What is Wellness?

We believe there are many tools to fix broken feelings and thoughts reactively, examples such as counseling, diets, classes or programs. yet there are not many focused tools to proactively work on and stay in a healthy state to avoid brokenness altogether. How often do we look at emotional and mental fitness in the same way we think about going to the gym? This conversation focuses on the myriad of ways to consider proactively caring for yourself.

November 9, 2021
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Melissa Albers  0:00  
Hey everyone, you are listening to the self awareness Journey podcast. This little banner is about a car ride long and features your hosts, JJ Parker. And Melissa Albert's JJ owns a tech company. And Melissa has been a coach working with influencers for the last 18 years.

JJ Parker  0:17  
Well, so we've been trying to figure out our brand, like, for weeks, months, months, years, like what is the self awareness journey? And what are we trying to do and what is like, the category we fit in? Right, right. When we talk about marketing, right? When I talk about marketing at at work, we are often trying to get our products into the right category so people can understand what they are super fast,

Melissa Albers  0:48  
and we can start showing ourselves in those branding areas more so that people that are searching for support can have it.

JJ Parker  0:56  
Yes. Yeah. Right. I know. Right. So well, right. Like, what category is the self awareness journey in is like, at first, we think well, it's in this it's in the mental health space. Right? Yeah. Certainly. That's like a super broad category. Yeah. Right. Yeah. As I think about a little bit more than like, well, that's like, not quite right. Because I there's parts of that mental health area that like we're far away from, yeah. You know, like, they're like, therapy and well, and things like that.

Melissa Albers  1:38  
And I think what you said about that is that that's all more of that reactive zone. You know, it's like, I am now this way. And so I need help.

JJ Parker  1:49  
Yep. And there's certainly like a whole science around. Yeah. Oh, of course, all that. And there's doctors and there's all this stuff. Right? Yeah. So that like, like a mental wellness, right? Like, there's like a little softer term for maybe what we're doing?

Melissa Albers  2:06  
Well, I don't think that that's a term that most people use or are accustomed to, but I think that is a term that you and I always like get really fired up about and want to proliferate.

JJ Parker  2:17  
Yep, so mental wellness, but then I was getting it one step farther. And I really love this next, this next term, it's not quite a category, yet. Oh, I think it's gonna be a category about mental fitness. It's mental fitness. Yeah. Like what we're doing is working on mental fitness. Hmm. Here's my definition of mental fitness. Okay. So mental fitness is having and maintaining a state of well being, and cultivating awareness of how we think, behave and feel. Did you write that? No, I stole that from the internet.

Melissa Albers  3:00  
Okay. That is so smart. Can you say that again? Say it again.

JJ Parker  3:05  
Okay. So that's what this is, having, and maintaining a state of well being, and cultivating awareness of how we think, behave and feel wow. Actually, what we're doing I love that that's I know, right effect. Thank you, internet.

Melissa Albers  3:26  
How come? You didn't find out like, two years ago?

JJ Parker  3:29  
We should probably I should probably cite whoever wrote that, because it's really Yeah, spot on.

Melissa Albers  3:35  
And we should probably give it to our new fabulous PR marketing person. So they have some clue about what we're what we're attempting to do here.

JJ Parker  3:45  
So when we think about mental fitness, like, I sort of tried to draw in a parallel between that and physical fitness, right. And you and I talk about that a lot. And we don't articulate it very well, this, this idea that, if you're working on physical fitness, like tell me Yeah, so like, if you're going to go work on physical fitness, like, what are you going to do? Tell me like your daily or weekly actions of what you're going to do?

Melissa Albers  4:09  
Yeah, for sure. I would be three days a week, at least maybe four on a good week of doing hot yoga flow yoga. And then I would maybe be taking a walk on occasion, I would try to focus on not eating so much bread as an entire loaf in three days. Those are the things that I would do though, I would specifically have go to items and those would be them. Yeah. How about you? Oh, I'm just curious.

