Explore your taha hinengaro (mental and emotional wellbeing)

One in five Kiwis experiences a mental illness each year. Almost all of these people will recover or live well with the right tautoko (support).

Te Whare Tapa Whā is a model of health that helps us identify where we need extra support. It describes health as a wharenui (meeting house) with four walls. These walls represent:

  • taha wairua (spiritual wellbeing)
  • taha hinengaro (mental and emotional wellbeing)
  • taha tinana (physical wellbeing)
  • taha whānau (family and social wellbeing)

Connection with the whenua (land) forms the foundation. When all four walls and the foundation are strong, we feel strong too, including our top two inches (our mental wellbeing).

What is taha hinengaro?

Just like your physical health, your taha hinengaro (mental and emotional wellbeing) needs to be taken care of. Taha hinengaro is your mind, heart, conscience, thoughts and feelings. It’s about how you feel, as well as how you communicate and think.

Why is taha hinengaro an important way to wellbeing?

Taking care of taha hinengaro is important for everyone, regardless of whether or not you’ve experienced mental illness or distress. Being involved in meaningful, fulfilling mahi has huge benefits for your taha hinengaro. If you don’t enjoy your mahi, or if you don’t feel valued or supported in the workplace it can have a negative impact on how you feel. Even if you’re going through this right now, you can still do things to boost your wellbeing.

When your taha hinengaro is strong, you can better cope with the ups and downs of life. You can express your feelings and reach out for support from friends, whānau and hoamahi (colleagues) if you need to.

Exploring your way to wellbeing through taha hinengaro

  • Carve out a special moment in your day to do something nice for yourself. It could be enjoying a cup of coffee with a hoamahi, listening to your favourite song while you work, or taking a walk around the block to get some fresh air.
  • Take 10 minutes at the start of the work day to do a group mindfulness meditation. This will help you to focus on the day ahead.
  • Make a gratitude wall in your lunchroom or another shared workspace – invite people to bring in photos or write down the things they are grateful for in their lives right now. It’s a nice visual reminder of the things that make us feel good, and it’s cool to read what other people are grateful for too!
  • Create a wellbeing space – somewhere people can go to do their own wellbeing practices such as meditation, karakia or physical exercise.
  • Take the opportunity during workplace hui (meetings) to ask everyone how they are and really listen to the answers.
  • Start a wellbeing committee – think of it as a social club, with a wellbeing focus! The goal is to come up with monthly activities for people to get involved in that will give their wellbeing a boost.
  • Challenge hoamahi to do a walking hui – getting out of your usual work environment and being active will help generate more innovative ideas! Even if you work outdoors it’s a good idea to take yourself away from your normal environment.
  • Give a compliment – acknowledge someone in your workplace who makes your day that much brighter! It’ll give you warm fuzzies too.
  • Complete another random act of kindness for someone at your workplace!

Take some time to reflect on what taha hinengaro means to you. If you tried out any of the activities above, what specifically made you feel good and what didn’t? If any of the activities helped to boost your mental health and wellbeing why not find ways to include them regularly in your week.

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Source: Mental Health Foundation

The Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand is a charity that works towards creating a society free from discrimination, where all people enjoy positive mental health and wellbeing.

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