Episode 48: The 5 Elements of Wellness with Shivani Gupta

Shivani Gupta (00:16)

I'm Shivani Gupta, and welcome to the Ask Shivani podcast. I believe that one of the best presents that you can give yourself is time to be able to sit down and ask yourself some questions. I believe that the quality of the question that you ask yourself will determine the quality of your life.

Hi everybody and welcome to the AskShivani podcast. I'm so excited to be here today and I'm gonna talk about one of the topics that is super important to me, and has become more and more important as I have gotten older. One of the things that I didn't do very well was look after my wellness. To me, however, wellness has become this very kind of trendy word that everybody is speaking about, you know, there's this wellness, there's these different types of wellness. And a lot of the times that we're speaking about wellness, I'm not sure it quite fits into that category. But to me, wellness is a little bit like self-esteem. You can't just say my self-esteem is high or as low, you'll find that in some areas, your self-esteem will be high. And in other areas, your self-esteem will be low. And I believe that wellness is the same, you can have aspects of your wellness that you'll be doing really well. And you would give yourself a pretty high rating in terms of how you're going. And there'll be other areas that you will not write yourself very well.

So, I want to dive into this very big topic of wellness. And I really want to look at wellness in the five different areas. I believe that it fits in not to say that there wouldn't be other areas, but they certainly fit into these five areas. And the first part that I wanted to speak about is psychological wellness. Now that's something that not what we hear about one of the things that we hear a lot about in our society, on different podcasts in the media, is this whole notion of mental wellness. And I will go into that as well. And I believe that they are different. And so, to me mental wellness is really some people would just call it mental wellness, which includes psychological wellness, I'm going to break those two parts are, I believe that psychological wellness is separate. And we need to look at different coping strategies and look at different research and data that's available around it. And then look at mental wellness is in some of the things that you can do in terms of managing your wellness, from managing your mind managing your meant, capacity, your mental capacity.

The other two areas outside of psychological and mental that I want to cover in today's podcast is our emotional wellness. It is so important to again, look at that separately. Some people do combine that with mental, I believe it's really important to look at emotional wellness separately. Because again, it could be that some of those areas you're doing really well and others you aren't. And you want to kind of pinpoint what areas of your wellness that really need some strategy, really need some work, so that you've got a bit of an action list and an action plan in terms of what you need to do to be able to get your wellness in that area back up to ground level and then starting to thrive in that area. And not just survive, or perhaps less. There's the physical wellness that I'll also speak about today.

And I also want to get a little bit we've been talking a bit about spiritual wellness. And again, some people combined spiritual wellness, but I want to look at that. So, what I wanted to do is rather than talk about them at infinitum, and so here are the issues here is that I want to spend this podcast sharing with you three key tips. In terms of leaders, I've had the opportunity to work with, my teachers and supporters, books that I've read, and really to simplify it so that we've got three things that come under each of these areas of wellness. And I would love at the end of this podcast for you to be able to go - you know what Shivani this one resonated with me really well. And if you get one thing out of today in this podcast, which you can then apply into your life because I want this podcast to be super pragmatic, super realistic, super practical and super applicable so that you can listen to this and then say - right, that's the one thing. Not only am I have I learned, but I'm also going to be able to apply. And that's one of the things that I'm going to look at potentially forming a new habit around that.

So, let's talk about psychological wellness first. Now one of the things that's been happening over the last 8 to 10 years as there's more and more work out where traditionally people would say, Look, you're good at this, and you're not so good at this subject at school. So, then you would get a tutor to help you with a subject that you're not so good at. The some of the work that's coming out in the last five to 10 years is talking about people playing to their strengths. So, people actually working on their strengths rather than just their weaknesses. Now schools maybe not a good example because we don't until we later on in school that we actually get the choice of subjects we want to study, but in the workplace, in running our businesses and running our families. One of the things that we need to look at from a psychological wellness is what are your strengths, and what you're going to do is do more of your strengths, and perhaps outsource or have some support in managing your weaknesses or things that you're not good at.

