Wellbeing need not always cost you money

Sunset over the Coral Sea.

All too often, especially in our capitalist communities, there is the assumption to be well one must spend money. Reminds me of the story my partner told me of a distant colleague commending her on her appearance and asked “what are you using?”. “Nothing” was my partner’s reply, just “eating healthy” foods, and the other person soon lost interest. Eating well is a choice, yet so many people are seeking the ‘magic bullet’, the pill, the supplement, to spend money on something to ‘look good’.

Sure, we can spend money on a multitude of things, and they can help us achieve positive health. Perhaps we also need sufficient wealth to access services and products to sustain wellbeing, especially if we fall on hard times, are injured or acquire an illness. This is the case in most of our contemporary societies.

However, some things are free, and they are very good for our health. Like deep and slow rhythmic breathing, smiling at a stranger or a loved one, saying thank-you and demonstrating manners and gratitude, being appreciative particularly of nature, listening, exercise and exercising positive choices especially around food, patting a dog or a horse, meditating, developing and practising positive self-talk, and much more.

Many of these things bring their own rewards as well as change the biochemistry in our bodies including our brain (mind). As such, they help our immune system to strengthen our defenses against disease and infection or assist recovery sooner from illness. Remember the kindness of those helpers in hospitals who ‘nurse’ people back to health?

Our biochemistry changes with positive and compassionate behaviour, to self and others. We can sleep better, our mood is enhanced, our relationships and productivity improve, and innovation, creativity and self-confidence increase. We learn to value what we have, not resent what we do not.

So next time you are bored or depressed, see what you can do for free. It might be the best thing you can do for your health any time soon.

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