JJ Parker  4:41  
So if I'm working on my physical health, I, like do strength training once a week. I probably go hit a whole bunch of tennis balls. Mm hmm. And I definitely focus on my diet and eating way less sugar. Right, right. Lay love. But the thing when we start talking about how are we going to? What are we going to do for our physical fitness? We all have these lists. Yes, we do. Yeah, everyone's got a list, and generally knows what to do whether whether we get to stick to that or not, which we precisely we can't.

Melissa Albers  5:19  
Or don't want to.

JJ Parker  5:22  
We all know kinda like what to do. Yeah. Yeah. But if I said, like, like, like, you're maybe a bit of an outlier in this way, cuz you're kind of like a junkie. But if I say like, Hey, what are you doing to work on your mental fitness? Yeah, people are just like, What? What are you talking about? Like, they don't have a go to routine. They don't know what the things are? They should do.

Melissa Albers  5:47  
Yeah. Or can do. I mean, I don't even think it's a should conversation. I think it's a, this is a, this is a topic that most people aren't talking about, you know, it's like we don't approach our mind, the way we approach our body. Yeah, we simply don't. And, you know, if you want to talk about the physical health, you can say, yes, there are many things that people do as a reactive state for physical health, like, Oh, I've had a heart attack. So now I have to eat, notice a low sodium diet, and I need to lose 20 pounds, or, Oh, I now have borderline diabetes, I need to do these things. So there are certain reactive things. But with with physical health, it is definitely delineated between reactive and proactive states with mental health. I don't believe our society has ever focused on much. the proactive side. Yeah, mental health and mental fitness. I think we have in the last 10 years started to get more into that, you know, you're starting to see more and more. But it's funny, like there's, there's almost like Buzz phrases or Buzz industries that are trying to like make that make that pitch, right. Like, like the meditation world that's making that pitch right now. But there's just really not a lot of ways to think about that, that people have used in the past.

JJ Parker  7:11  
Yeah, yeah, I'd say meditation is a great example. It kind of it definitely had a little bit of uprising.

Melissa Albers  7:19  
And I think it still does, I think it still does, there's a lot of things that people are.

JJ Parker  7:25  
But there's so much beyond meditation. And meditation, frankly, is really hard for some people as it's like, not their thing, right.

Melissa Albers  7:32  
But you know what, though, like, even just stopping on this point for a moment, because I know a bunch of our listeners do meditate, a bunch of our listeners want to and a bunch of our listeners have probably do what they call and I'm using air quotes failed at it, or they quote, can't do it. But even in meditation, there are 1000s of ways to meditate that are all great and look completely different. You know? So I think even in that we haven't given that it's due attention.

JJ Parker  8:06  
Right? It's kind of like, you know, your go to his hot yoga might go to his strength training. Yeah, right. They're both physical exercise are just different. Yeah. Same with meditation. There's so many varieties. That yeah, one works for one doesn't work for the other, or do enjoyable. Right?

Melissa Albers  8:27  

JJ Parker  8:28  
So let's see. So, the, like this idea that, that we're gonna become more proactive, with mental fitness is interesting. Like, like, Could this be a movement that's coming up?

Melissa Albers  8:50  
I would change the question to, how can it not be of movement that's coming up? And here's here's why. Here's why. You know, startling an awful statistics. We like to always stay positive in our podcast, but teen suicide is on a huge rise. Medications for anxiety, and depression are vastly prescribed in shocking numbers. People are with all the pandemic and everything in the last year and a half. People are calling it the great resignation, people are quitting their jobs because they can't manage the anxiety and stress or they no longer see its value. Yep. Against a paycheck. So I think that there are a number of societal lights turning on that say, we must pay attention, and we must pay attention differently. Yeah. And so I think there's this huge opportunity right now. And I'm really, really, really Excited about that.

JJ Parker  10:02  
So here's, here's an interesting thing I observed because, yeah, you know, when right before you and I hopped on the pod, I was like, you know, making my lists. Yeah, of course. Yeah.