Psychologically when you work more on your strengths, you actually feel really good about yourself, you actually realize that you were doing more of what you could add more of your purpose more of what you're here to do, rather than the not so good.

So let me give you a couple of examples. So, in my business, one of the things I'm not great at is the backend of websites paperwork, you know, that mundane part of it that does not excite me, because my personality is not wired that way. So, when you're looking at your psychological stuff, then the more work I do around speaking, whether it's on a podcast or at events, the more work I do around mentoring, the more work I do around writing, I'm in my element, I’m in my strengths, when I do a lot of the other stuff, unless it directly relates to one of those three things. I don't actually manage my psychological wellness, I feel bored, I feel unmotivated, I don't enjoy my day where it's full of a lot of paperwork around that.

So that would be one thing. The other one psychologically, and this will come up in one of the other areas as well is to basically be able to really work on your psychology and be able to really be wired into your wellness around that you need to get sufficient sleep. Or remember this whole notion of sleep, I only came across a few years ago, when I read Arianna Huffington’s book - Thrive. And she's got this beautiful chapter, which is a little bit tongue in cheek, that she talks about sleeping your way to the top. And she says that if you really want to be a high performer, you actually need to get better sleep. When I apply that to my family, or I apply that to my work, I noticed that the nights that I've had really poor sleep really fragmented sleep, I am not at my best, I have got a short fuse, I am cranky with the children, I'm cranky with my husband, I'm cranky with my staff. And I just feel a bit agitated. And that's not good for me psychologically. So having some routines around your sleep having a set bedtime. For me, I tend to do three or four gratitudes before I go to bed. And that just helps me kind of clear my day, I try not judge myself in terms of what I didn't do at the end of the day. And I look at two or three things that I did really well. And that really helps me get that little bit of better sleep.

So again, whatever your methodologies are, if you don't have a sleep practice, looking at how you go to sleep, what your routine and your wellness hacks might be before you got to sleep would be a really good way to look at your psychological wellness. The other part is, psychologically, and look, I know that you know the era before me like my parents and uncles and Auntie's, they really struggle like you only went to see a psychologist if there was something wrong with you. And I think it's so important that that is becoming more widespread now. But it's not quite as widespread as we'd like, particularly when it comes to psychologists, or psychiatrists and having that support that we made. So, for me, support might mean is making sure that you've got some people that you can talk to that can help you work on some of your patterns psychologically.

So, for example, last year, when one of my wellness businesses went into lockdown, there was a lot of pressure on me to make sure that I did the right thing by my staff. So, he was I trying to manage my staff. But one of the other things that I was trying to do is manage my own psychology, manage how I felt with it. And I was just felt like I was being pulled in the, you know, direction with supporting kids doing homeschooling with my husband being there. You know, I've worked from home for now, almost three years, my space got encroached, there was more work load. That happened with more morning teas and lunches and afternoon teas. And what we were doing there was this better get the kids to exercise. And that was before managing staff and managing my own well-being around it.

So, I engaged a psychologist who I had a session with, initially every fortnight and after that I was able to increase or decrease the frequency and have it every month, and then go eventually to every six weeks. So, and I did that for about six months. So, I could talk about my feelings, I could talk about things that I wasn't coping with, and just getting some support and some strategies around that. So again, there's probably lots more things that we could speak about each one I could talk about this topic till the cows come home as they say, but I really just wanted to give you three specific tips that help you get started around your wellness depending on which of the areas that you need to work on.

