Over the years, I’ve tried many, different ways to get to the bottom of my personal #a-game … I’ve delved into all types of wellness practices, read all the articles and even tried following, those so called, 10 steps to better wellness programs you see in magazines. I’d follow them – mostly blindly – exercising, trying not to bump into things, watching my diet, “thanking” what seemed like all of mankind, as part of a “gratitude practice” and repeating daily affirmations, or mantras, over and over for the one billionth time … no exaggeration! and at the end … I still wouldn’t really know why I’d exercised, practiced mindfulness or meditated … or what I’d actually achieved.
More times than not though, I’d just end up saying F@CK IT!! and throw in the towel – why – because of all the do’s, don’ts and don’t you freaking dare’s they’d imposed. It all just felt torturous, too disciplined, too restrictive, more like a punishment and something I was obliged to do, rather than self-development.
All these experiences have all led me to one big conclusion … “There simply must be a different and better f@cking way for people to develop and improve their wellness habits!?”
So what next?Ironically, I found part of the answer in a quiz about the four tendencies of developing habits, which a friend posted in her blog! This quiz helped me reflect on how I went about forming habits rather than focusing on the habit itself … The key question this quiz helps unlock is “How do you respond to an expectation?” as we all have expectations of ourselves, right?! … be they outer expectations set upon us – say, work deadlines – or inner expectations that we set upon ourselves – say, giving up sugar.
Okay, when I introduced the #a-game I said that I’d “show you mine“ so, for my first I’ll tell you that after completing the quiz, my dominant tendency came out as a Questioner. No surprises there! I laughed – and my hubby would utterly agree – I can’t help but question all expectations … and will only meet it if I believe it’s justified, so in effect I meet only inner expectations i.e. those I set myself
Therefore, if I believe a particular habit is worthwhile, I’ll stick to it – but only if I’m satisfied that the habit is reliable and useful… I’ll resist anything illogical or ineffective, yeah, my hubby has found out he married “Spock”!!! Now that man, I’d respect and take direction from. The down side of this though, is that I exhaust myself, at worst others (poor hubby!) – how – by constantly and relentlessly asking questions … I find it hard to act without having so called perfect information.
So, hey why not take the quiz yourself to see what tendency you have, its quick and easy and available here.
Right, getting back to those 10 step wellness programs … it’s no wonder then that I question their effectiveness huh! And get exhausted before I even start! So, how can I go about this differently, what’s going to work?!
Arrghghhh! … question, question, questions, I just can’t help myself???!!!
Right, this needs to stop! And the way forward for me seems to be in allowing imperfections, uncertainty and some flexibility, maybe inspired and fueled by my natural curiosity?! This has gotta be more liberating, right?!
So, the second “show you mine“ is that I’m sharing how I’ve mapped my #a-game, my wellness and trust me, “it’s not just any old Mind Map … it’s a Marks and Spencer’s Mind Map” joking! it’s actually Tony Buzan’s, which I’ve found to be effective, useful & logical – perfect for the Spock in me!
Anyway, the science bit, Tony’s theory is called Radiant Thinking – if you’ve not heard of this, you can check it out here – as a tool it initially represents sensations, memories and thoughts as a central image, with branches then coming off the main image that represent any associated links and connections.
Funnily enough, this is pretty much how I thought the brain worked as a child! Although, as I’ve gotten older it feels more scrambled … a scribbled mess, with questions just going around and around!
Therefore, I do love this tool, as it really helps make sense of our scribbles, hell! it activity encourages creativity, arousing curiosity – encouraging you to scribble down on paper, albeit within a structure – in short, it just starts to “feels right” as you use it.
All this is not surprising really, as it’s meant to mirror actual brain processes … recalling visually dynamic information, feeding both sides of the brain and stimulating senses. The whole processes encourages the use of words, images, colour, symbols, numbers – all whilst you’re brainstorming, identifying, and linking concepts.
Right, that’s enough of the theory, enough delay, I think it’s time to scribble! Well I did promise to show you mine?!
Using one sheet of plain A3 paper (landscape), I wrote the main topic in the centre, keeping it simple by not using more that 1 or 2 words … and drew freely around the topic – yes of course you can use a circle, if you want to! Then I simply drew lines for each sub-category off the main topic extending outward form the center and labelling each with a word. I don’t use abbreviations and all lines or branches connect with the first branches being thickest. I added images, phots and drawings later. (I have to keep some things private, right!?) All the sub-categories – those of health, strength, hydration, sleep, food, shelter and warmth – being my WELLNESS BASICS. Without these I simply don’t function well, these are my foundations, I suppose my must haves, so I concentrate on getting these right first!
… it then branches further outwards, using different colours to denote other sub-categories like family, friends, intimacy, environment, community, world, and finally creativity, potential and purpose, which defines what’s important to my overall wellness. Remember though, this can literally be anything that you want it to be, its meant to be a PERSONAL MIND MAP after all! So, make it be anything that its needs to be for you!
Once all the branches and sub-categories are complete, its time to start asking questions of each area.
Explore what wellness looks like, feels like … consider what you do today as well as what you need/want to do to keep well. Answering these sorts of questions ultimately provides you with your own “wellness index”, which in short, provides somewhere for us to start, reflect further or work upon.
So, there it is! … as they say I’ve shown you, the start of mine, but I can’t help but wonder what yours would look like? …
With lots of love and wellness