Melissa Albers  10:13  
Yeah. I was in my mind here I was in my thoughts and feelings. How does that feel? Talking? So what does that feel

JJ Parker  10:20  
like? Yo, we were on Alex Morales podcast a few weeks ago. Yeah. And the Twin City wellness collective right. And we're talking about wellness. And we didn't talk about it a lot with him, mostly because we were just focused on self awareness and yeah, things like that for the sake of that podcast, but he talks about the eight pillars of wellness, right, and this sort of well known list from a long time ago and I the pillars are physical, social, emotional, occupational, financial, spiritual, intellectual, and environmental. Hmm. Right. So that's a big, that's a big list. Yeah. But what's interesting when I glance at this list, so when you look at physical right, physical, okay, like that, can there's lots of gyms, sports activities? Yeah. Diet cookbooks. Like there's so much around that right? Yeah, social. There's so many clubs and activities and recreation to do, right. All that's built up. Occupational, right? Jobs coaching, like the whole structure of training at your job. Like there's a lot of support around occupational, financial, you might have a financial advisor, right. There's resource there. Spiritual, obviously, if you go to church, like churches, a huge infrastructure of spiritual support.

Melissa Albers  11:56  
Yeah. And many other and many, many other besides church, many, right? Yeah, opportunities.

JJ Parker  12:02  
Intellectual, there's no shortage of schools, right. Yeah. And then like environmental, right. Again, there's no shortage of houses and apartments and condos. And, yeah, well, you know, all this infrastructure for that. Build the one that seems like kind of, like, blank to me is emotional. Right. So that's one pillar, emotional. Okay, so where do I go for emotional support? Like, what am I yeah, what are the tools and resources that are at arm's length to me, for this emotional piece? Mm hmm. And right, it's like, not until we're broken? Do we figure out that emotional part.

Melissa Albers  12:47  
And then we try to figure it out, not as resourced emotionally or mentally as we normally are? Because we're hurting? Yeah, we're not our best selves. Right? So then we're searching. Now I'll give you a couple of examples. So I have some I have several 20 somethings in my life, either due to me coaching them in their jobs, or through my kids friends, or what have you. But I have had conversations with for 20 somethings in the last one months period of time, that wanted to talk with a therapist, just normal common stuff that they're trying to work through, right. And in all cases, in every single one of those cases that were all unrelated, the fastest one of them could get in was five weeks from now. And the others was over two months away. So so that's a huge hole. That's that that's a huge gap, right? So even so my point to this is, even though we have all of these things, right, that are available to us, or we think they are or we want them to be, but we don't actually have a sort of a stigma about that, too, which we could have a whole podcast about. But that's not for today. But we have all these options. But even those options are no longer fitting what's really needed in many, many, many cases. I think we're scrambling as a country as a society as a movement, we're scrambling to try to make them fit again and like, but there's, you know, that we're in this learning curve in this big gap. So even those things that we've had, that were available to us we either don't know much about, we're scared to engage in weak because we're embarrassed especially if you're in your 30s or older. I'm gonna I don't usually like to put things label things, but I will in this case, because I think millennials and the younger generations have a much healthier view of mental wellness and mental fitness. Then people like me, yeah, that are a little older. 30s 40s 50s and older, there is a huge stigma around anything related to your mental fitness. Yes, people think it's because you're broken.

JJ Parker  15:00  
Yeah, I actually I will even observe that in my teams with, with. But again, I want to put this like I don't want to make this too sweeping lead gen but like, Yeah, our older managers yeah are way less tolerant of, you know, mental like we have a I have a very clear policy at work that people can should take mental health days off. Yeah, just no questions asked, not feeling it don't come to work. Yep, that's it. That's my whole policy.

Melissa Albers  15:35  
Mm hm.

JJ Parker  15:37  
Some of the team really struggles with that, because they're like, Yeah, JJ, but that's their job. And they should, you know, show up, suck it up, suck it up here. And, you know, I'm like, that's just not how we're gonna run it here. Yeah, yeah. So, you know, it's like, we they do that they do it right. But they're not really happy.

