We all want to feel good, be loved, have nice jobs, etc. These things make up what most people around the world call "the good life." Yet, we all know that being loved having a nice job etc. does not always make us feel good. This article will tease out the relationship between the way we use the power of our minds and our sense of well-being.
First, what is well-being? Well-being does not center on the physical comforts but rather on the much more intangible sense of living a life that has meaning, fulfilling your potential, or understanding in what ways you make a positive difference in the world. People who work in healthcare include in the definition of well-being a positive attitude towards life as evidence that we are taking care of ourselves.
Second, what is involved in using the power of your mind? More than mental energy is involved in "power of the mind." Rather it is a holistic construct that includes: 1) our being aware and connected to the life force, 2) monitoring minute emotional responses to what is currently going on, with an ability to 3) envision, steer, and sometimes direct our actions in the direction that we believe will lead us toward a more fulfilling life. It is perhaps more correct to say that the power of our minds is our mental ability to process and bring understanding to our life as connected with the world around us -- implying that we are steering the ship but that it is also connected to the greater web of life.
So then what can we do to use the power inherent in this holistic view of power of the mind to increase our well-being? This article offers three helpful hints as to how to go about this.
First, Gratitude and Kindness Will Lift Your Spirit
Studies on health and happiness consistently agree that human beings get as much satisfaction out of giving kindness as getting it. Tied in with kindness is an attitude of being thankful for what we have, rather than a focus on what we do not have. One way to increase the intensity of the focus, and therefore a way to lift your spirits, is to develop a practice for both gratitude and kindness. There are many ways to do this including: a website devoted to daily gratitude, buying a small book or journal and writing five things every day, noting when people are reaching out to you and cautiously responding in the way you think will be most helpful. Remember, it takes 21 days to build a habit, and we want gratitude and kindness to be habits, so commit to working every day on this practice.
Daily gratitude and kindness opens up and reinforces our emotional well-being, releasing tensions and allowing the power of our mind to be focused on those things that are increasing our well-being
Second, Manage Your Perceptions and Expectations
There is no doubt that our position relative to others counts a great deal to our sense of well-being. When we compare favourably we feel better, when we compare poorly we feel worse. The gap between what we want and what we have attained matters. This is the pull between what psychologists call internal or external reference of control. In other words, where are you getting the cues that make you feel good? From yourself or others? Some of us think that in the ideal we would all feel good based upon our internal sense, but that leads to people so involved with themselves that they may be happy but everyone else is disgusted. A balance of both without attachment to either one is the best answer.
How do we go about being aware of both what people are thinking of us and how we are feeling about the world without being attached to either? A journaling practice definitely helps with this, if it is done with the intent to write down both your experiences in the external world, then your internal experience, and then leave both behind when you close the book. Think of it like a mental emotional cleansing process. It eliminates past residues and will allow the full power of your mind to be focused on continuing to monitor and build towards more of the things that bring you a sense of well-being.
At the end of the day, for all of us, feeling good about ourselves and our position in the world to others so that the power of our minds can focus its full attention on building the world we envision is at best a dance. Some days will be better than others, and this leads to the third helpful hint.
Third, Know Your Connection to the World and Make Your Peace with It
Dissatisfaction with life because we have not reached some outside goal that we had set for ourselves can be the biggest detriment to achieving a sense of well-being. The universe gives and the universe takes away: life is a process of things growing, being harvested, and dying. Sometimes farmers plant their fields and they have a good crop with fantastic sunshine and good rain, and other times nothing grows well because the weather just wasn't with them. We need to be in harmony with the cycles of life and know that nothing is going to always come to us, just like it is not going to be true that we will never get anything we want. People who work with young people to increase their resilience note how important community factors can be. Anyone who lives in isolation is more at risk for losing all sense of well-being than people who interact as part of their community life. This cycles us back to the importance of the first two suggestions made in this article: if we are people who live with gratitude and kindness, moving forward both with awareness of our affect our world and also being true to our own inner visions, then we increase the likelihood that our connections to our world will be rewarding.