Emotional Wellbeing

Be Healthy, Happy and Wealthy

We all want to be the best person we can be. We want to be healthy and happy. Health plays an integral part in striving to be the best we can be, but being healthy doesn’t refer to a healthy body only. For you to be the best you, it is important to take care of your overall wellbeing.

According to Wikipedia the definition of wellness is: ‘a healthy balance of the mind, body and spirit that results in an overall feeling of wellbeing. Wellness is much more than meeting the basic needs of food, a place to live and the absence of illness. It is a dynamic process of change and personal growth; an active process of becoming aware of the importance of wellbeing. Wellness is not a one-dimensional concept but consist of the following dimensions that all require similar focus and attention:

  • Physical Wellness: maintaining a healthy body.
  • Emotional Wellness: understanding and acknowledging your feelings and emotions, as well as coping effectively with life challenges such as stress, anger, fear, etc. For purposes of this article, emotional wellness also includes: spiritual wellness (set of values and beliefs that give meaning and purpose to your life in the form of religion, yoga or meditation), social wellness (positive relationships with family, friends, colleagues and acquaintances), intellectual wellness (developing an open mind when encountering new ideas and life-long learning), occupational wellness (personal fulfillment through your job and career) and environmental wellness (respecting the environment that you live in and making a positive contribution towards conserving the environment).
  • Financial Wellness: managing your financial status in an effective way to create wealth and become financially independent.

Taking care of your wellness and becoming the best you, starts with a choice. Choose to live a healthier and more fulfilled lifestyle and take action to actively live it. We all know to maintain a healthy body we need to exercise regularly; eat a healthy balanced diet; go for regular medical check-ups and get sufficient sleep. But what action steps can we implement to enhance our financial and emotional wellness?

Although the saying “money cannot buy you happiness” is true, we cannot ignore the role money plays in society and our daily lives. We need money to pay for our daily living costs like food, accommodation, electricity, transport and school fees. Financial independence has become a necessity especially in these days where retrenchment is a cruel reality that can happen to anybody no matter who you are or what your qualifications are. Also do not rely on your partner to take care of your financial needs, especially when you take into account the high divorce rates and people dying at a young age due to life threatening diseases.

Important action steps to improve your financial wellness:

  • Keep a budget to effectively control and monitor your expenses. Divide your budget into the following categories: income; savings (i.e. investments, saving for a holiday etc.); ‘cannot live without expenses’ (i.e. bond instalments, water and electricity, groceries etc.); ‘nice to have expenses’ (i.e. hairdresser, DSTV, entertainment etc.) and emergency expenses (i.e. maintenance on your car which is not covered by the motor plan, medical expenses which are not covered by the medical aid etc.).
  • Save, save, save! The general rule of thumb is that you need to save at least 10% of your monthly income after deducting tax, pension fund contributions and medical aid contributions. If you do not have any debt to repay, increase your savings to at least 30% of your monthly income.
  • Become debt free and stay debt free as far as possible. If you cannot buy it cash, do not buy it. Always repay your more expensive debt like car instalments, credit cards, personal loans and clothing accounts first.
  • Whenever you have additional cash, use it to repay your bond.
  • Build up an emergency fund that you can use for unforeseen big expenses. Use it only for emergencies and don’t be tempted to use the money for that big-screen TV or that trip to the Greek Islands.
  • Retirement planning is crucial. The younger you start planning and saving for your retirement the better.
  • Ensure that you have a will and that you keep it up to date. Unfortunately death is a reality for all of us and you don’t want to leave chaos to your loved ones when you die.

Furthermore, don’t neglect your emotional wellness. Your state of mind has a direct impact on your health, your energy levels, your appetite, your relationships, your productivity and what you achieve in life. Your partner, children, boss, job or hobbies cannot make you happy. Happiness comes from within yourself. To become the best person you can be, you need to be positive and believe in yourself and your abilities. A few important action steps to enhance your emotional wellness:

  • Surround yourself with positive people who will support and uplift you.
  • Schedule time in your diary to do things that you enjoy.
  • Spend time with your loved ones. Tomorrow might be too late.
  • Continuously look for opportunities where you can expand your knowledge.
  • Give and you shall receive. Learn to give without expecting anything in return. That feeling when you know you made a difference in somebody’s life is priceless.
  • Spend a few minutes every day writing down all the things you are grateful for. It will teach you to appreciate the smaller things in life.
  • Create a vision board of your life goals and put it up where you can see it every day. Believe that you will achieve all of that and much more. Have a plan and take action to achieve your goals in life.
  • Pray more, laugh more and love more.

In conclusion: your wellbeing is your most valuable asset and only you can take care of it. Choose to live a healthy, happy and wealthy lifestyle and take action to achieve it. Become the best you, you can be. You deserve it and owe it to yourself!

By Ronel Jooste

CA(SA) and Financial Wellness Coach

ronel@physeqfit.co.za

This article is the unedited version of the article that was published in the GetIt Pretoria Magazine in March 2017.

