I’ve struggled for a long time, being able to talk openly about how I feel, under the “wellbeing” umbrella. I’m not talking spas, yoga and smoothies, in fact, I get very frustrated when that is all that seems to be listed in the wellbeing section of a publication. I'm talking the meaty mind stuff, as well as body and soul.
People have long felt uncomfortable talking, or even thinking about their mind, body and soul. Unlike physical, tangible things. It’s been a long time coming, but I’ve created something that’s made it easy for everyone to relate to and talk about, and want to grow the concept.
Imagine whole groups of people, in families or organisations, talking, sharing and getting help early, in the same simple way they do for their cars.
I’ve mapped everything I have learnt and now know (although I am sure there is more!) about wellbeing and resilience (another word I’d rather change…to bounceability!) to the parts of a CAR! Now, I know this will divide my readers, those that love the beauty of the machine, and those that just, need it for A to B. Please hang on in there as I do believe either party will “get it”!
Engine. With a car, you turn on the engine and the car cracks on, no questions asked. The engine is not seen to the outside world. Let’s map that to us humans, and consider our engine to be our self-belief and motivation. When we try to access that, sometimes, we are faced with “you can’t do that” or “you’re not good enough” or even “I can’t be bothered”. Welcome to the world of “inner chatter”. All transient thoughts. Not real. Not true. Yet they have the power to hinder us, and stop our engine. So, how can you be more “car-like” and reduce this inner chatter? It takes time and practice, and everyone is different, but there will be a way you can do this.
Get a balloon - blow it up, imagine it is a thought - and pop it straight away. As simple as that. Each time a (negative) thought arises, re-live popping the balloon! How many balloons will you pop?
Fuel. Cars are normally restricted to one type of fuel, with which they perform. A petrol car will not function if filled with diesel. We do not make “excuses” for why we are putting diesel into our petrol car. However, we can make up the most delightful stories to tell ourselves when we are munching that extra mince pie, or opening another bottle of wine. The tricky thing for us is that we can still operate on different fuel, but the difference is between operation and performance. What do you know about the fuel that best serves you?
Take a week to record what you are eating, and how you feel during the various activities you undertake.
What patterns can you see?
Map. Sat Nav has made it so easy for us to get to places without having to do any thinking. We plug in where we want to go and “job done”. If only that were the same in life, we didn’t have to navigate past roadblocks, traffic or coming back from wrong turns. The useful thing about Sat Nav is it re-routes us so we still get to our “goal”. We could take a leaf out of that book, bounce back faster when we don’t get what we want straight away, or the path is not so obvious. We all need a sense of purpose, a direction to head in. We simply wouldn’t get in the car and drive aimlessly round and round! What do you know about the direction or path you are on right now?
Imagine yourself 20 years from now (be really detailed - think, feel, act, where you are). Write a letter to your best friend, detailing all that you have done in the last 20 years?
Question: What is needed now, to get this, later?
Passengers. There is generally a limit to the number of passengers in any given car. We choose who we fill those seats with. We never exceed that capacity, we know it is not safe to do so. This references a couple of points. Who is in your life right now? Do you want them as passengers? Are they fountains (give energy) or drains (hoover up your mood)!
Relationship audit – write a list of all the people in your life. Assign each a role e.g. supporter, mood hoover, consultant, energy-giver (add some of your own types). Now evaluate that list – who do you need more or, and which list needs to reduce?
To wrap up: I’ve talked about 4 elements here and I’m just touching the surface, there are so many more intricate parts to the car (just like the human body), and they all need to operate together to perform. Sometimes the smallest part can have the biggest impact, so it may not be obvious things that mean our sense of wellbeing is not complete. Only a full, collaborative review with a specialist will reveal the source. You heard it here first! I’m using this metaphor in many different products and developing more, to help raise awareness in a simple way.
Please do get in touch if you would like to see and hear the extended detail.
To read more on the above elements, you might find the following useful:
Fuel/body energy: https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/mhs/management/work-health-wellbeing/physical-health/diet-nutrition.aspx
Map/purpose and meaning: https://www.pursuit-of-happiness.org/history-of-happiness/viktor-frankl/
Passengers/relationships (& social interactions): https://conference.iste.org/uploads/ISTE2016/HANDOUTS/KEY_100525149/understandingtheSCARFmodel.pdf
Sheela Hobden is a Coach at bluegreen Coaching. Following her own mental health battles, she now coaches individuals, runs training sessions and speaks at conferences. She has a real passion for helping medics and healthcare professionals take as much care of themselves as they do their patients! She has a PGCERT in Business and Personal Coaching, holds ACC member status with the ICF and is CIPD qualified.
She challenges herself with ultra distance running and Ironman. Find her at www.bluegreencoaching.com or swimming in the sea, in Poole, Dorset.