“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.” ~ A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
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If you know me at all on a personal level, you probably know that I have adored the Winnie-the-Pooh my whole life. From a very young age, I derived comfort from these loveable characters, and as I’ve aged, I have come to appreciate them more for their predictable behaviours. A.A. Milne was incredibly astute to create these animals with such distinct personalities and identifiable traits. This coupled with the fact that most of them are called by the animal name they represent, makes them even more perfect.
Over the course of time, A.A. Milne’s characters have often been likened to psychiatric diagnoses which in turn makes them somehow even more relatable and endearing. In fact, the Canadian Medical Association Journal article Pathology in the Hundred Acre Wood: a neurodevelopmental perspective on A.A. Milne, won an award and received a prize in 2001 for being “one of a kind”.
In an attempt to not take myself too seriously and combined with the fact that summer is fastly dwindling, I wanted to have some fun with this post by looking at some of the Hundred Acre Wood characters and what lessons they teach us about both wellness and life.
Kindness: Christopher Robin is known for both his gentle spirit and helpful demeanour towards his friends – the animals in the Hundred Acre Wood. Kindness has been shown to improve both our well-being and the well-being of those around us who receive our kindness. Can you think of a random act of kindness (#RAK) that you have either done recently or would like to do?
Happiness: Although Eeyore does not personify happiness at all, he is a constant reminder of the importance of being happy in the moment as opposed to the constant search for the seemingly elusive eternal happiness (or donkey tail). I like the Action for Happiness – 10 keys to happier living: giving, relating, exercising, appreciating, trying out, direction, resilience, emotion, acceptance, meaning.
Being active: Tigger bouncing around on his tail is the poster child for being active. Thankfully, we do not need to expend as much energy as he does to experience health & wellness benefits. Walking 30 minutes a day is considered to be one of the best forms of exercise.
Gratitude: Piglet is anxious and often seems unsure, but he gratefully overcomes his fears through Pooh’s encouragement. As Brene Brown says, it isn’t enough to have an attitude of gratitude, but you have to practice it. Gratitude practice, without question, will positively change your life. It can be as simple as keeping a gratitude journal where you write down one meaningful thing you are grateful for everyday.
Creativity: Owl loves to tell stories and cook – two forms of creative expression. Believe it or not, we all have the ability to be creative and not only can it produce feelings of joy, but it can also be an extremely beneficial stress reliever. Find time for creative activities you are passionate about – they exist within all of us!
Balanced diet: Fittingly, we will end with our beloved Pooh bear who could simply exist on honey alone. Much to Pooh’s chagrin, our diet needs to be much more varied than just honey. Variety, whole, colourful, and moderation are key principles to describing what a balanced diet looks like.
Friendship & love: Although other loveable characters that we did not discuss live in the Hundred Acre Wood, what unites them all is friendship and love. I wrote about love in last week’s post and I am sure I will in many more to come. Love is a feeling and an emotion that transcends all humans, and beloved childhood characters, and is essential to our well-being.
Do you have a story or character(s) from your childhood that still fills you with positive emotions?