With Lisa Johnson –
As a psychologist I support people to enhance their health and happiness in ways that are manageable, sustainable and empowering. The overarching keys to this, I believe, is to use a holistic approach that is preventative and health promoting.
Enhancing health and well-being preventatively and in health promoting ways versus crisis care is essential. Crisis care is short-term and short- lived, unful lling, usually expensive and often painful. Exploring and improving your health and well-being holistically has many positive outcomes. These include gaining results in a quicker and easier manner that isn’t as restrictive and reactive. The simplest model I discovered over two years ago was: you are what you eat, what you think/feel, and what you physically do/ behave. However, from my research and training in individual, occupational and organisational health, I have expanded the model. The Five Elements Model consists of nutritional, psychological, physical, social engagement and professional. I also included a sixth element which for some isn’t essential, although for many and according to research having a spiritual connection, belief, religion, or practice is beneficial for your health.
When considering your nutritional well-being, you also need to consider chemical aspects in your lifestyle. “You are what you eat”. Whole food eating is a great start. An idea to consider is to spend more of your investment in the fruit and vegetable shops and less in the supermarkets. The supermarkets invest in marketing agents to emotionally manipulate you in to buying generally unhealthy and processed foods. I jokingly say buy food that has had the least amount of interactions with humans and technology. Sounds purist, but the less number of people that have handled the food you buy (processing, packaging, storing, preserving) the better quality of the food and it’s better for the environment too. It’s becoming common knowledge that good gut and digestive health is essential for wellbeing. However, less is expressed how emotional stress, anxiety or depression compromises gut health. Basically, these stressed states activates your sympathetic nervous system (the primitive adrenal response of ight, fright or freeze) which is a survival response, that reduces digestive function even when you have consumed the healthiest of foods.
There are so many chemicals we breath and absorb through our skin. Our skin is one of our largest organs in the body and our rst line of defence, often it gets bombarded with cleaning products, skin creams, make-ups and various other chemicals. Psychological well-being can include many things and these can greatly enhance or hamper your wellbeing. Below are some of the aspects that need consideration. The temperament you’ve been born with, your levels of optimism, gratitude and resilience. The childhood living environment, levels of nurturing, stability, love, unconditional positive regard from your caregivers are important. Relationships with
your parents/caregivers, siblings and peers can also influence your identity, self-con dence and psychological wellbeing. Various chapters in your life are important as well: education, career/ employment, intimate relationships, peers and social connections.
The physical element includes your structural health and the amount of activity/movement/ exercise in your life. Your posture and ergonomics also need consideration, for instance sedentary lifestyle and sitting within the workplaces are being linked to significant health risks. Exercise is more than attending a fitness class. It needs to include movement that is supportive, and adaptive to your unique and evolving needs. Research is starting to support the concept that being active throughout the day is essential, not just a few blocks per week. The health bene ts of exercising are immense and include increases in endorphins, relieving for depression, stress, anxiety and muscle tension. I have my own bias here, I believe the best exercises are ones that support the links between physical movement and emotional/ psychological well-being. Such exercises could include yoga, tai chi and martial arts.
Social connectedness and feelings of belongingness is important for wellbeing. Whether you are an introverted or an extroverted person, having strong social connections or feeling part of something outside of your own company has great benefits for your health. Contributing something to your community, work place or people in need can help you feel more socially connected and accepted. It can increase your levels of self- worth, self-esteem and strengthen your identity and make you feel like you belong, are supported and less alone.
For most people their work/profession/career can be a key contributor to wellbeing and happiness. Having confidence in your work, feeling appreciated and respected by your manager or peers can greatly enhance your well-being. High levels of work satisfaction and fulfillment and being celebrated for your individual contribution and offerings in your work places can improve your health. Aspects such as role clarity, work life balance, support, training and supervision, and working for an organisation that aligns with your personal values, skills, strengths and attributes is important. It can greatly enhance feelings of workplace engagement and ful lment all of which protect you against burnout job stress and help you cope with the demands of your job.
The sixth element that is the centre of wellbeing and happiness is the spiritual element. For a spiritual/religious person, it might offer you
a regular practice, a source of guidance or a purpose. Having a strong spiritual connection can create a great sense of comfort, satisfaction and assurance. It can also have strong connective power that brings people together on a regular basis and offers people a sense of commonality, something to share, discuss, guide and feel a part of. Many people turn to this support when they are feeling sad or alone. Spirituality is an individual choice and with respect, I believe each person is entitled to and should be encouraged to make their own decisions around their sense of spirituality/ religion or spiritual connection. For some people it isn’t an integral part of their wellbeing.
ASAMI APPROACH OF ENGAGEMENT PSYCHOLOGY:
Lisa is the Director of Asami Engagement Psychology that supports individuals, families, communities and organisations with enhancing their fulfillment and wellbeing. I support people to enhance their most important asset, their health and to ensure their relationship, lifestyle or employment isn’t damaging it. I believe that you shouldn’t have to sacri ce your health and happiness to earn a living or have a fulfilling life. Barriers to your wellbeing are diverse – work life/balance, time management, work dynamics/conflict, relationships, parenting, self con dence, mental health, physical fatigue & emotional exhaustion. Asami offers a supportive and strategic approach by completing a holistic assessment of what is impacting your health and happiness. Because, healthy people lead to healthier families and workplaces, and therefore healthier and more functional communities and society. And the best part is, my unique process is achievable and sustainable with simple and manageable steps.