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Inspired living

How to create a flower of wellbeing


flower illustration floral wellbeing art

Credit: 123RF

Wellbeing is balance. When your life is out of balance, dis-ease can be the result, not just physically but also emotionally, mentally, socially and spiritually. One way to find balance again is to zoom your lens out a bit so you can view the bigger picture of your life and gain a better and more accurate look at your current state of wellbeing.

Going “big picture” and identifying where the imbalances in your life exist allow you to take action. And these actions don’t need to be huge, overnight changes, because often it’s the small, gentle, daily changes that produce the best results.

Taking an aerial view of your life is also empowering as it allows you to realise that most of the elements for great health and personal fulfilment are already present in your life. It’s just a matter finding out through observation and investigation where the imbalances lie and then taking action to bring things back into harmony.

Let’s get visual!

There’s a tool you can use to help you do this, and it’s both effective and quite a bit of fun once you get going. It’s called the Flower of Wellbeing, and it’s both a tool and a process that allows you to restore the balance in your life in order to create truly sustainable and naturally sensational wellbeing.

The Flower of Wellbeing has five petals:

  1. Body
  2. Emotion
  3. Mind
  4. Social
  5. Nature

These five petals all exist around a central core: your Inner Well of Being.

Getting started

To harness the power of the flower, first get yourself a large sketchbook with blank pages and on the first page draw a large five-petalled flower with a circle in the middle.

Around the outside edges of the petals, label each with the five areas above. Now, write in the centre of the flower: My Inner Well of Being.

This flower is your blueprint for wellbeing and it’s this same visual that you’ll use each day to assess, rebalance and create the sustained wellbeing that is your natural inheritance.

So let’s get started!

Body petal

The body petal covers your physical wellbeing with the main areas being hydration (water intake), nourishment (food) and movement (exercise). Start by giving each title an equal amount of space on the petal and, if there are any more areas you wish to add that are relevant for you, add them in.

Begin on day one by writing these three (or more) areas in this petal and, below each, write down one or more goals you have for that area for the day. These may be things like “a big salad” for nourishment, “two large glasses of water on rising” for hydration and “walk Home from work” or “free-form dance in the lounge room after dinner” for movement.

Going “big picture” and identifying where the imbalances in your life exist allow you to take action.

As you can already see, these are just small goals that aren’t unachievable by any means, and that’s important because, in order for these things to work for you, you need to be able to do them.

After you’ve written down a few things you’d like to achieve on your body petal, and allocated each an equal amount of space (this is important for an accurate visual assessment later on), then you can move on to the next petal.

Emotion petal

The emotion petal represents your emotional wellbeing. This is all about expression and creativity, and you can choose for yourself those things and activities that are most helpful for you in expressing and exploring your emotions. Keep in mind also that these things can change over time, as you do, so you don’t need to choose something that you’ll necessarily do long term; it’s just something for today.

Under the title of “expression”, choose an activity that will allow you to express any emotions that may come up for you during the day or to process any long-term issues you are working through. They could be things like journalling, talking to a friend, sounding, dance etc. Write down one or more goals you’d realistically like to accomplish for the day so your emotional expression is given space in your day. It might be something like “write in my journal for 10 minutes” or “five minutes of drumming after dinner”.

Next, under creativity, choose something you will do that day purely for your creative enjoyment. It could be cooking a certain dinner dish you have wanted to for ages, creating a birthday card for a friend, working on your Pinterest board for your new home or tending to your home Garden. It could even be as simple as painting your toenails — all that matters is that it feels fun for you.

Create a goal that is achievable and nourishing, and will allow your inner child to play and express him/herself.

Mind petal

Having an awareness of your thought patterns is essential to your overall wellbeing. Cultivating awareness or mindfulness can be made easier by creating a few achievable daily goals focused on bringing your attention back to the present moment. Activities and exercises that help you redirect any unhelpful mental monologue that may be impeding your mental wellbeing can allow your outer actions to flow much more smoothly and have greater effects.

Choose something you will do that day purely for your creative enjoyment. It could be cooking a certain dinner dish you have wanted to for ages, creating a birthday card for a friend, working on your Pinterest board ... or tending to your home garden.

Think about one or two things you can do to bring more clarity and calmness to your mind. Some examples that can help you bring more mindfulness into your day include “set my phone alarm to ring each hour, and for 60 seconds breathe deeply and slowly and just observe my thoughts”, “10 minutes of meditation in the morning before I have my shower” or “15 minutes journalling out my thoughts and replacing any unhelpful ones with alternatives that better serve me”. You may select one or all of these, depending on your individual state of mental wellbeing.

Another great way to attend to your mental wellbeing is to enrol in one of the many online mindfulness courses, as many of these include small daily exercises you can carry out. Participating in a course like this could be your daily activity for your mind petal and will offer you the benefits of structure, guidance and inspiration.

Social petal

No man is an island. We are social animals and we have very real and deeply rooted requirements for regular meaningful interactions with other people. And, when it comes to relationships, it’s the quality that’s important. The sense of connection we experience is what nourishes our social wellbeing and it’s these bonds, or lack of, that make or break our sense of community.

So, for this petal, select one or more aspects of your social wellbeing you’d like to nourish and write them down. Allocate an equal space to each, just like you did for the pervious petals. You might choose things like, “spend 10 minutes just listening to my child, as a friend and not just a parent”, “give a compliment to my co-worker” or “help out at the local markets and engage more with my community”.

