own wellness. The other source of content I find great is podcasts. Inspirational podcasts help to get me out of a funk and keep me looking forward. My favourite is Soul Sessions by Oprah Winfrey. It’s all about the simplicity of life, and it often shakes up my thinking in just the right way to give me the dose of inspiration and mental energy I might be needing.
If it was possible to send a note back to yourself when you needed the most help, what would you write?