I recently met an old friend and complimented him on his good looks. He looked great – healthy, happy and comfortable in life – and it was as if he was taking care of himself.
radiates well-being physically…. But it was much more than that. He had an air of balance and thought around him, and that was clearly a hard-earned one. His work has been going well and he has recently been promoted. He had healthier and better boundaries about his work than ever before and was focused on enjoying his life too. His thinking and communication were clear and honest, and he was shooting all cylinders with a lot of empathy for others in the world around him. It was in the form of a bird. He passed on the story of another friend he met midway through the COVID lockdowns. I praised him likewise. His response was: “Yes, I decided that.”
Well-being does not happen by itself. It requires consistent effort. In an increasingly complex world – with more options and possibilities but also with more struggles and uncertainties that are inherently stressful, it’s important to keep them first in mind if you want to make it happen. When we feel stressed, everything is affected including our relationships and habits.
We have a greater tendency to rely on or fall into negative coping resources unless we make a special effort not to. Negative coping patterns can vary in nature and degree. We can enjoy watching TV to ‘relax’ or ‘get out of the zone’. Or we can drink alcohol to “relax” because we’ve lost the ability to naturally slow the mind down through meditation or otherwise. Or we can eat junk food or sugar for convenience. You will know your own patterns.
On average, we live longer but not necessarily a better quality of life. Studies show that, on average, men spend 16 years in poor health while women spend 19 years.
There is a lot of health-related information available and some of it is contradictory. It’s easy to get confused or disoriented. This gives many of us an excuse not to try, to give up, or to put off. Wellbeing is a big topic with a lot of areas that can add to the confusion. We have physical and mental health. Our social, emotional, financial, creative, spiritual, digital and environmental well-being are also factors. Well-being at work is an increasing priority. If one of the areas of your life is out of balance, it is enough to buckle the wheel of well-being. Although various studies show negative trends in terms of well-being – it doesn’t have to be.
Part of the well-being challenge – like so many others – is that although the problem of well-being is universal, the solution is personal – personal to you, your family, the company, the team you work for, etc. There is no one size fits all. Just as personalities, goals, schedules, and priorities differ, so do our solutions to well-being. It takes effort to find the right formula for you, your family, your team, and your organization. Simply put, it is unrealistic to think that we will complete our well-being upon hearing a new idea or recommendation once or even many times.
The answer is to be persistent, through regular education, awareness building and action. It takes time and trial and error to find the right formula. But just as those who have finally quit smoking learn or achieve anything great in life, the more likely you are to be successful the more effort you put in.