There are so many ways you can nurture your social wellbeing, and often the opportunities are already there for creating meaningful relationships — it’s just a matter of nurturing them and allowing them in turn to nourish that part of you that craves and thrives on meaningful and face-to-face social interaction.

Nature petal

We are dependent on the Earth for our very existence, and honouring this fact is a highly intelligent move, not just for our physical wellbeing but also for our sense of personal belonging.

Knowing we belong to something larger than just ourselves is both relieving and comforting. To know that the cycles of nature are not separate from us, that we belong to and are intricately connected to them, soothes us. As we reacquaint ourselves with the majesty of Mother Nature we are naturally reacquainted with our own natural cycles and rhythms.

Regular time spent outdoors in leafy surrounds feeds us physically, emotionally, spiritually and mentally. Forest air saturates our cells with oxygen, supports detoxification and aids cellular renewal, while the negative ions underneath the forest floor neutralise free radicals circulating in our bodies.

As we reacquaint ourselves with the majesty of Mother Nature, we are naturally reacquainted with our own natural cycles and rhythms.

Walking along natural pathways of soil, sand or stone encourage our bodies to once again move more organically, around twists and turns, over uneven surfaces and through natural terrain. This mobilises all our body joints, encourages flexibility and increases muscle tone, all of which support sustained wellbeing.

So choose one or more things you can do for the day ahead that will give you your daily dose of nature. The possibilities are endless, from beach walks to bike rides along bush trails. You might prefer a quick walk outside after dinner or just to sit on a veranda connecting with the setting sun while you breathe in the evening air from your backyard trees. It doesn’t matter what it is, the important thing is that you choose something you can easily do — then do it!

Bringing it all together

Are you starting to see how the petals of your flower of wellbeing might nourish each other when they are in balance? Are you beginning, even at this early stage, to see how each petal is intimately connected to all the others?

You might even find yourself achieving three goals at the same time! For example, you might cook that favourite dish with a close friend, and then enjoy it out in the garden under the stars … this would cover aspects of your emotion, social and nature petals.

The last thing you’ll look at before going about your day is the centre of your flower, your Inner Well of Being.

Inner Well of Being

Your Inner Well of Being is the space in your consciousness where you can access your connection to your spirit/source/essence — or whatever name you feel comfortable giving to that aspect of you that is eternal, limitless and connected to all that is.

Daily time spent connecting to this aspect of yourself is absolutely essential in creating and maintaining sensational wellbeing. It’s placed in the centre of your flower because it is this that nourishes and sustains all the “petals” of your flower of life and wellbeing.

If your Well of Being is neglected, any growth in the surrounding petals will be limited because the amount of “activity” in your day depends on your ability to access your stillness and stay centred in the midst of high activity. If this is not in balance, your wellbeing will pay the price.

Cultivating awareness or mindfulness can be made easier by creating a few achievable daily goals focused on bringing your attention back to the present moment.

An imbalance in “being” and “doing” is often seen in high-flying executives who end up burning out, exhausted and with compromised health. Paying attention to your Inner Well of Being daily is prevention and medicine both.

This sacred time spent in contemplation, meditation, visualisation or whatever activity connects you with your source doesn’t have to be of a particular length; it’s the quality that’s important. Some days you might need to immerse yourself for a longer time to reconnect with the essence of you; other times you might just need a quick dip in your Inner Well because you’re feeling in tune and connected already.

For this central section of your flower, instead of colouring it in to show it has been completed, as you will do with the petals, you are going to colour it in to represent the quality and strength of connection you feel to your source/spirit.

Your choice of medium, colour, texture and pattern will completely depend on you and your own unique connection to your own unique Inner Well of Being. Over time, you’ll enjoy seeing visually how you experience your spiritual connection differently at different times and how this correlates with your “outer” wellbeing, as represented by the colour — or not — in your petals.

Colour in your day

So you’ve arrived at the end of your day and that means colouring-in time! Get yourself some nice crayons, pencils, paints or any colour medium you wish and go around your Flower of Wellbeing, colouring in with many different colours all those areas you’ve addressed successfully today.

If you’ve assigned each activity on each leaf an equal amount of space, by the end of this process you’ll have a really clear and very helpful visual to show you what petal of your life needs a little more colour and what petals are so colourful and vibrant that there may be an opportunity to share some with other petals.

For example, if your social petal is bursting with colour but your nature petal is white, perhaps you could suggest to the friends you catch up with for coffee that you try a bushwalk next time? That way, your social petal won’t lose its spectacular colour but your nature petal will start to come alive.

You will also, over time, be able to see how the strength of your spiritual connection — your Inner Well of Being — influences the “health” of the petals around it.

Tending to your flower

Using the Flower of Wellbeing either daily or weekly is a highly effective way to create positive change in your life, while also being deeply creative, nourishing and lots of fun.

It’s an empowering exercise because it’s you who’s rebalancing your life, you making the adjustments and you getting all the credit for bringing your Flower of Wellbeing to the full, vibrant and colourful life that it — and you — deserve.

So why not get out that sketchbook that’s been lying around waiting to be brought to life, and breathe life into it by colouring it with your own?

Be creative, be brave, be adventurous and, most of all, have fun with this process. There’s no rush and no destination to worry about. Just continual, enjoyable growth and the chance to watch your very own life turn to brilliant colour before your eyes.



 

Lisa Mount

Lisa Mount is the wellbeing mentor at Bells Day Spa and Resort. A university-qualified naturopath, reiki practitioner and doula, Lisa runs a private practice on the NSW central coast, as well as speaking and writing about all things wellbeing.