Welcome to the Wheel of Wellbeing (WoW) – a simple framework designed to improve people’s health, happiness and wellbeing by focusing on six areas – Body, Mind, Spirit, People, Place and Planet. This monthly newsletter provides a roundup of the latest wellbeing tips, activities, research and resources to inspire better health and wellbeing. Tap into them – for yourself, your families, workplaces, schools and communities – and help create a happier world for us all!
This month we are focusing on Place: take notice, with a challenge to disconnect from our smartphones, tablets and laptops and reconnect ‘mindfully’ with nature.
Biophilia: The inborn affinity human beings have for nature
We have an innate affinity with the natural world based on an instinct for survival that draws us to places of plenty and abundance. The benefits of nature have been known for thousands of years. Greek and Roman philosophers were early advocates of nature as a ‘tonic for the mind and body’ as were ancient Indian and Chinese medical practitioners.
The Nature Disconnect
Its widely accepted that we are becoming more disconnected from nature, and whilst urbanisation is often offered as a driving factor, a recent study suggests a different explanation: technological change. In the 1950’s television began to denominate our leisure time, the 70’s saw the emergence of video games and a subsequent increase in time spent playing these screen based activities. The advent of the internet in the 1990’s has significantly changed how we spend our leisure time pulling us more and more into a virtual world. The technological advances of the last 70 years have, in part, substituted nature as a source of recreational entertainment. So, let’s take a deep breath in, breathe out slowly and reconnect with the natural world.
Why not use these inspiring international days to create a focal point for wellbeing activities in your school, workplace or community.
3rd May – Garden Meditation Day
Photo by Martin Kníže on Unsplash
Garden Meditation Day encourages us to take time to truly enjoy our gardens (or those of others), calm our minds and spirits, and connect with nature. You can either go into the garden for a private moment of self-introspection or join others in organized public garden meditations all over the world.
Want to spread the love of gardening and maybe show off your garden a little? You can organize a meditation in your very own garden and invite friends and family to come join you for a day of relaxation and connection with nature, self and others.
21st May – World Meditation Day
Photo by S Migaj on Unsplash
Meditation has been an integral part of many religions and was first written about in 1500 BCE in India. It plays a prominent role in many religions throughout the world, especially Buddhism and other Eastern faiths, but is also practised by those who are neither spiritual nor religious as a way of easing stress and clearing their mind. There are many types of meditation and these practices require different skills and mindsets. Different types of meditation suit different people. How do you know which practice is right for you? Read this Healthline article and find out.
Biodiversity Day 2021 is being celebrated under the slogan: “We’re part of the solution #ForNature.” Biodiversity provides the answer to several sustainable development challenges. From nature-based solutions to climate, health issues, food and water security, and sustainable livelihood. Biodiversity is the foundation upon which we can build a better future.
“We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”
Native American proverb
2nd May – World Laughter day
Watch this inspiring TED talk by Florence Williams: Making Spaces of Awe and Restoration. She takes us from forest bathing in Japan to healing forests in Korea and highlights the science that shows how time in nature makes us healthier, happier and more creative. She encourages us to ask “How can cities make spaces of awe and restoration, and how can people be inspired to spend more time in them? “
Listen to this fascinating ABC podcast with psychiatrist and gardener Sue Stuart-Smith as she explores the relationship between gardening and our mental health.
Try this ‘Beginner’s Guide to Forest Bathing’ from the ABC.
Read this article from the University of Exeter and find out more about how spending time in the garden is linked to better health and wellbeing
If you can’t get to a garden, but would like to, try this visualisation exercise which takes you into your very own private garden.
This site from the American Society of Landscape Architects is a treasure-trove of information on the health benefits of nature. This great site offers 4 ways of meditating outdoors to restore your body, mind and soul to a more balanced state of health.
Please feel free to use all or parts of this newsletter for your websites, blog, social media, newsletter or other communications to inspire your group members