Nourishment: A Different Way to Look at Balance in Life

Author : Jeni Sanderson

17th July 2019

‘Balance’ is such a buzz-word at the moment, but what does it really mean? More time at home? More time outside? More time practicing self-care? All of the above?

I’m sure for many of you some of those ring true, but in my opinion, balance can only truly be achieved when we really understand not only what makes us authentically ‘us’, but also what gives us true energy and motivation in life.

Like our bodies need nutrients from food and water to survive, our minds need similar nutrients to keep us ready and wanting to move forward in life… I call this ‘nourishment’.

I’m Jeni and I’m a Master of positive psychology and currently in training with Animas to complete my Transformational Coaching Diploma. I help people to discover and exercise what really nourishes them as an individual – energising them to make positive change in addressing balance. Often, this doesn’t lead to big changes in the time spent at work or with family, simply a clearer understanding of how to gain more joy and purpose from the life they lead – that is true balance.

There are 6 parts to my psychological ‘Nourishment Formula”, all of which help an individual to build their own personal ‘wellbeing recipe’ and resilience toolkit:

Strengths: Character strengths are the positive traits that make up our personality. When we are engaging with our signature strengths – for example, creativity, bravery or kindness – we feel alive, engaged and energised. Discovering, recognising and exercising our character strengths within any situation drives energy and motivation. If you think back to a time when you were ‘at your best’, talk yourself through what happened and what elements of you made it so good? Those elements will likely be some of your strengths.

So, ask yourself, how can I exercise these more often? How can I use my creativity/bravery/forgiveness/kindness etc. more at work, or with the kids? By deliberately applying your strengths you are setting an intention to feel engaged with the situation – therefore increasing your own wellbeing. There’s no need for big self-care gestures here, learning about your own strengths can simply add true energy to everyday activities.

Values: Understanding our values & truly living into them allows us to truly live authentically and not feel guilty saying no to something that doesn’t feel right for us. Our values drive our decision making and our eventual behaviour – so it’s important to identify and work hard on knowing exactly what they mean in reality. Again, no grand gestures here – simply understanding what your values really mean in your everyday life avoids situations arising that pull you in directions you’re uncomfortable with.

Positive Emotions: This is a key area that binds all nourishment together and is usually extremely undervalued by most. Scientist Barbara Fredrickson developed the ‘Broaden and Build’ theory of positive emotions, the more we feel, the more we increase our cognitive ability and thought-action repertoire – leading to better decision making, greater performance and an increase in wellbeing.

Do you TRULY know what brings you a positive emotion? When you start to notice your positive emotions as well as the negative, you can actually start planning and building your day around joy, cheerfulness, peace or serenity. This also gives a huge resilience boost – knowing that you have a toolkit of activities that will give you positive emotions when things get tough.

Another element that doesn’t require grand gestures – for example, if you need to increase positive emotions at work, look at your workspace – can you put pictures up? Can you go for that short walk in the fresh air each hour or how about rewarding yourself with the posh coffee you have at home once in a while? Plan to bring joy into even the toughest situations and again, you’re redressing the balance.

Mindset: Learning to believe we can grow & develop in every area of our lives is surprisingly tough. Adopting a growth-mindset takes time and effort but is incredibly rewarding as things that felt ‘too hard’ or ‘out of sight’ suddenly become achievable, and as achievement is a huge part of positive wellbeing, adopting the right mindset in all aspects of your life can further add to that sense of balance.

Connection: Did you know that our brains are actually wired to connect? Social connection is literally essential to life and positive wellbeing. At times, we all find this difficult, demanding or hard to find. Grasping the true meaning of connection for you and how to build, maintain & lean into relationships or even micro-connections makes every other element of the formula that much stronger.

Thoughts & Beliefs: The way we feel about ourselves and how we talk to ourselves is a key ingredient to living a good life. If our internal narrative consistency focuses on what we lack, then we will believe we are not worthy. Working hard to rewire our brains to recognise our value is essential to thrive. When we recognise vulnerability as a shared human condition and not a weakness, then we are able to experience the feeling of empowerment from the courage we show.

As someone who works with clients around positive psychology, a lot of the work I undertake involves some level of educating – this area of science is still relatively new, so many people are unaware of theory and reasoning behind the principles of thriving in life. Undertaking the Diploma of Transformational Coaching with Animas has allowed me to integrate my expertise and knowledge in a much more holistic way.

I can introduce principles of the formula through discussion and use coaching techniques to help the client discover the answers for themselves, rather than take a more mentoring approach whereby I’d work through the answers with them. The resulting answers have therefore become more powerful to the client as they are wholly owned by them – adding further to the sense of energy and motivation they gain from understanding how to amplify their best-self.

Jeni Sanderson

If you’re interested in learning more about positive psychology, and what it can bring to both your life, and your coaching, we are running an accredited CPD course on positive psychology next month!

If you want to find out more, or book a spot, you can do so here


If you would like us to help tell your story or you would like to share your coaching niche, philosophy or agenda in the form of a blog, like this one – contact Sam to express your interest: sam.chambers@animascoaching.com

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