So, the second thing I want to talk about is our mental wellness or our mental well-being. And again, this is probably the topic that in the last decade we've started to speak a lot more about we've started to talk about anxiety and depression. We've also been started to see the issues in our society and how many people are coping with anxiety and depression, particularly some of our youth. We've also started to hone in to some of those issues and how that led to greater issues, you know, up to things like suicide. And so, when it comes to your mental wellness, one of the tricks that I wanted to speak to you about is having a gratitude journal. Gratitude journals have been around for a long time. But it's the rhythm of it in terms of when you do that. So, I have a 10-10-10 philosophy where every morning and I got this from a great amazing speaker that came to speak at EO or Entrepreneurs Organization about five years ago, and his name is Warren Rustin. And he has helped a lot of entrepreneurs around the world come up, you know, really practice is 10-10-10. Whereas 10 minutes of reading, 10 minutes of journaling, and then 10 minutes of meditation. And in a really busy day, especially with young kids, I can do the 10-10-10, I can't do the hour of journaling, an hour of meditation, an hour of exercise, I just don't have enough space to be able to do that. So, the 10-10-10 works very well for me. And in that 10 minute of journaling, sometimes my journaling is a lot of more venting and talking about things that I’m not enjoying whether they be my family, my friends, my work and just having a little vent. But one of the things I noticed is that when I'm venting a little bit, I will eventually give that vent out and then start to write down two, three, even four things that I'm grateful for. You know, this morning when I journaled before podcasting, I noticed that in Australia at the moment we are in spring, and I've got this beautiful Jacaranda tree, which is so divine with these purple flowers. It is messy as and I really don't enjoy a blow of that pathway every couple of days. But when I opened up the blinds in my bedroom, I could see my beautiful Jacaranda tree and it makes me feel like I live in a tree house. And I absolutely love that. And so, in my gratitude journal this morning, I wrote that I was so grateful for that Jacaranda tree to be able to wake up and see that nature and see these beautiful purple flowers on it was something that I wrote.

The notion of gratitude is really important because whatever we gratitude of grateful for, we attract more of whatever we grateful for makes us realize how much we have and it comes in really handy.

Now that the second one, which I know so many people do so well. And so many people have tried and really doesn't resonate with them is meditation, I know for me, I wouldn't be able to cope through my day as well. Unless I did that 10 minute of meditation and I vary my meditation, I don't do the same thing every day, depending on what mood what energy how much sleep I've had. So, if I really can't concentrate, I will actually have my eyes open, I might look at my Jacaranda tree, and just take in very deep breaths, and let out some really long exhales. And that might be my meditation or, I've done a transcendental meditation or vedic meditation, which is having one word and a mantra to try and focus on. Sometimes I'll just say the name of my husband and my two kids, and myself. And that will be my meditation. So whatever form of meditation you have, there's a lot of research and data talks about how good meditation is for your mental well-being. If you want to check out some apps, have a look at Calm, there's a number of different things, I love Wayne Dyer, and some of his meditations. There are so many different ways, but keep trying something meditation to me is like exercise, keep trying it until you find something that resonates with you, and what works for you and have, you know, two or three go to so you don't have to keep sticking to the one thing.

The third thing that I wanted to talk about in mental things was just really being able to watch and hang around more positive people. I noticed that when I watch a lot of media, and look, this has been for now 20 years where I can think of maybe once or twice in a year that I will sit down and watch the news very rarely. And this has now been going for almost 20 years where I don't want to fill my head with murders, and children being abused, and car accidents and how many people have died, I feel really depressed and deflated at the end of it. So, one of the things that I will do, and that doesn't mean I want to completely opt out of the world. So, I will go online and do a quick overview of it. Or I will even watch in Australia we have this thing called BTN (Behind the News), which is my kids, I let my kids watch, I don't want them to watch the full-on news. And that will literally have like a two-minute update on two or three top stories designed to get to kids who aren't, you know, 10 years old. And so, I'd rather that news be delivered in a form that I want to digest. Rather than completely fire hosing myself with things that don't work for me. So, I limit my social media, I limit the positive things I watch, because that really has a big impact on me mentally. And, you know, there is some trauma that gets triggered for me from my childhood. So, one of the things I've done is, I know that the things that I've watched so far, I can watch something with prime or I can want something with a bit of comedy, even though sometimes the kids will make fun of me for watching, romcoms or romantic comedies, is I'd rather fill my head with that, even watching a movie I've seen 10 times, then I would, you know, watching something that's got crime and murders and people hurting. So that doesn't work for me at all.

