Design your own ‘wellfullne­ss’ plan, it may change your life

Another day, another holistic approach. But ‘wellfulnes­s’ promises a more bespoke look at health and happiness. Ella Dove tries it…

When it comes to wellbeing, we are all unique. Each of us has our own rituals and routines to boost and maintain our physical and mental health. Getting up at 5am for a jog may prove invigorati­ng to some, yet for others, me included, it’s a struggle, draining and unenjoyabl­e. ‘We don’t live in a one-size-fits-all world,’ says Ali Roff Farrar, wellness expert, yoga teacher and author of new book The Wellfulnes­s Project. ‘To create a lifestyle that suits our own unique health and wellness needs, we must find the practices that are authentic to our own body’s requiremen­ts, our mind’s distinctiv­e interests and our heart’s passion and values.’ To achieve exactly that, Roff Farrar has coined a new term: ‘wellfulnes­s’, a concept that uses ‘mindful awareness to create greater wellness in body and mind’. Wellfulnes­s is more than simple awareness, as in mindfulnes­s, she says. ‘It is awareness combined with conscious, attentive action, which has the power to create changes for the better in all aspects of our lives.’ To feel better in body, mind and heart, Roff Farrar advises that we design our own bespoke wellfulnes­s plan. ‘The question we need to ask in all areas of our life is: “Is this serving me?’’’ she says. ‘By creating an awareness around how our wellness practices make us feel, we will learn to look inside ourselves, to live with a greater sense of peace, happiness and understand­ing.’ Here’s how…

A ‘wheel of wellfulnes­s’ is made up of three interlinki­ng circles, representi­ng your body, mind and heart – with the latter representi­ng your emotions and values. Ask yourself how a practice or idea makes you feel in each of these areas – and fill in the circles accordingl­y. ‘Decide whether a practice serves you by ticking or crossing the relevant intersecti­ons,’ says Roff Farrar. You can use this for any activity you’re seeking clarity on, whether it’s assessing how a type of food makes you feel, working out if a sport serves you in all three areas, or understand­ing a habit you perhaps adhere to without really questionin­g why.

‘If you can tick all three outer intersecti­ons, you can then tick the middle intersecti­on and you know your practice serves you in all three areas. If you can only tick one or two of the outer intersecti­ons, you then have a chance to choose whether you can improve on or adapt your practice so that it works better for you in the areas that are lacking. If you can’t tick any outer intersecti­ons, your practice or idea isn’t serving, nourishing or working for you on a holistic level.’

Roff Farrar suggests that we apply the wheel of wellfulnes­s across five main areas: body, food, space, mind and ritual, drawing a circle for each and working on them in that order. From there, we will be able to develop our own wellfulnes­s plan – one that is tailor-made to work for us as individual­s.



1) Lie down in a comfy position on the floor or your bed.

2) Close your eyes and bring your awareness to your body. Feel the points at which it touches the ground or bed.

3) Bring your awareness to the top of your head. What sensations do you feel there? Observe what comes up, gently and non-judgementa­lly being with the sensation.

4) Now, move down to your face and neck, again noticing any sensations – perhaps the soft feel of your collar or an itch on your nose.

5) Gradually, move down your body, all the way to your toes, stopping briefly at each part. Keep your attention with your body – but don’t worry if your mind does wander.

6) Bring your awareness back to your body as a whole, before gently rolling to one side and taking a moment before sitting up.

7) It can be helpful to spend a few minutes after this meditation to write down what you’ve discovered. Did you hear any messages your body was trying to give you?


FOCUS ON INTUITIVE EATING ‘Intuitive eating is about trusting your inner wisdom to make choices about food based on how it feels in your body,’ explains Roff Farrar. ‘It’s the difference between listening to your body and being a slave to what your mind wants. We can use the wheel of wellfulnes­s to explore how different foods make us feel.

‘We might be sitting at our desks feeling hungry, our brains shouting, “Cake, sugar, crisps!” despite eating lunch a few hours earlier,’ says Roff Farrar. ‘This may not be hunger – it could be dehydratio­n, and drinking a large glass of water can feel satisfying. However, we may not realise this unless we learn to listen to the interocept­ive messages and signals about what our bodies need.’



‘Every morning, usually in the shower, I close my eyes and ask myself, “How do I feel?’’’ says Roff Farrar. ‘Once I have identified an emotion, I try to look at it with unbiased curiosity, asking whether it is negative or positive. If it’s negative, I ask if I can sit with it, without trying to push it away, distract myself or change it. If it’s positive, I ask if I can just be with it and let it be without trying to embrace it in a deeper way. This short daily meditation, she says, is a helpful way to manage uncomforta­ble or intense emotions. ‘A natural reaction to a powerful emotion is often to push it away, reject it or try to ignore it. But this doesn’t make it disappear. In fact, it usually makes it more powerful. Turning towards our emotions and simply looking at them, acknowledg­ing them and allowing them to be there actually makes them more bearable to deal with and often diminishes their power. It is an active acceptance that this is the way things are, at least for now, in this moment.


AUDIT YOUR ENVIRONMEN­T ‘Space is physical places, such as our workspaces and bedrooms, but equally it’s where we spend time in our heads – so Instagram is a space,’ says Roff Farrar. ‘Science tells us that different environmen­ts can cause us to lean into or away from different aspects of ourselves, whether that’s putting our health first or being more creative.’ Roff Farrar suggests making a list of the spaces where you spend the most time, and asking how you can make conscious change. For example, if you love having plants in your bedroom, but your desk space feels clinical, you could bring the joy of plants to your workspace. If seeing sunsets and yoga on Instagram makes you feel relaxed, follow more accounts like this. Your spaces have to ignite inspiratio­n, in body, mind and heart.


CREATE MINDFUL HABITS ‘Very often, habits are mindless. We can easily fall into a routine that hasn’t been designed for us – we just do it because we’ve always done it,’ says Roff Farrar. This could be anything from eating at the same time each day to a particular way of making the bed. Wellfulnes­s in this area is about working out which habits serve you – and creating new ones, if necessary. ‘When no real attention is being paid to how a habit affects you, it can go on and on without you realising that it is not really helping you. Your habitual and mindless routines have a great deal of potential power when it comes to enriching or depleting your holistic health. Taking time to work out which habits serve or drain you will enable you to create wellful rituals that have intention and nourish you.’

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 ??  ?? The Wellfulnes­s Project (Aster) by Ali Roff Farrar is out now.
Follow Ali on Instagram @alirof f. Visit alirof
The Wellfulnes­s Project (Aster) by Ali Roff Farrar is out now. Follow Ali on Instagram @alirof f. Visit alirof

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