Be Well. Whole Well

Be Well

Paribha VASHIST responds to ThinkWellness360 questionnaire:

Your view on beauty?

Beauty is about manifesting an inner ‘glow.’ It’s about radiating an aura that draws people towards you. This charisma only comes when we evolve our higher consciousness by being open to pluralities of opinion and by embracing new perspectives, including the ones that we may find distasteful. Beauty is inherent in folks who value rationality and humanism, over conventional norms. It is apparent in people who challenge the status quo and question the assumptions. It is also an intrinsic part in people who are willing to accept their faults and have a positive attitude towards change. It is Socrates’ maxim, indeed, that has shaped my perception, “Give me beauty in the inward soul; may the outward and the inward man be at one.”

Your ‘take’ on fitness? 

In my opinion, being ‘fit’ is an attitude. If we ‘feel fit’ then we are more confident in general, and this translates into better work and greater personal satisfaction. Our ‘fitness’ is tested by the ample amount of adversities in life. It is our resilience and fighting spirit that enables us to learn from others’ hard experiences and move on to a higher spectrum. Thus, developing inner confidence and fighting spirit becomes important. Many of us get bogged down under high-pressure situations, but our ‘fitness’ determines if we can convert our ‘carbon’ into ‘coal,’ or ‘diamond.’ In such cases, we underestimate our capacity and lose our mental tranquillity, instead of seeing these difficulties as opportunities to achieving more in less time. Hence, for me, ‘fitness’ is all about building that ‘right attitude’ in life.

Your view of health and wellness?

A healthy state of being is achieved only when there is physical and mental equilibrium. It is also realising our potential to our fullest and flourishing without any self-imposed constraints. As Aristotle said, wellness is when we achieve a state of eudaimonia, or the highest human good. However, we all find it difficult to maintain this equilibrium unless we put in constant personal effort: whether it is eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, or practising mindfulness. What really helps us stay health-conscious is a meticulous routine coupled with the essence of Ivan Pavlov’s classical conditioning. For instance, if we purposely devote a particular time slot, say 7:00am to 8:00am, every day for exercise and follow this routine thoroughly, exercising would no longer feel like a compulsion to us; it will become a great habit.

Yet another dimension of health that we tend to ignore is emotional, or mental, well-being. A lot of us have mental breakdowns under stressful situations; we self-doubt our capabilities; have emotionally hard times, and what-not — our life is full of these negative factors. But, we barely pay any attention to recuperate ourselves, or to self-reflect, and, therefore, end up exacerbating all the negativities that bother us. So, taking out time to meditate for at least 10-15 minutes a day, or pouring out our thoughts in a diary helps us better to analysing our state of mind. In this way, we are more aware of our thoughts and can effectively deal with the difficulties.

Your ‘take’ on work-life balance? 

I think it is possible to achieve an optimal work-life balance when we have a limited set of tasks on our plate. If we decide to do a great number of activities in a limited time-frame, we end up giving a substandard performance, or leave many of the tasks unfinished. Therefore, learning to prioritise and to say ‘no’ to extra commitments becomes crucial, and this is, indeed, the area that we all struggle with. At times, we want to achieve so many goals that we start procrastinating and, as a result, deteriorate the quality of our work. Moreover, we find it extremely hard to say ‘no’ to our close friends, family, co-workers and other others, not realising that it hurts them more when we renege on our promises. Thus, having a strong sense of focus on a limited number of objectives and saying ‘no’ politely to requests that seem difficult to achieve, or are not in alignment with our broader aim, become paramount. In this way, we can take out time for ourselves and for those who matter to us, while also deriving maximum utility from our work. The result? A ‘fine balance.’

Your mantra to beat stress? 

The simple approach I follow to keep myself pacified under demanding situations is one of the fundamental principles of economics: “People respond to incentives.” Realising that incentives are what that drive us, I always reward myself after the completion of a task. This not only boosts my productivity, but it also prevents any tasks from piling up near the due date — which is often a source of stress. Therefore, having a routine interspersed with fun and relaxing activities help. Additionally, practising mindfulness makes us conscious of our situation and enables us to look at our problems from an outsider’s perspective. Lastly, there are certain idiosyncrasies we all have, like reading a Haruki Murakami novel, while listening to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, that can be oddly satisfying. So, identifying them could be beneficial too.

PARIBHA VASHIST is a Third-Year Bachelor of Economics student at Gargi College, University of Delhi, New Delhi. A voracious reader and a naturally gifted writer, Vashist is zealously passionate about international economics, environmental policy and sustainable development. She wishes to effectively disseminate, in her own simple, yet profound way, scientific knowledge and policy tools to bringing about a positive, healthy change in our increasingly madding world.

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