The heart of wellbeing

A self-help approach to recovering, sustaining and improving wellbeing
May 2010
Craig Brown Jan Alcoe

am a hypnotherapist, writer and trainer in holistic health and wellbeing. I have a longstanding interest in the mind-body connection, both through my work and through my own experience of chronic illness. I recently wrote Lifting your spirits: seven tools for coping with illness following my own treatment for cancer.As part of my journey towards wellbeing, I have just completed a companion publication The heart of well-being: seven tools for surviving and thriving, which is described in this article.
Jan Alcoe
Now retired from full time general practice, I have space and time to develop my interest in holistic care through teaching and writing. I am paying more attention to looking after myself and continues to learn how difficult it is to do in practice. I am chair of the BHMA and a trustee of the Janki Foundation for Global Healthcare.
Jan Alcoe


This article outlines the development of a book and CD called The heart of well-being: seven tools for surviving and thriving that aids individuals to maintain and improve their wellbeing – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. It describes the background to developing the resource from a healthcare training programme on values and spirituality, and provides a summary of the methodology and content with illustrative examples.

First Paragraph

We were part of a core group of healthcare professionals who developed and wrote a personal and team development programme for healthcare professionals called Values in healthcare: a spiritual approach (VIHASA).1 Since its publication in 2004, we have been facilitating work- shops for VIHASA in this country and overseas using ‘spiritual tools’ that include meditation, visualisation, reflection, appreciation, listening, creativity and play.2, 3 These tools, and the activities and CD tracks which were designed for participants, enable individuals and teams to explore personal values and resources which they can use for learning about the self and for sustaining themselves in their home and working lives. Building on this approach, Jan went on to write a booklet for patients with serious or chronic illness, called Lifting your spirits: seven tools for coping with illness4, 5 this time employing the same self-learning tools as a way of coping better with difficult treatment, pain, anxiety and the challenges which illness can bring. She has now written The heart of well-being: seven tools
for surviving and thriving6 which is described in this article. Craig has edited both publications.