A Guide to Wholehearted Living

Advice inspired by Brené Brown’s research

The well-known author and researcher Brené Brown is considered to be the ‘Godmother’ of Wholehearted Living. She has dedicated years of her academic career to studying the subject in-depth. In her bestselling book, The Gifts of Imperfection, Brown outlines 10 guide posts to live from the heart. Our guide provides an insight into each of these principles and, we hope, the inspiration to embrace life from the perspective of “I’m all in”.


Letting go of what people think

Connection, whether it be with ourselves, our families, friends, environment or work, makes us feel happy and purposeful. To experience meaningful connection, we have to be present in the moment. During a conversation, instead of waiting for our turn to speak, let’s try really listening to what the other person is saying. When we play with our children, let’s get involved in the game rather than half-heartedly going through the motions while scrolling on our phones. By showing up, fully, we are offering the world our authentic selves and in return, we gain in happiness, health, intuition and inner calm.


 Letting go of imperfection

The more compassion we have for ourselves, the more we have for everyone around us. We may need to let go of stubborn negative thoughts and stories which we have been telling ourselves for years. Establishing a new routine of yoga and meditation will help change our mindset and joining a conscious community will make sticking to the new routine an achievable goal. There are many yoga studios on the island including Sadhana Works, RaMa Institute and Earth Yoga to name but a few. Let’s begin the day with positive affirmations and a gratitude diary. We have the choice to write a more positive, abundant and joyful story for ourselves.

Resilient Spirit

Letting go of numbing and powerlessness

We can’t avoid struggle but we can deal with it in a healthier way. Friction brings growth so when we are in the midst of difficulty, rather than tell ourselves how unfortunate we are, let’s remind ourselves that difficult emotion is also the birthplace of all the positive emotions we need in our lives. Rather than numb the feelings with alcohol or by raiding the pantry, let’s have the courage to experience vulnerability and trust in the Universe. When we have faith in something greater than ourselves, the weight of our problems becomes more manageable.

Gratitude and Joy

Letting go of scarcity and fear of the dark

Gratitude and joy are intertwined. When we appreciate the simple things in life, they become miraculous and a source of infinite happiness. We don’t have to be in a remote finca to admire a stunning sunrise or sunset; a vivid orange sky is as beautiful in the city. We just need to put our phone downs and take notice of what’s around us. We might choose to enhance our enjoyment of Mallorca’s natural landscape by capturing it with paints, a pen and paper, or a camera. We can spread the joy by making eye contact and smiling at each other. A gratitude journal is a great way to observe and record the simple daily pleasure in our life.

Intuition and Trusting Faith

 Letting go of the need for certainty

If these past years have taught us anything, is that nothing is certain. The only thing we can control is our response to uncertainty. Rather than fear it, let’s lean into the mystery and cultivate our faith in the Universe and our inherent wisdom. Spiritual practices such as Reiki, meditation and yoga can help build up our intuition since they encourage us to listen to the whisper of our hearts. Mallorca is home to many people living wholehearted lives and many warmly invite others to join them in activities which promote spiritual awakening, such as walking meditation, moon ceremonies and energy cleansing.


Letting go of comparison

We are all creative beings though some of us may have been told otherwise. It might be that our inner creative wells need urgent filling. Find inspiration in the island’s art galleries, its artisans, and cultural events. Practice looking at things and people with curiosity rather than judgment. There is no right or wrong way to be creative, so don’t be afraid to experiment. Whether it’s making handmade Christmas decorations, penning a poem or unleashing our inner Jackson Pollock on our living room wall, being creative will release stress and make us feel happier.

Play & Rest

Letting go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self-worth

Sometimes the hardest thing in the world is to do nothing. We might find ourselves bombarded by guilt the moment we sit down to rest. Yet the most productive people are those who know how to manage their energy best. They know when to stop. Our writer in the Last Word shares how so many of us feel this pressure to optimise every minute of the day. Play time is not just for children. It’s an important part of wholehearted living because it uplifts our hearts. Let’s spend time doing something without purpose, something which makes us forget to be self-conscious. It might be dancing with our kids around the kitchen, ziplining at Jungle Park or jumping on the trampolines at Palma Jump.

Calm & Stillness

Letting go of anxiety as a lifestyle

Stillness is about opening up an inner space and gaining the time and freedom to choose how to react. A daily meditation practice is a powerful way of cultivating inner stillness. Meditation doesn’t mean focusing on nothing or trying to empty our minds. It’s about noticing the thoughts that arise, and letting go of them (over and over again), so we can remain in the present moment instead of getting caught up in the past and future. Ryan Holiday, author of Stillness is Key, advises getting up early when the world is most still, starting the day phone-free, spending time doing an activity in solitude and keeping a journal.

Meaningful Work

Letting go of self-doubt and ‘supposed to’

When we are engaged in work that we are passionate about, we thrive rather than survive. Our passion isn’t out there somewhere, it’s within us and sometimes it just takes remembering. Good questions to ask ourselves are: What makes me excited? What do I love to talk about? What medium comes most easily to me? It might be talking in public, writing or encouraging others. A spiritual practice like Kundalini yoga or empowering Focusing Therapy will help liberate us from the old thoughts or habits holding us back.

Laughter, song and dance

Letting go of being cool and ‘always in control’

A wholehearted life is not about being holy and wise. It’s about connecting with what makes us happy and letting go of what makes us feel anxious and stuck. Laughter, song and dance require us to lose control and when we do, we feel renewed. It’s hard not to smile when listening to lively music or learning a new dance. A Lindy Hop session at the Galactic Jazz Club in Santa Catalina or a salsa class at La Bodeguita del Medio might be just what we need to connect to a neglected part of ourselves. When we give up who we think we should be, and be who we are, that’s when we start to live fully, happily, wholeheartedly.

To find out more about ‘The 10 guide posts to Wholehearted Living’ read Brené Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection.

Text by Emily Benet