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Is your environment helping you grow and thrive?

Nurturing

DIFFERENT NEEDS Like different kinds of plants, every human has their own, unique set of needs. 

Mental Health
Jannah Walshe

Summer is here and it’s that time of year when anyone that likes to garden is out taking care of their pots and plants. They are busy weeding, mowing and nurturing their gardens. They are looking to the soil, water, sun and shade to see if their plants can thrive in their designated spots in the garden. Anything that is not thriving is moved, potted up and fed or watered to help it on its way. A good gardener is always watching to see that his or her plants always have the right environment to thrive and grow.
Like the gardener, it is wise for us to look at our own environments to see if they are supporting us to thrive and grow. We need to ask ourselves some hard questions and answer them truthfully.
When you look around you, what do you see? What kind of life have you surrounded yourself with? For example, where do you live? Who are the people you associate with? What types of things do you do on a daily basis? Like other living organisms, we are intrinsically designed to want to reach our full potential. With the right environment, this is much easier to achieve.
From time to time it is important to do a personal life evaluation, starting with questions like those above. It’s so easy to get caught up in day-to-day living and to forget to stop and look around, to examine where we are at present and ask whether anything needs to change.
So, what do you need to thrive in your life? Like the plant, are you supported or hindered by your environment? Are your needs being met at present? If not, what could you do differently?
Find a quiet spot, maybe in the garden. Take out a piece of paper and jot down a few notes. Do a mini inventory of your life. Using the following two headings ‘Home Environment’ amd ‘Work/Study Environment’ write out how things are currently in each area.
‘Home Environment’ should include home you live in, the area you live in, family, friends, neighbours, nutrition, time spent outside or exercising, sleeping patterns, amount of time spent at home.
‘Work/Study Environment’ should include the place and location you work or study in, work colleagues, management in the workplace, sense of enjoyment or achievement at work, amount of time spent at work, lack of work.
What have you discovered after you have done this? Hopefully you will see that the current environment that you surround yourself with is one in which you can thrive, grow and be happy in. If this is not what you have found, ask yourself, which area could easily be changed or added to? What steps would you need to take to improve this? How can you be supported in these changes?
There are many different studies and theories arguing about what we need in our lives to thrive, be it sleep more, eat better or be more socially active. Ignore all of these and find what works for you and you alone. Like it is often said, we are all different, and just like the plants, our needs will vary greatly. Don’t look to the plant beside you for the answer, do a life inventory and find your own.

Jannah Walshe is a fully accredited psychotherapist, course facilitator and mental-health speaker based in Co Mayo. More information about Jannah can be found at www.jannahwalshe.ie.