We use our grey matter every day – to solve problems, analyse, and often, to plain old’ overthink stuff. It’s this overthinking that brings about so much stress and anxiety – the comparisons, the second-guessing, the self-doubt. And yet, why when we use this powerful organ to think ourselves out of the myriad puzzles of complicated scenarios and challenges in life, do we give it so little credence when our bodies, the temples we exist in, become fatigued and run down? Thinking yourself well is not a new concept. Hindu and Buddhist monks have been tapping into mindfulness to maintain a constant state of wellbeing for thousands of years. However now that the curious, evidence-loving west has put many of these practices under the proverbial microscope (more like fMRI and EEG scanners), there is not only proof that you can use your grey matter to think yourself well, but we’re beginning to understand how it works.
First, what is wellness?
Wellness, according to most dictionaries, is defined as a state of complete physical and mental health. The distinguishing factor from simply being ‘healthy’ is that ‘wellness’ is almost pursued as an ideal state or a goal. The World Health Organization includes social well-being in its definition, specifically stating it’s not merely a state of being disease free. This feels like a more synergistic understanding, especially since our ever increasing, fast-paced work lives, which contribute to so much of our stress, fall under a sort of social status ranking. And then, of course, there’s our increasingly complex relationship with social media resonance and likeability. So, yes absolutely – social well-being is key to overall wellness. But there’s another element, the epidermis of the definition if you will. And that’s, as the National Wellness Institute defines it “a conscious, self-directed and evolving process of achieving full potential“. Conscious. As in – you’re in the driving seat. Wellness is not just a state that happens to you when all the work, social, mental and physical tanks are full. It’s more about seeking how to maintain the balance, feeling into, listening to and actioning the intelligent self-aware thoughts that arise. And it’s a state that millions of people are learning to consciously pursue through tapping into different parts of their grey matter via meditation.