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The six ingredients to wellbeing

A well-known Adelaide psychologist believes there are six core ingredients to wellbeing, and WellFest Adelaide is here to help you get those ingredients into your life.

Dr. Tom Nehmy, a clinical psychologist and director of the Healthy Minds program, goes to schools and companies around Adelaide talking about the six key ingredients in the hope of preventing mental health issues.

Tom is very passionate about preventative psychology and teaching people to become very mentally healthy, leading them to have more energy, more focus, more motivation, become more productive and be better partners, friends and family members.

Learn more about each ingredient so you too can improve your wellbeing and see how WellFest Adelaide will help.

1. Primary Relationships

Number one is primary relationships. While Tom said it doesn’t sound like rocket science, it often gets missed in models of mental health.

“It’s thinking about how healthy, encouraging and supportive our relationships are – if we have that it adds to our wellbeing, if we don't, it detracts from it,” Tom said.

“You can influence somebody's wellbeing by being a good friend, by being supportive, by being a listener and building connectedness to them.”

2. Biological needs and bodily health

Some people think that your body is completely separate from your mental health, but Tom doesn’t believe that.

“If we have a terrible night's sleep and we're hungry or dehydrated, we're not going to have a very high level of tolerance for strong emotions,” Tom said.

“There's some fundamental things like hydration, sleep and nutrition.”

3. Physical exercise

Tom said exercise is one that we think of for our bodies, but vigorous exercise is a reliable mental health strategy.

“People tend to feel better after they exercise – it boosts your mood, it relieves stress,” he said.

“There’s very good scientific evidence to say being in nature and exercise is a wellbeing factor and we have these natural resources and gorgeous Park Lands all around the city.”

Healthy Minds Wellbeing Wheel

4. Interests and social life

Tom calls this one the balance segment.

“This is about having fun for fun sake – having an interest outside of your work, having a social life,” Tom said.

“There’s a surprising amount of scientific evidence to say that you should be out there having fun, seeing your friends, doing interesting things.”

5. Values, meaning and purpose

This is Tom’s ‘big picture’ segment.

“This is about your values, what really matters in life and if you’re living according to what really matters,” he said.

“There's been some very interesting research to say that if you have a strong sense of purpose in life, you're likely to live longer than someone who doesn't.”

6. Psychological skills

One of the core skills to a healthy mind is that the most important relationship in your life if the one you have with yourself.

“There’s a thing called unhelpful perfectionism, where people set the bar pretty high for themselves and the striving becomes so intense it starts to cause problems,” Tom said.

“Even if people aren’t perfectionists, they're tough on themselves, they're self-critical, they make a mistake and they find themselves judging themselves harshly.

“So self-compassion – treating yourself with kindness, acceptance, encouragement – this helps us to dust ourselves off if we make a mistake, it helps us to give ourselves what we need when times are difficult.”

How will WellFest Adelaide help?

WellFest Adelaide, taking place between 16-31 October 2021, is a unique opportunity to being people together in the city of Adelaide to embrace a celebration of wellbeing. It will feature two major events – Wellness Squared and Hounds on Hutt – both of which are free to attend.

Three city squares will be full of activity over three weekends with Wellness Squared, where you’ll be able to reconnect with yourself and the city and recharge socially through sessions and presentations by local businesses and specialists.

Yoga, high intensity impact training, nutrition and cooking demonstrations, gardening, meditation, Pilates and music are just some of the activities you’ll be able to participate in with your friends and family members – many of which relate back to the six ingredients of wellbeing.

You’ll even be able to hear from Tom himself at Healthy Mind presentations.

“The idea of a festival focused on wellbeing is outstanding, it’s an opportunity to find those interests or healthy activities people need to incorporate into their lives and hopefully lift a point or two on everyone’s wellbeing wheel,” Tom said.

Hounds on Hutt on Saturday 23 October is a chance to enjoy a day out with your dog and connect socially with other dog lovers. Tom believes that primary relationships don’t just have to be with humans and that our four-legged friends are another source of supportive companionship.

“When you're giving your dog a cuddle or a pat, that's actually giving us an oxytocin release,” Tom said.

“We feel it emotionally when neuro chemicals are released that make you feel good, feel better and it's a significant stress reliever.”

To hear more from Tom, book into one of the free Wellness Squared sessions and stay tuned for season two of the Experience Adelaide podcast.