27 Dec A new definition of wellbeing

“When you are able to meet life’s challenges with increasing capability, something extraordinary happens.”

Wellbeing is a frequently used term, how- ever despite it being the very thing so many desire, wellbeing is not well understood. Perhaps this is the reason why so few of us report experiencing it as often as we would like.

The dictionary dentition of wellbeing is ‘the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy.’ This however, is more of a description of wellbeing rather than a dentition. Feeling comfortable, happy and healthy are the outcomes of wellbeing, but they don’t actually de ne what it is.

1 Giant Mind proposes a new dentition of wellbeing based on the work of Rachel Dodge and her academic paper ‘The Challenge of Dening Wellbeing’ published in the International Journal of Wellbeing, 2012. This new dentition of wellbeing centres on a state of equilibrium or balance that can be affected by life events or challenges in relation to our skills and resources.

Skills are your capabilities that enable you to successfully meet life’s challenges. These include: life experience, the ability to communicate with yourself and others, emotional intelligence and stability, adaptability to change, creativity and innovation, and any vocational or academic skills that you posess.

Resources are your essential needs in order to thrive. These include: self-awareness, food, water and shelter, health and vitality, sense of purpose, motivation and enthusiasm, social support, and community.

Challenges are situations that you are faced with on a daily basis that demand a response. These can include: everything that is happening inside of you and outside of you, your relationship with yourself, your relationship with your partner, friends, family, colleagues and community, any event that is planned or unplanned, any event that is favorable or unfavorable.

In this dentition, wellbeing is experienced when you are able to meet the challenges of life whilst sustaining or increasing your resources and your skills.

The opposite of wellbeing is distress. Distress happens when life’s challenges outweigh your resources and skills to meet the demand. The most common trigger for distress is high levels of stress and fatigue. When you are overwhelmed with stress and fatigue you rapidly burn through your essential resources. If you don’t have a strategy for replenishing these resources, your skills rapidly decrease.

The reality is, life’s challenges are constantly coming at you thick and fast. If you are unable to build on your resources and skills, life will be overwhelming and wellbeing will only ever be a nice idea. Meditation is a one-stop shop that not only dissolves stress and fatigue, but also increases your essential resources and skills. A daily practice of meditation grows your brain and the cognitive ability that in- creases self-awareness and emotional intelligence.

When you are able to meet life’s challenges with increasing capability, something extraordinary happens. You shift from living reactively and start living life creatively. Driven by a strong sense of purpose, you become con dent in your decision making what to do next is clear.

Full ment in life isn’t about merely surviving, it’s about thriving. We can only expect to thrive when we are experiencing well- being. The foundation of wellbeing is the ability to balance resources and skills with life’s challenges and is entirely dependent on self-awareness. Meditation is a technique that naturally awakens self-awareness and therefore is the gateway to wellbeing.

Desa Seni offers regular Meditation and Pranayama classes every Monday and Friday at 7:30 am as well as a Buddist Meditation class every Wednesday at 6:00 pm. A Vedic Meditation course is offered once a year by Jonni Pollard of 1 Giant Mind.