When we describe mental wellbeing we talk about being able to think clearly and have clarity of thought. We feel stimulated but not stressed; we feel creative. When we talk about emotional wellbeing we view it as an ability to be with whatever feelings or emotions are arising in us at any particular moment.
You might describe your version of mental and emotional wellbeing in a subtly different way. It might even be the case that it is simpler to describe what they are not e.g. feeling stressed or anxious. If that is the case, then it might be helpful to think about what the opposite of feeling stressed or anxious would be for you.
The exact words that any of us use to describe this are not that important but we believe you will recognise this wellbeing when you experience it. And you need space to experience it.
Believe it or not being mentally and emotionally well is our natural state.
The sky is always blue above the clouds, irrespective of the weather we may be witnessing or experiencing. We all have good mental and emotional wellbeing (the blue sky) behind our thoughts and feelings (the weather of our lives).
We often say on Fresh Air Fridays that there is no such thing as the wrong weather, only the wrong clothing. Weather is just weather and thoughts are just thoughts but most of us live our lives as though the feelings that arise from our thoughts are fact.
You have probably had a day when you woke up expecting it to be a bad day and that was exactly how it turned out for you. For most of us, when we feel stressed, anxious, irritable, angry, frustrated, depressed or unhappy, life feels tough and we feel unable to do our best. Our relationships suffer, as do the people around us in our home and work lives. It doesn’t have to be that way.
When we learn to see our thoughts and feelings for what they are – thoughts and feelings – we are able to experience our lives differently. We gain freedom and choice. The circumstances may not have changed but we can change how we think and feel about those circumstances. This helps us to take the actions to create our lives the way we want to create them. We can have our relationships thrive and we can be the person we would choose to be at home and at work.
Once we fully see our thoughts as simply that, our thoughts, then we can choose to live our lives differently. It can be helpful to have, space, support and skills to do that. That is what we offer in the programmes, audio programmes, workshops and community that Fresh Air Fridays provides.
We have trained nearly 30 facilitators, had more than 250 people through our twelve week programmes and have a growing community of members. What we have seen in ourselves and all those people is that by taking some timeout to notice what is going on for us we are better able to navigate the world and the way in which we live in it. Seeing that we have a choice, that we can think, feel and act differently changes everything.