Let's talk about emotional well-being, the first thing I wanted to talk about emotional well-being is probably one area that I've struggled with the most. Because for me growing up, particularly my 20s and 30s, I just was like, look, you know, grow up, you know, be resilient, pull your socks up, where you can pick your pants on. And I would always use the fact that I wasn't coping with something emotionally as a put down for myself. And it was a really negative way to deal with that. So, one of the things that I've done is whether I work with an energy worker, or a kinesiologist, or somebody who helps me do the tapping or the EFT like, doesn't matter which form that I look at doing. But often the support I seek from other people is around emotional well-being, I want somebody to give me a different perspective, I want to use different modalities. And you might have, you know, whatever you might have an occupational therapist, you might have somebody who works on your back as a car, you might have a physio like it might be, it might be physical, but that often help you release that emotional stuff.

So, find some support that works for you. Keeping all your emotions tied in or doing what I did for like, you know, three decades of my life, which was - Shivani, you'll be fine. You can cope with this, you can do all of this yourself is a really poor strategy, seeking help, but around things that help you emotionally and that might be a psychologist, as I spoke about in psychology, wellness, or it might be somebody else. Have people that can support you in terms of what you do. The other thing that I wanted to speak about is this word feelings. Now, when I was growing up, you know, if somebody said “how are you?” so good or if you have, we're having an awesome day, you would say great. And the interesting, I've thought I've learned over the last few years is that good and great aren't feelings, you know, feelings are like sad, ecstatic, happy, angry, frustrated, disappointed. And there's like 250 different types of feelings. So, there's a great thing that you can download from Google and you can just call it a feelings chart, if you just Google that. And along will come all these different types of feelings. And one of the things that we've done is printed that and put that up on our fridge. I have one in my office. And sometimes when I can't quite put, you know, how do I feel about that? Am I shitty? Am I angry? Like, why do I feel frustrated? One of the things that I do is, rather than come up with all of that, in my head, I will literally go to my feelings chart. And I will have a look at my feelings chart and scan down the list and go - Yeah, that one's pretty. Oh, that's interesting, I'm actually scared. I'm actually scared. That's what's come up. So having an ability to be able to start to have more vocabulary around our feelings, I have found to be a really important part of wellness. And look, we're very early stages of that, but also getting the kids to be able to describe more feelings rather than you know, good and great are also really important and really healthy. So being able to tap into a whole range, a whole wheel of emotions, as I call it, but also being okay that whatever part of the wheel you're in, being able to express that is more important than Oh my God, I'm sitting in a negative thing. So not marking that as a positive and negative just knowing that it is a really important part of your wellness.

And the third thing I wanted to talk about from an emotional wellness perspective is grounding in you know, one of the techniques I learned from a couple of the teachers that I've had an opportunity to work with is this notion of wellness and grounding into the way that I grounding. That helps me emotionally, now it might help me other areas too is I kind of imagined that I'm sitting down I take my shoes off. So, a lot of indigenous cultures speak about the fact that rather or whether prevent you from grounding into the earth. And what you want to do is kind of really ground him so when I'm feeling really agitated or out of sorts, what I will often do is literally close my eyes and imagine that I've got little roots, sometimes only for like really tiny thin roots. Sometimes I feel like big fronts coming out of my feet into the ground. And a lot of different cultures speak about whether you're on the 36th floor of a building or whether your feet are on the grass, obviously the grass would be nicer, without having any issues on being barefoot, you can still ground into the earth. And so, I’ll use that technique literally for 10 seconds and just go, okay, feel my roots going into the earth, and that will often make me feel a lot more emotional stable. And again, I'm kind of covering my some of my hacks and things I've learned from my teachers and books and things I practice. There's lots of different support out there, keep searching until you find the things that work for you.