Give and You Shall Receive

By Ronel Jooste

I was invited to the birthday party of Nicky Coleman, founder of The Gift of Joy (www.tgoj.org), a non-profit organisation. It was a birthday party with a difference though – Nicky decided to donate her birthday party to a group of eight kids living in the township Alexandra. I immediately accepted the invite and started looking for kind-hearted people to donate some cupcakes for the party.

Nicky and I embarked on our township journey armed with cupcakes, sweets, balloons, banners, party packs and gifts for 8 kids known as Thandi’s kids. Thandi takes care of these 8 kids; all of them between the ages of 8 and 18 years. These kids are from Thandi’s extended family and have lost both their parents. They live in a small house with one bedroom, a lounge area and a kitchen. There are only three beds which some of the children share while the others sleep on the floor in the lounge. There aren’t any toilet or bathroom facilities in the house, exacerbating living conditions in the already congested house. However the house is spotlessly clean considering 9 people are living in it.

The first thing I noticed was how peaceful the neighbourhood is. You don’t feel scared or threatened – everybody is friendly, greeting you and treating you with respect. The second thing I noticed was how late these kids came back from school. It was already after 3pm when they arrived back from school and that speaks of their commitment to their education.

The kids were pleasantly surprised when they arrive home and their lounge was decorated with balloons and banners and the floor was packed with birthday hats, party packs, party food and cold drinks. At first they were a bit shy but they quickly settled in. Before we knew it the party vibe kicked in and the room was filled with laughter, babbling and singing. The kids really enjoyed the party food and they complemented us on how good the cupcakes tasted.

The third thing I noticed was how well behaved and well educated these kids are. They are intelligent, treat everybody with respect, speak properly, say thank you, don’t waste with the food and when we finished eating they all got up and started cleaning the lounge. No arguing about it and no sign of laziness. They know what needs to be done and they work together as a team getting it done.

After we have finished eating, it was time to hand them their gifts. It was so special witnessing them opening their gifts and seeing how their faces lighted up and their smiles got even bigger. The girls immediately put on their make-up, jewellery and lip-gloss and posed for us. The older boy demonstrated to us that he can make a tie and he bragged with his new watch and sunglasses. The cute 8-year old boy proudly showed us his colouring book and toy cars. Their joy and happiness receiving those gifts engraved priceless memories into our souls.

While experiencing this I once again realised why social wellbeing is such an integral part of your overall wellbeing. There is so much need in this world and each one of us can contribute to make a positive difference in this world regardless of the size. It also taught me that all my achievements and qualifications are worthless if not used to make a positive difference in our country and giving back to those in need. Even though you give your time and money, you receive so much more in return. You don’t receive something in monetary terms but the sense of achievement, gratitude and fulfilment is priceless. Money cannot buy that feeling. At the end of the experience I was a wealthier human being.

 

Relationships are about completing each other

By Stephen van Basten

Marriage Expert and Author

Contact Stephen: www.stephenvanbasten.co.za/author.html

 Steve van Basten Website

This is an excerpt from the book: “So you’re married, now what?

When you have a good long look at life, you eventually see that it’s all about relationships. We have a plethora of relationships raging around us all the time. We have a relationship (good, bad or indifferent) with our maker, our parents, our siblings, our children, our friends, our bosses, our sub-ordinates, our colleagues, our government, other drivers on the roads, waitrons, tellers, suppliers, clients, customers and the annoying taxi driver in the yellow line during peak hour traffic.

So how do you think you are performing in all of those areas?

I believe we have all heard the saying that 50% of marriages fail (don’t shoot the messenger hey!!)? That would mean that we fail at about 95% of relationships! Remember, we do not marry everyone we date. Personally I believe this is why 80% of new businesses fail too.

Interestingly enough, when my wife Jacqui and I visited India, we were surprised to find that Indian arranged marriages beat the divorce statistics. Indian parents use astrology to pick partners for their children and it seems to work better than our chemical reaction (read lust) method here in the West. And here is a nice little challenge to all of you; someone once asserted that an enlightened being could be married off to anyone on earth and make the relationship work!

Then of course we get the common malady of searching for one’s soul-mate. I believe we do this out of pure laziness! We think we want to find someone that is so perfect that we think the same, react the same, want the same, vote the same, say the right things, do the right things and fulfil every single need we have. Indeed you don’t even need to talk because you are automatically tuned into each other almost telepathically. What rubbish. In my opinion, your soul mate would be someone who is the exact opposite and COMPLETES you. They would challenge you to grow, call you on your actions, tell you when you are being stupid and force you to grow (and probably grow up too!).

That is why my favourite relationship symbol is the yin-yang symbol. Not for religious or spiritual reasons but because we are opposites that complete each other. The little “dots” are where we are the same and they anchor us. The black and white are how different we are. The beauty is that we COMPLETE each other! Whenever I work with a couple who are struggling, it’s usually because one partner wants the other partner to be more like them. Imagine the entire seven billion people on earth were exactly like you. The world would be a mess. My advice is to love yourself for who you are, then love your spouse for who they are and then don’t try to change each other!

