Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Thriving and flourishing

Strategies to enhance your physical and mental well-being when you are feeling ‘empty’ on the inside.

It is OK not to be OK. There are times when we feel like we are languishing, depressed, anxious of the future, or simply burnt out. Languishing is the absence of good mental health, with persistent feelings of monotony, loneliness and emptiness. Someone who is languishing may experience poor social or psychological functioning as a result.

In contrast, to flourish means being able to maintain a constant state of good physical and mental health through finding purpose and meaning in your life, engaging in positive interests, and experiencing positive emotions. This involves doing activities that enhance your well-being. People who flourish have better relationships and are less likely to have physical and mental health problems. Through flourishing, positive emotions experienced such as gratitude and hope can boost health and resilience, and serve as buffers against anxiety and depression.Changi General Hospital’s (CGH) Department of TRaCS shares six strategies to help us flourish. TRaCS aims to develop greater psychological resilience by empowering people through knowledge and skills; thus, promoting a culture of positive mental wellness in the workplace and community.

The amygdala is a small almond-shaped structure in the brain. It helps to regulate emotions and encode memories, especially when it comes to those who are more emotional in nature. When you are stressed, the amygdala executes an automatic stress response reaction to fight, flee or freeze. An overactivated amygdala causes excessive anxiety and intense emotions.

Knowing and understanding how your body and mind work under stress can help you manage and cope with adversity. One way to gain such an understanding is through body-based exercises that help to calm the mind and body, which in turn gives us a sense of safety, and further develops our self-awareness.

React in a way that you can be proud of later. Part of developing self-awareness is our ability to self-regulate and take responsibility for our own actions and choices. While it is perfectly normal to feel emotions such as anger or fear, you can learn to manage them rather than let these emotions overpower you. Be proactive in managing your emotions by practising mindfulness and deep breathing exercises.

Pause between a feeling and an action. This helps us manage our automatic reactions to respond effectively.

Pause - Stop for a moment and allow space for contemplation

Notice - If you have been triggered, notice how that shows up for you in the moment

Reflect and breathe - Focus on your breathing and label sensations, thoughts and emotions as you experience them

Respond - Problem-solve skillfully instead of reacting impulsively

Stepping away from your stressor for a few minutes can provide you with some clarity.

You can do this by:

  • Stepping away from the problem for a drink or break
  • Listening to calming songs
  • Taking five deep breaths
  • At the workplace, when unsure about something, inform the other party that you need some time to check

Listen and respond to your needs with these strategies:

  • Do some stretching exercises to reduce muscular tension
  • Take a power nap to refresh yourself
  • Calm your mind by taking five slow breaths
  • Acknowledge that making mistakes at times is part of being human
  • If you are at work, remind yourself why you are there by looking at pictures of your family or a holiday destination

Self-compassion is about comforting and caring for yourself when you are going through a difficult time. It sends a message to your brain that you are not under imminent threat. In doing so, accept that we are human and make mistakes from time to time, but despite that, we are doing our best.

Care for yourself as you would care for a friend. An example of a self-care activity is setting aside a self-care day to bring yourself out to do something you enjoy.

Practise mindfulness by taking a break to re-energise yourself. Focus on the present moment instead of dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.

Find ways and avenues to apply your strengths daily. Some examples include:

Zest - Organise a fun activity for your family, friends or colleagues

Creativity - Find new ways to do your daily tasks

Love of Learning - Share an interesting article with your family, friends or colleagues

Forgiveness - Consider a mistake you made and forgive yourself for not knowing better in the past

Kindness - Look out for a family member, friend or colleague in need and offer a listening ear

Thriving and flourishing