I want to talk about physical wellness next. And one of the things that again, I didn't pay a lot of attention to was that, that again, has come up a lot in our society is that smokers - sitting is the new smoking. So, you know, 50s and 60s, lots of people smoke and even our 70s. And we then realized how bad smoking is for you. One of the things we realize is our lifestyles have changed, we do more and more in front of the computer, we do more and more in front of our screens, different forms of screens, we are sitting around a lot. And some research and data has come out talking about the fact that sitting is almost got the same downsides as actually being able to be smoking. So, it's really interesting to be able to move your body. Now if you're already into exercise awesome. For me, it's not something that comes naturally to me. But to then go and again find a gym and to be able to go and exercise for an hour seemed like a lot. So, the simplest movement is 30 minutes of movement a day. And again, 30 minutes of movement over seven days is 210 minutes. So rather than doing 90 minutes in a day and not moving, you're better off doing a minimum of 30 minutes of movement a day. And that might be a simple walk. So, my go to now is a 30-minute walk with a puppy. Good for him, good for me, good for the family. And on days that I feel really excited I might get to Pilates once or twice away. Or I might feel a little bit more rigorous, sometimes if I really have low time I go - Okay, so if I clean the pool a bit vigorously, that'd be 15 minutes. And then I've only got to do a 15 Minute. So, have a read through some of that research that for 30 minutes of some simple movement stretching. Movement is really, really important for your mental or for your physical well-being.

And the next thing that I wanted to talk about is and again, I'm not an expert in nutrition, but I have found as I've got older, it’s harder to digest food. So, you know, I could eat heaps of cheese, heaps of carbs in my 20s. And I would just digest it and never put on any way. But more importantly, I've noticed it's not about the weight, it's the energy. So having food that actually supports your energy, I have started to go back a little bit more into Ayurveda, which is a really old, ancient Indian practice of eating with your doshas and your doshas, or the way that your body is actually made up. And that some foods are better for you to an easy to digest and fall in easily with you than others. And particularly now being a vegetarian for almost a decade, really look at the things that are good for your body. If you want to check out the doshas, and the Ayurveda system, have a look at that. If you already know what's good for you, then do more of that. And a little bit less of the other stuff. You know, I'm finding, particularly in the evenings, I can't do big pizzas or big non breads, or things that are really dairy and bagels and things, my body just doesn't digest them. And so, eating things that are easier for your body to digest, and also helps with your sleep as well. So, looking at things that are good for you eating a bit more balanced, and maybe getting some support from a nutritionist or having a look at things that work for you. And the thing, the other thing that I wanted to speak about physically, and it's something probably, I'm again, learning more and more about in the last decade, and we forget to do that, right? We come into the world with a breath, and we go out with a breath. But this notion of deep breathing and doing breathe work. And, you know, I noticed that most of the day I'm having very, very shallow breathing, I don't go breathe deeply enough.

And so, to consciously do some breath work, I recently have attended a number of retreats in the last five years, where there was some extended breathwork you know, between 45 and 90 minutes. 90 minutes of deep breath work, like you're like - whoa. But at the end of it, oh my god, I was so still doing deep breath work, and I had probably the best night's sleep I've had in so long. And again, that's not a practice that we can, you know, build into our busy lives every day. But you might even want to, you know, put some time aside to do half an hour a week. Or if even that's too much, maybe look at doing an hour a month, and having an hour a month to yourself where you've got that time just to go do some breath work. That's really, really important. And I noticed that has a massive impact on my physical stuff. So, when I'm really stressed, rather than continuing to breathe really shallow, becoming really conscious of that, and starting to breathe more deeply, comes in very, very handy.

