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Pave the path to holistic well-being

The MD & CEO of Kalorex group, Dr. Manjula Pooja Shroff is an edupreneur, Vlogger and achiever of her own kind who inspires many. Being inspired by the foundational pillars of education and the strong roots of entrepreneurship, she has been instrumental in founding and managing several premier schools in India. Dr. Shroff is passionate about ‘Education for all’ and her schools cater to the different segments of the society ranging from the elite section to economically weaker section.

SHROFFism is propounded by Dr. Manjula Pooja Shroff as a way of life that promotes “overall well-being” under the tenets of Mental, Physical and Spiritual well-being. For most people well-being resonates with physical fitness or financial wellness but in actuality, well-being is not just lack of illness and a good bank balance but a state of contentment and satisfaction with your life. A sense of purpose and the ability to manage the day-to-day stresses of life while achieving life goals is essential to well-being. Overall well-being is a holistic approach.

“Age is just a number if your mind, body and spirit are agile. In fact, with age we acquire a better wisdom to live life fully,” says Dr. Shroff.

Dr. Manjula Pooja Shroff who personifies grace and youth, is time and again asked about her secret to staying young. SHROFFism was conceptualised; to provide an insight into the habits and practises that have helped keep her youthful and healthy. To the question of why well-being is important, Dr. Shroff says that while well-being seems to be a commonly used term these days, very few people understand what exactly it is and more importantly how to achieve it. More so well-being is a subjective concept and may vary from person to person but at the heart of well-being is finding fulfilment and meaning in life.

While one photographer may find meaning in photographing the pain of a war torn place, bringing it to the world, helping in creating awareness and organising charity for the suffering people another photographer may find meaning in clicking celebrity pictures, selling it for huge amounts of money and creating riches for his family. Both are pursuing well-being in their own way. Basically every individual looks at well-being from the spec of their values, perceptions, past experiences and aspirations. Research has shown that a greater sense of well-being boosts our mental, physical and spiritual health and helps us to be the best versions of ourselves.

Earlier in a traditional sense, physical health and longevity were considered the most important measure of well-being by people in general. Over a period of time, it was realised that the body and mind are interconnected. In fact, Dr. Shroff feels that a healthy mind is a precursor to a healthy body. Hence, the first tenet of SHROFFism is mental well-being.

Our thoughts, feelings, emotions and attitudes can impact our physiological functioning. In other words, our mind can affect how healthy we physically are! We all have heard of headache, upset stomach, shortness of breath, insomnia and many such health issues caused by stress and anxiety. Today, the modern medical science more specifically the field of Psychology, is doing a lot of work in the field of body-mind connection and have found that certain diseases that fall in the “psychosomatic category” clearly have a body-mind connection.

Dr. Shroff suggests some activities like practicing gratitude, prayer, me-time activities, and more for calming our mind in the chaos called world. After all its only a calm mind that sends positive messages to our body to enhance physical well-being. A great mental health makes an individual cope up with the normal stresses of life easily and helps realise their full potential.

Mental well-being includes our psychological, emotional, and social well-being. Psychological well-being is a core aspect of overall wellbeing. It is linked to longevity, better physical health, better relationships, and effectiveness in individual and social life. Psychological well-being is about living life well. It is a combination of feeling good and being effective. Feeling good comes from happiness and happiness can be defined in different ways.

Psychology categorises happiness into hedonic and eudaimonic. Hedonic happiness, proposed by Greek philosopher, Aristippus, comes from pleasure and enjoyment and eudaimonic happiness proposed by another Greek philosopher Aristotle, comes from meaning and purpose. Most of the researchers in psychology believe that both happiness and finding purpose in life are important to maximize well-being.

Emotional well-being primarily focuses on the ability to manage and express our emotions in an age-appropriate way. It is our emotional health that ensures that we are in control of our thoughts, feelings and behaviour and are able to adapt or bounce back in case of stressful and adverse situations. Being emotionally healthy means that you know that you can’t be happy all the times and you are aware of your negative emotions and have the ability to deal with them.

A healthy mind is a determinant of social well-being also. A happy and healthy mind leads to positive interaction with people which in turn leads to healthy relationships. A healthy relationship with people around us can be very gratifying as a human being seeks fulfilment from its associations. These associations can be individual or towards our society. So, developing, sustaining, and sharing good relationships with others creates a sense of belonging and connectedness which makes us feel valued and brings a kind of joy that adds immensely to our well-being.

