For college students, I believe a lot of what we choose to do is based on what we believe is expected by us from our loved ones, our friends, our teachers, and from society as a whole.
When was the last time you choose to do something solely because you wanted to do it?
Or even when was the last time you decided to do something on your own?
Or when was the last time you did something that was going to benefit only you?
It may sound cheesy sure, but when was the last time you felt you had a certain level of peace with yourself and in your life?
This semester I am doing service learning with an organization, Little Friends for Peace (LFFP) which does peace education with various groups including school-aged children, incarcerated men and women, and people experiencing homelessness. All with the perspective of non-violent and peaceful solutions can be found for our society's problems.
At the core of LFFP's curriculum is the wellness wheel which is built up by six elements: Feelings, Mind, People, Work, Body and Spirit. These six things have other smaller pieces that fall beneath them that serve as pieces of our own wellness wheels.
In the training I have gone to with LFFP this is a visual way for me to think of how all of these six elements can feed my peace and everyday wellness. I also think that these six things are elements many college students can relate to and are in play in our everyday lives.
When we got into small groups we took a moment to share what the strongest points of our wellness wheels were at the moment and what the weakest points were.
For me, my strong point was people because I feel like the people I have currently in my life feed into the wellness of the other five elements. The people I have in my life make me feel loved and appreciated, there are those people who help me grow spiritually, the people I work with are amazing and are becoming friends, I have friends who motivate me to work out or eat well to take care of my body.
The weak point for me was my body. At the time of the training I was in the midst of the classic beginning of school cold, and over the past week, my schedule had been such that it gave me limited time to cook for myself which is something I love to take time to do.
College can feel like a swarm of chaos where nothing is constant or feeling permanent for very long. Our friendships can ebb and flow and vanish, our work can drive us insane sometimes, immune systems are weakened by living in a dorm with hundreds of other kids, our feelings can become overwhelmed and our mind is a constant, running to-do list that doesn't seem to end.
But if we take time to think about it for long enough to concentrate on just ourselves instead of everyone around us, we can find pockets of peace. Things can come into balance for us and give us some firm footing beneath our feet. We just do not take enough time to think about this and find what is giving us joy.
Our society is one that has a tendency to focus on the negative and what's wrong, only leaving small slivers of time to celebrate the good. That outbalance of bad over good is negative and not good for anyone's mental sanity.
But we should challenge this societal standard of obsessing over the bad to look for what is giving us peace, or what may contain moments of peace if we give those opportunities a chance.
So I challenge you to think about your wellness wheel. Either think out or write down what each of those six elements contains for you individually and where the strong point is and what is a bit weaker. Finding a moment to be completely by yourself in college is hard but it is a worthwhile challenge that can help you center yourself amidst the chaos.