Melissa Albers  15:57  
Yeah, but but I think that that's the whole point of this conversation is like, so even the resources that are currently available, we have ideas about, we have preconceived notions about. And it does usually represent, I think part of it is because it represents us being not very happy, or at a time in our lives when we aren't our best. So we don't like to think about it or work on it. And yet, the way that you and I are talking about this, it's a hugely different opportunity, right? It's a proactive, really amazingly wonderful opportunity to develop something within you. Yeah, that's not your physical body or what have you. But it's, it's it's a huge, wonderful place. Yeah,

JJ Parker  16:44  
you know, that, you know, the, one of the problems to me, is, when I look at this list, the problem is vulnerability, right? Because if you look at her physical, social, occupational, financial, spiritual, intellectual, like, all this whole list, it's so easy. Or even emotional, but like, it's so easy to hide different things. Like, I mean, even just like, the, the stigma we have, especially in the US around even like talking about money, and salary. Yeah, right. Yep. Mm hmm. So like, it's interesting that so many of these pillars of wellness, we also have really great ways of hiding. Yeah, right. Yeah, you can kind of, like, if you're the intellectual one, right, you can kind of like fake your way through a lot of stuff. Occupational one financial Ibu, kind of how to hide in these things. I think it's scary when it's like that emotional one starts coming out, right? Like you can't hide very well. I mean, you can hide for a while, but as soon as you start talking about it, Mm hmm. It becomes on hidden pretty quickly. Yeah, it does. It's not tracking like,

Melissa Albers  18:04  
yeah, no, it is I was just reflecting on many of my coaching relationships will begin in a place of very closed, a rigidity around self, and, and self expectation about how to behave, how to think and what to feel. That's usually where we start. And, and then I was reflecting on this amazing conversation I had with one of my clients this week. And she was saying, the old me would have gotten very angry at that state, the old me would have had, and these are literally words, she said, the old me would have had a lot less tolerance for my employee who just lost a spouse. Because it's been a long time. And, you know, there's stuff that has to be done, which is still all true, but the old me would react so differently than the me today, which has much more awareness and is much more willing to be vulnerable. And I think that's a beautiful, beautiful thing.

JJ Parker  19:08  
So wait, so we talked a lot about our wood, we talked about some things we can do in this mental fitness. Yeah, category. But what like what tools like, what thing can we do to just take some initial steps?

Melissa Albers  19:32  
Right? Yeah. So the very first thing that I would say is, we have to work on being okay. With not doing 24 hours a day. You have to learn strategies to be okay with being gentler and softer with ourselves. Because when we do that we're able to grow, we're able to develop we're happier. So it's all of those things. So there's many ways in different personalities are going to enter into it. And getting to the question that you asked, of course, I never answer anything with words like, succinctly. But I think it's, it really is depending on who you are as a person, and what is easiest for you. So I would say, you want to pick tools and ideas that are the absolute easiest for you to enter into, without it seeming like you're doing this vast, you know, personality or character change, because that doesn't happen. Right. So like, even, like, for example, I'm just going to go back to the meditation piece. If someone wants to learn to meditate, like, let's say, that's something that they aspire to, and they've tried it, it doesn't work. And they've told themselves, they can't do it, they're failures or whatever. There is a thing called walking meditation, where you simply walk quietly, with your eyes open, and you just try to keep your head focused on each step your foot takes on the ground. That is also a meditation. You know, there's a million different kinds of meditation guided with music, sitting, eyes, closed, eyes, open, walking, doing things, you know, there's just a million. So finding, not being so quick to judge what options are available to you. And I'm using meditation only as one example, right? There's a lot of different personal development courses, and personal development opportunities for people. Obviously, the self awareness journey is one, but there's many, many that help you recognize your emotional parts, not your brain parts, but your emotional parts, exploring things that you would normally shy away from because you think that it's silly or unnecessary. It's a lot of it is working on setting down the judgment.