Physical well-being is the second tenet of SHROFFism and is important because ahealthy body is the abode of a healthy mind and spirit. Physical well-being is not just physical fitness; it is inclusive of lifestyle choices to ensure health, avoid preventable diseases and live in a balanced state.

To achieve optimal physical well-being, we need to eat right, exercise regularly, and get a good sleep. While Dr. Shroff is a firm believer of eating right kind of food towards achieving a good health, at the same time she feels that in today’s time where we do not eat a balanced diet all the time, our bodies start suffering from nutritional deficiencies.  Even the food that we eat; thanks to the modern methods of farming, use of chemicals, depletion of natural minerals from soil attributed to over farming; lacks sufficient nutrition. Given that it is advisable to take supplements along with a healthy diet to achieve optimal health.

Our physical body is a perfect machinery created by the creator and like any machinery, the body parts run smoothly if used (exercised) regularly. The unused/less used body parts tend to rust and we know what rust does to a machine part!! Our body has its innate intelligence and it gives you signals in case of distress and you have to be aligned to understand it.

To keep this perfect piece of machinery working well, we need to exercise our body regularly. Physical Fitness is about building cardiovascular endurance, strength, flexibility, and a healthy weight. Each aspect is important and we need to work with different forms of exercise to achieve all the elements mentioned above. Dr. Shroff personally keeps experimenting with various forms of workouts like Aerial Yoga, Pranayama, Cycling, Kick Boxing, Pilates, and many more. It makes exercising fun.

Sleep is another important aspect of good physical health. Many people are of the opinion that the time spent in sleeping is a time wasted but they miss out on the fact that it is the time that our body needs to heal and repair itself. An internal body clock regulates our sleep cycle and a healthy body has a definite sleep cycle.

This sleep cycle if disturbed for a significant period of time can lead to major health issues. Unfortunately, the modern lifestyle, the demands of modern life, and work deadlines sees a lot of people tossing, turning because of stress, and waking up sleep-deprived. It’s important for us to follow certain habits and if required techniques to sleep well. Exercise and yoga help us sleep better.

The third tenet of SHROFFism is Spiritual well-being. In today’s world of long to-do lists, our minds are constantly occupied with thoughts and responsibilities. There is hardly any down time and our necessary or not so necessary material pursuits can cause us to lose the perspective of what we are passionate about and what we really want from life. Most of the time, we end up racing on a track where there is no visible finishing line. This may lead to desperation, hopelessness and loss of spirit. How do we come out of this situation and become optimistic towards our life again? It leads us in search of something deeper.

Spiritual well-being is a very broad concept that essentially revolves around our search for deeper meaning in life. The spirit is our essence, our being. When we get in touch with our essence or being, we are able to find a very different kind of fulfilment which is beyond any physical gratification. Spirituality may mean different things for different people. Some people follow religion, others may follow an art form yet some others may follow path of service and some more… Spiritual well-being means, you identify with your life’s purpose, have a connect with the divine energy, have a relationship with community, environment and culture and are committed to life’s purpose, your value and faith.

Research shows that there is a connection between our beliefs and sense of well-being. Positive beliefs, feelings of empathy, compassion, love and gratitude gives us a strength that seems to affect our body, mind and spirit positively. Strength gained from any form of spiritual practice has shown miracles in case of severe illnesses as well. To improve our well-being let’s take a note of certain age old practices and some new spiritual practices. The ultimate goal being peace and tranquillity from your spiritual practice.

Reading and reflection, is an age-old practice where people get together or individually read a religious book and reflect on the verses. The act of contemplating the meaning and the divine connection gives a new meaning to life and helps us in getting into a positive frame of mind.

Prayer is another age-old way of connecting to the divine. Prayer can be ritualistic or informal, each has their own way but it has a calming effect on us as it is based on trust in God that he is looking upon us.

A modern practice often recommended as a spiritual well-being activity is Journaling. Journaling can reduce your anxiety by helping you vent your emotions, it helps you in mindfully regulating your emotions and helps you overcome brooding of a bad event. It has tremendous health benefits, as it helps you in opening up your emotion and can be considered almost therapeutic. Volunteer or get connected to a cause for your community. So, the whole idea is to slow down, reflect, re-energize and go back to the purpose of your life.

Dr. Shroff practices many such ways of re-energizing and rejuvenating that she also shares in her SHROFFIsm talks. Ultimately by balancing our Mental, Physical and Spiritual well-being, we take care of our overall well-being and are blissful individuals.

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