Wellbeing, mental health, emotional resilience, the inner life… call it what you will. We are very conscious about physical functioning and fitness, but terribly neglectful of psychological functioning and fitness.
People will readily talk about taking care of themselves by going to the gym, eating healthily, going on a diet, cutting out alcohol or whatever. We seem to think it’s OK to devote time, effort and even money to the physical and visible aspects of our lives, but not for the less obvious parts of ourselves.
We all have an Inner Life of emotions, ambitions, needs, cares and concerns… and the rest. We all suffer with aspects of our inner lives that don’t work as well as we’d like them to, or worse, which seem to work against us (excessive worry, anxiety, misplaced guilt etc. thoughts and feelings we think we are unable to control, for example).
But life doesn’t have to be like that. Fulfillment comes from ensuring that all aspects of ourselves are attended to and have their needs met. What’s more, neglect any of these needs for long enough and we are likely to start compensating in some way which usually means less wellbeing, more dissatisfaction and even ill-health.
To take care of ourselves – to learn and grow as a person and live a good life – requires that we attend to our emotional and psychological wellbeing, as well as the physical.