Sign

Keys to Happiness – Mindfulness

By Sharon Stobbia, Life Coach and Matrix Practitioner, www.sharonstobbia.co.za

Sharon Stobbia
Can we really design a happier life for ourselves? According to studies in the field of positive psychology, we can now choose to indulge in ‘happy practices’ that are scientifically proven to put smiles on our faces. We will take a closer look at each of the 10 keys to happiness over the next few months. This month’s focus is on paying attention, with intention, to our thoughts.

We all have negative voices in our head.  For some they are subtle, passive, and even deceive us into thinking they are there to protect us and keep us safe.  For others, they are much more aggressive, and downright mean.  Sometimes we are aware of their words and influence.  Most other times we are oblivious to their destructive messages, and they impact our beliefs, sense of self, motivation, and happiness. One of the best ways to become savvy to the negative inner voices in your head is to practice mindfulness. To be more mindful means to be more aware of your thoughts, feelings and actions in the present moment.

The challenge with not being mindful of our thoughts, is that we treat our thoughts as if they were facts. We just simply accept whatever comes into our mind as truth without giving it a second thought. And we have these thoughts so often that we believe them as fact. But really a thought is not a fact.  A thought is just a thought. And when they are destructive (which they mostly are), they have very negative ramifications.

You may have the thought “I am no good at this,” or “I’m fat,” or “I’m not smart enough,” or “Nobody understands me,” or even “I am brilliant!” Does thinking it make it so?  Once or twice, probably not. But if we think about it constantly, our mind will accept it as truth, regardless of whether it is good or bad.

The monkey-chatter in your head exercise: The value in this exercise is to realise first how little attention we pay to our thoughts, yet how extremely powerful they are. Then learning to notice them can lead us to better control them to serve us for the better. Focus specifically on your breath –slowly in and out. Imagine your thoughts floating by like clouds in the sky, or leaves in a stream. Notice each passing thought and then the one that comes after it, and then the one that comes after that. You may notice that just at the moment you become aware of a thought, it passes and is replaced by another thought. That’s what happens – thoughts come, and they go. Finally, to end this exercise bring yourself back to the awareness of your breath.

When you start to pay attention to your thoughts through mindfulness with gentle curiosity and no judgment, you can observe your thinking more objectively. You can notice your thoughts, assess them for truth, then either accept or reframe them more positively. This is a powerful toolImagine catching even a fraction of your negative thoughts, assessing them for truth (which most aren’t), and reframing them in a more positive and truthful way.     

 Mindfulness

 

Avoidance Goals versus Towards Goals

By Jessica De Bruin, Managing Director and Life Coach at Meta4mance Coaching

www.meta4mance.co.za

Jessica pic

Why is that we tend to focus on all the things that could go wrong Instead of what we could possibly achieve?In NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) we call this phenomenon “avoidance goals”. I had many life coaching sessions with professional athletes, musicians and managers. I coach by focusing on the mental side of performance in order to prepare them for their next competition, concert or team briefing. When I ask a coachee about his or her inner dialogue, let’s say during the build-up before a race, I often get the answer that their continuing thoughts are about unwanted scenarios for example “I don’t want to lose”; “I don’t want to make this mistake”; “I don’t want to disappoint my coach or team”.

Today I was asked to give an impulse talk on ‘How to become the best version of yourself’ at the Nationals of a Talent Show competition in Johannesburg. When I had the opportunity to chat to one of the younger modelling competitors, I asked her out of curiosity: “So what do you think about when you go out on stage?” She replied instantly “Just don’t fall”.

It’s fascinating that we all seem to have similar ways of talking to ourselves. We all are so different and unique, yet we are all the same. If you would reflect on your own thoughts for a moment. Have you ever thought that you don’t want to have financial problems, that you don’t want to fail a test or that you don’t want to hit that water hole when you were playing golf?

Well, unfortunately I have to break it to you. There is a challenge when talking to ourselves in avoidance goals: Where your focus goes, your energy flows. In an ideal world we would all be communicating with ourselves in “towards goals”. That inner voice of yours could sound something like: “I want to give my very best at this competition/test”; “I want to race/ jump/ swim my personal best time”; “I want to make my coach or team proud” or “I want to be financially stable”.

Now you might think, but where is the difference. Isn’t that basically the same?  Not quite. If we talk to ourselves in avoidance goals, all we can actually see are obstacles and reasons why things could go wrong.  However, if we talk to ourselves in towards goals we see opportunities, solutions to a certain challenge.

If that sounds to airy fairy for you, then I would like to invite you to test yourself. Look up and check the room around you for one colour only. Let’s take green for example. Try to take in everything that is green. Fantastic, now the tricky part. I am going to test you and you are not allowed to look up again.

What did you see that was RED? Hmmm, it’s difficult, isn’t it? The reason is that your energy flows where your focus goes. So if we only focus on avoidance goals, which could be the green in the little experiment you just did. Then all you see is the green, reasons why things could go wrong. It’s almost impossible to see the red, the opportunities around you.

The fantastic side to this realisation is: Now you know, if you do talk to yourself in avoidance goals, change your mind-set; change your inner voice. Rephrase your thoughts into towards goals. Focus on talking to yourself in towards goals and enjoy the world full of opportunities around you. May your day be full of red – seeing opportunities!