I have met some really caring people over the years – people who were calm, kind and generous, people who were knowledgeable, encouraging and supportive, people who excited, enthusiastic and motivated. I have also met some really fit and physically healthy people – people who were active, self disciplined and fashionable.
In each case I have admired their positive characteristics and felt compelled to strive for greater self-improvement. But also, as time progressed, I became aware of their imperfections and limitations as well. The really caring people were not always physically fit and healthy, the really physically fit and healthy people were not always the most calm and caring.
Worse still for the unfit and unhealthy, these downfalls in physical fitness and health could have devastating consequences on their wellbeing and quality of life. Similarly for the uptight and uncaring, the downfalls in a lack of calmness or caring for others could have disastrous results on relationships and in turn their happiness and life satisfaction.
The more I started to look closer at the people I admired the more I realized that very few people ever achieve a good balance of both their physical health and psychological wellbeing at the same time. This realization set me on a path to develop a simple framework using The Stress Surfer concept to describe the essential elements of complete wellbeing as well as design simple tools and strategies to achieve Balance and thus live a successful life in terms of both physical and psychological wellbeing.
The 4 Elements of Wellbeing
To Ride the Waves of Life successfully we need to be able to live in Balance with The 4 Elements of Wellbeing. Just as in Nature there is Wind, Water, Earth and Fire so for Stress Surfers there are Mindsets, Emotions, Lifestyle and Purpose. This idea is not new and dates back thousand’s of years. The Ancient civilizations recognized four elements in nature: Wind, Water, Earth & Fire and searched for these elements in their inner worlds…..
Element 1 – Mindsets
MINDSETS and thoughts were likened to the free moving and unseen WIND.
The way we think about what happens to us, and our beliefs and perceptions about events, circumstances and life pressures are important in managing our stress. We can sometimes see circumstances as being either all bad or all good. This “black or white” or “all or nothing” view of a situation may cause unnecessary distress. It can limit our ability to look at things accurately and solve problems. The Stress Surfer can learn to think about the waves of life in ways that turn negative pressures into positive pressures and promote personal growth and success.
Element 2 – Emotions
EMOTIONS and feelings were the cause of tears, which flow like WATER.
This is about what we actually do every day in response to life stressors which influences our ability to ride the waves of life.
The Stress Surfer learns to manage their emotions through problem solving, coping strategies and relaxation. We learn to reduce any unnecessary tension and stress, and increase levels of physical calmness and mind relaxation. We become aware of the “here and now”, neither dwelling on the past nor worrying about the future. We develop the ability to draw on positive and relaxing images and memories, which in turn enables us not only to accurately assess and solve problems we experience, but also to stay mentally calm and relaxed.
Element 3 – Lifestyle
LIFESTYLE and the daily needs of the body was likened to the stability of the EARTH.
Sometimes we can allow stress to affect our sleeping patterns, eating habits and diet. The elements of our lifestyle related to social activities and hobbies and interests can suffer. We forget to stay physically fit and active. The Stress Surfer learns to maintain a balanced and healthy lifestyle across the areas of sleep, diet, exercise and social habits and interests, even as the waves of life continue rolling in.
Element 4 – Purpose
PURPOSE and passion was the courage of convictions that burns within us, and was likened to FIRE.
Having a clear sense of purpose or mission in life, and developing meaningful life goals are the key ingredients of a successful life.
The Stress Surfer learns to live according to their values, both in the big picture and in everyday living, and pay attention to the legacy they are leaving behind them.
Living In Balance: A Successful Life!
When you are able to live in Balance with The 4 Elements of Wellbeing you are able to optimize both your physical and psychological wellbeing and in turn live a successful life. By having healthy Mindsets you can live free from Blame, Demand and Worry. By recognizing your Emotions and using the right coping skills you can limit the damage of negative emotions and maximize the experience of positive emotions.
By living a healthy Lifestyle your sleep, diet, exercise and social activities will keep you physically healthy and regularly engaged with family and friends. Finally, by having a strong sense of Purpose in both the big picture and in day-to-day life you will be feeling more fulfilled and be making a positive difference every day.
With the Four Elements in Balance in your life you will have the best of both worlds – be both caring, supportive and motivated, as well as physically fit and healthy! Are You Living in Balance?
Ride the Waves of Life!
The Stress Surfer
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