When looking back on the courses we recently ran in Ireland it was clear that every participant I spoke to said how amazing their course was. Looking deeper however, I often heard from them that being in nature played a big part in their experience, apart from just what occurred in the workshop room. To be in nature, hike in the mountains, swim in the fjords, be exposed to the elements and even just breathe the clean air!
It has a profound impact on people. This is why I always wanted to organise our courses on the West Coast of Ireland, letting the abundant natural beauty lift our moods, help us be present, less stressed, and to feel more connected.
From my own experience I can say that being far from nature (when I lived in a big city and rarely went to parks, or when I was going through cancer treatment and was bedridden in a hospital) affected my mental state a lot. On the other hand, when I am near the Atlantic Ocean, the Baltic Sea, lakes, forests and even meadows I feel rejuvenated, free, joyful, and alive.
In her book ‘Blue Spaces, How and Why Water can Make You Feel Better’, Dr Catherine Kelly explores the latest research into the physical, psychological, and social factors that connect water and wellbeing. Dr Kelly is focused on Blue Spaces – water, but I would argue that other natural places have a similar effect on us.
In this blog I would like to tell you about the Wellbeing Wheel, which is a self-evaluating tool to check your wellbeing right now!
The Wellbeing Wheel highlights eight areas considered to influence your emotional wellbeing (not surprisingly the environment is one of them):
The Wellbeing Wheel
This self-evaluating tool was designed by Nuffield Health, the UK’s largest healthcare charity to help us recognise how our emotional health may be compromised, allowing us to focus on the areas we need to.
How does it work?
Score yourself a ‘5’ as the best possible score (everything in this area of your life is brilliant), or a ‘1’ if it’s very poor. Using the dots on the lines of the wheel mark the number that best reflects each segment of your life. The number ‘1’ is closest to the centre, while ‘5’ is on the outside of the wheel.
Think about your:
Mind: Think about the clarity of your thoughts, efficiency of your decision-making, and your ability to stay focused.
Community: How connected and involved do you feel with your community.
Body: Consider your physical vitality and health. Do you find it easy to relax? Do you experience aches and pains?
Learning: How happy are you with how you are learning new information, skills and awareness in a way that is beneficial to your life?
Spirit: Think about your sense of meaning and purpose in your life. Do you live according to your core values?
Environment: Are you happy with the places/environments that you tend to spend your time in and how they affect you?
Emotions: Do you have a good balance of positive and negative emotions?
Relationships: Consider the quality of your relationships.
How did you do? What message do you hear when you look at your own Wellbeing Wheel? Do you see a balanced and hight-scoring wheel? If there are lots of ins and outs, what does it say about your own life? Perhaps there are some areas of your life where you need more balance? Maybe there is something you need that you weren’t aware of?
Maybe now is the time to listen to yourself!