The Wellbeing Continuum

Mental Health Mindfulness

Health, whether we are talking mental or physical is on a continuum from an absence of ill-health to severe illness.

Wellbeing is interrelated but on a separate continuum, again from low (ill) to high (flourishing or thriving). It is possible to experience low well-being while being objectively healthy (whether physically or mentally) and vice versa.

Regardless of baseline we move along the continua and can (and do) influence movement in all directions.

So, what are we supposed to look for? An illustration might help:

Screenshot 2024 06 24 At 12.50.49

This is not exhaustive, and there are no fixed boundaries along this line. The earlier we seek help the greater the chances of it working. The further to the right of this line, the more urgently professional support (i.e. medically trained) should be sought.

Even that is not binary; good support networks are a cocktail menu; at different times we will need different mixes. Long-term wellbeing, even for the most introvert and independent involves social support and a sense of connection to others as well as any qualified or medical support.

Listen up.

I am quite often asked for guidance on helping somebody, although there has been no conversation with the person who “needs” help. One of the barriers to empathy identified by Miller and colleagues is early assessment. The sooner we reach a conclusion, well, the sooner we reach a conclusion. You will be able to think of times that you have known people have stopped listening to you because their mind is made up about what should happen next.

Being open, being curious – attempting to understand the individual fuel-mix, or issues as they are experienced for the person in front of you – leads to better health outcomes (and in a different context, better customer/client relations). Asking and being seen to pay attention to the response gives the people you are with a feeling of being a little more listened to. A greater sense of relatedness is not only good for productivity and intrinsic motivation but is also good for mental health. This is not about whether somebody feels liked or popular, but whether they feel part of something where people “get them.”

Even when you are referring somebody on to somebody else, taking the time to understand needs before saying you cannot help (whether that is at all or on your own) can signal genuine regard for them as a person.

Balance or Sustainability

For some, balance is a tricky concept to grasp, getting proportionately trickier as level of passion for something rises. Digging deep is a necessary part of life and can feel pretty rewarding when you come out the other side. How long can you maintain that pace? Once we start thinking about how we help people show up for repeat efforts, we start thinking in terms of effort and recovery, rather than just grinding.

Adaptation to load takes recovery; just as learning from experience takes conscious review. Do your teams have the knowledge, equipment, and time to be able to do the work, to learn from it and go again? Do the results you are tasking people with achieving fit with the work you have for them? Have you told your teams recently why you think it is within their capability? The answers to these questions can help shape your next steps.

On that note, live your values. Say what you mean and do what you say. The more guessing that people around you must do, the more likely they will a) annoy you because they have missed the mark, and b) feel unsettled. This dissonance, the gap between what you say and what people experience, is unnerving, and uncertainty increases stress.

Finally, remember to have some fun along the way. Take things seriously but not yourself. As Roald Dahl said, “a little nonsense now and then is cherished by the wisest.”

Benmorris Main

Ben Morris

Head of People & Performance

Mogers Drewett LLP












Mogers Drewett

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