And the last thing I want to talk about is spiritual wellness. And to me, and look, I could talk about financial wellness market talk about other things. But they're the five that I really wanted to cover today. So, when it comes to spiritual wellness, one of the things that I've learned is that it's important to give to people that are less fortunate than us. It's like a gratitude thing. You know, I will, because I can. And my husband's been stuck across borders, where he went to say goodbye to his father who did pass away, within 24 hours of him being there. But we haven't been able to get him home for almost seven weeks, because of the way that the Queensland, the state that I live in the borders, and how our politicians have managed all of that. And look, this is not a go politically, it's just been really frustrating to think that he would have been home weeks ago. And we've still been without him. And we haven't been able to grieve as a family. And I was sitting in anger a lot for the first couple of weeks and wrote to the ministers, and you know, when on social media and talked about it, and then I went, you know, putting my energy into the wrong thing. I then got in contact with somebody who was managing a private Facebook group of people that were in very similar situations to Scott. And we found out that there were women that were escaping domestic violence. We had families with disabilities, living in tents and caravan parks, and people that were doing it so tough compared to us, we're doing it tough, but there was so much tougher. So, one of the things that we decided to do was donate some money to people that were doing it very tough and almost didn't have the heart, didn't have the strength to be able to keep going and be able to make that happen.

So, when you give, whether it's financial or whether it's some time, or whether it's an energy into somebody who is a lot worse off than you, I find that really helps my spiritual wellness, I actually realized I've got it really good, and it makes me manage my wellness a lot better.

The second thing I wanted to talk about, which I've spoken about earlier, some people meditate for emptying their brain, some people meditate for their spiritual alignment, some people meditate, so they can emotionally cope. So, people do it for different reasons. But for me, also learning some ancient practices, from different cultures that have been around for 1000s, if not 10s, of 1000s of years. And really being able to tap into the way that they do things, is a really important way to start to tap more into my spiritual wellness. You know, I've talked about Wayne Dyer, I know he speaks about this beautiful meditation, where he got James who did this resonance and created music for very, very early parts of Christianity. I've got this beautiful Buddhist meditation, I've got some, I've got different cultures that I want to tap into, particularly the ones that have been around for 1000s of years. And people have been practicing these things for 1000s of years, like I look at in our modern world, some of the things that we produce and how quickly they disappear. Some things don't even last a month, let alone a year or let alone a century. But for things that have lasted for 1000s of years, I have a belief system that, you know, there's something in that if they've survived the 1000s of years, and I want to tap into different types of meditation that link me into something that's bigger than myself. And, again, I will build some of those into my daily practices and try a trial a few different things. And when I come across new things, because I just want to try them and see if that fits. And if it resonates, then that becomes part of my little toolkit for my wellness.

And the last thing that I wanted to talk about, which I've spoken about before, from a spiritual perspective is again to give gratitude, so to utilize my husband being locked out of our family in our state. For a number of weeks, we actually looked at what are some of the good things in our family with my 11- and 12-year-olds, what are some of the good things that have come out of that now we know the negative things. And that's not to say it's bad that their dad or my husband's been away. But there are always another way to look at things. So, what have been some of the good things that have come out of it. As I said, my wellness business has been in lockdown for nine weeks. And so, sitting down with some of my team and some of the leaders within that business and saying what are some of the good things that have come out of this lockdown, and all the bad things? Let's look at some of the good things that have come out. So, turning that coin and looking at the gratitude and the blessings that you have. Makes me feel like I'm spiritually alive makes me feel like that there's something more than me. And again, anything that I've said in this podcast, I'm not expecting you to fall into my beliefs. I'm also not suggesting that I've got psychological advice. I'm just trying to share as much as I can in this podcast to try and really help you and your wellbeing. So, whether it's psychological, mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, the five areas I've spoken about today, I hope you've got one thing that perhaps you're already doing that you can deepen, or perhaps you're not doing and you've got an idea that you might look into a little bit more and see if you can make that part of your practice. I always want you to live a really well life and I really want you to live a more balanced life and again. If you've got any questions, our podcast is called AskShivani, so ask away any questions anything you'd like me to address, and I would so appreciate if you could take a moment and take time to review and rate this podcast that just helps me spend more time doing the work I love and bringing it to you. Namaste.

I'm Shivani Gupta. And you've been listening to the Ask Shivani podcast where I'd like to ask some questions. Thank you so much for listening. Please follow Ask Shivani on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. And if you haven't done so, please go to the Apple podcasts and subscribe rate and review this podcast. It would mean a lot. Thank you.