JJ Parker  21:57  
Yeah, though, the one thing that I also think about is no we talked about is like mind body connection, right? We've talked a lot about like, how you're going to, like, you'll, your body will know something sort of before you're right. Yeah. Yeah. And I really think, in mental fitness, there is a strong correlation between that and physical fitness. Yeah. You know, I don't I'm not saying like, everyone's got to go, like, be super workouts, and no, no, like, they're not going to whatever, but I write Yo, I like, I believe that there's such a connection between physical and mental fitness, that, like at work, we have a 30 minute a day policy, or I expect people to get up out of their chairs, and they can go work out hard, you know, hard if they want, or just go take a walk during the day for 30 minutes. Because, like, really, there is a big action between your body and your brain.

Melissa Albers  23:00  
And while your energy sits in all different places energy sits in your body and mental energy collects in your body. I think that's a different way that I would say that. And regardless if you're buff fit, yeah, you know, or whether you're just moving your body, it doesn't, it doesn't matter if you're 105 years old, or if you're eight years old, energy sits in the body energy is always with us. And it collects. And it shifts and it moves around. And I think what you're saying is to have that awareness and to allow it to move.

JJ Parker  23:34  
And like walking meditation is a perfect hybrid of, well, hey, yeah,

Melissa Albers  23:39  
yeah. I know, it's funny that we're talking about walking meditation, because we didn't really have any agenda with that whatsoever. But but it really is a really super easy entry point for people. And I just think, you know, I think what I want to make sure that we're talking about today is the value of proactive mental self mental support. Self awareness about mental growth, you know, mental fitness, mental wellness, not mental health as a reactive state. Yes, of course, that is vitally important. But the value of getting out ahead of it, you know, the value of exploring ourselves, the value of realizing how deep our waters actually run. Yep. And what's available to us, and how much we can self soothe, and how much we can bring ourselves back to center before we reach that extended state of needing mental health crisis intervention of some sort, right?

JJ Parker  24:44  
It's always better for your car to like do routine oil changes, waiting for the engine to seize up

Melissa Albers  24:51  
over the light to stay on. 32 Miles Don't ask me how I know that. That's all true.

JJ Parker  24:57  
Well, I like this. I hope that like that the idea of mental fitness keeps growing. Obviously, you and I are going to keep video on that drum because it's really important this idea that becoming more proactive to working on on this as a daily weekly practice just like you would mental fitness is yeah is where we want to be.

Melissa Albers  25:27  
And love yourself up as a result of it. You know, don't judge yourself for wanting to explore it. It doesn't make anybody weak or anything like that. I mean, it's it is the most courageous of persons that can be vulnerable. And I just think it's huge opportunity for all of us. We hope that you've enjoyed today's episode. Our mission is to help people become happier and more effective by gaining insight into their own thoughts and feelings. So we'd love your support. First, share this podcast with anyone you think might enjoy it. Second, leave us a rating or review on your favorite podcast site. This helps others discover the podcast so we can reach more people. And third, sign up for our newsletter at the self awareness journey.com. This will help us communicate better with you and build our community. Thank you so much for joining us in the self awareness journey. We'll see you next week.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Discussed in this episode

Let's get real

Meet your guides

JJ Parker

JJ Parker is a serial entrepreneur passionate about building creative strategy, efficient operations, and unique marketing perspectives. Parker got his start as a student at The Minneapolis Institute of Art, and soon after launched his first company Tightrope Media Systems (TRMS) with a high school buddy in 1997.

Melissa Albers

Melissa is passionate about developing people’s self-awareness and ability to positively interact with others. She focuses on the importance of building influence, and highlights the most important relationship we have is with self first. Ms. Albers speaks on leadership and self-awareness, and has shared the stage with John Maxwell (Leadership Author and Speaker), Lee Cockerell (Exec VP of Disney) and Les Brown (Motivational Speaker) to name a few.

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