Last week someone at work made me cry. I don’t normally let emotion get the better of me in the workplace, but this particular exchange sent me over the edge – I was made to feel my professionalism and ability to do my job was being called into question, and it made me feel defensive and upset. Ironically, the incident occurred fifteen minutes before I was due to attend a ‘Happiness Seminar’ which was being put on by Team London Bridge as part of its #lovelunch series of free lunchtime events for professionals. I wasn’t going to go as I felt too embarrassed to sit in a room full of strangers discussing happiness when my puffy eyes demonstrated just how miserable I was, but my colleague frogmarched me down there. And within five minutes of being there I was so glad she did.
The lady running the workshop was from the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, and she introduced us to the theory behind the ‘Wheel of Wellbeing’ concept which, in a nutshell, is that we need to do the following six things to achieve wellbeing in our daily lives: be active (body); keep learning (mind); give (spirit); connect (to people); take notice (of the place/s where we are) and care (for the planet). She taught us that we should not expect our stressful working environments to change, and instead should seek out ways to help us cope better with the daily stressors we encounter – for example by taking five minutes away from our computer every hour to sit with our feet on the floor, our hands on our laps and our eyes closed, to breathe deeply and scan our minds and bodies for signs of stress, then simply let them go. Even mini meditations like this can vastly improve our wellbeing and overall energy levels, said our teacher.
By the time I got back to my desk I felt much calmer and more level-headed. And the experience got me thinking: If everyone tried to incorporate the principles of the Wheel of Wellbeing into their lives, might the world not be a more agreeable and loving place?