When we come across the term, “well-being”, most of us may define it in relation to being happy, to experiencing a sense of fulfilment or reaching a certain point where you feel a deep sense of life satisfaction in who you are and what you want to be. These are crucial elements of well-being, but there is so much more to it than what we perceive. Well-Being goes beyond just reaching the point of self-actualization, it’s concerned with how you reach that point, how you treat yourself and your emotions in the process, how you interact with yourself, how you interact with other people in your life, where your thoughts direct you during pleasurable as well as painful moments, and how you acknowledge and cope with those thoughts, are all aspects and ideas which are correlated with the term ‘Well-Being’. At the end of the day, we’re talking about our own well-being, which automatically directs us to think about the relationship with ourselves. Most of us try to fill our lives with more people, more opportunities, more work etc. not realizing how we’re just striving to look for ways to fill that void which is preventing us from reaching that last step, that last step where we can genuinely feel and be happy.
We live in a world where we strive to be the perfect version of ourselves, giving less importance to the idea of how striving for perfection is exhausting but striving towards the ideology where you tell yourself “okay, I’m struggling but what do I feel in this very moment and what can I do about it?”, to ask yourself questions, to dive deeper into exploring your inner world is what will help you build emotional agility transforming you into a happier person. This does not imply that you won’t feel upset, or you won’t have moments where you want to break down, it just reflects on the idea that no matter how severe your situation may be, you will be resilient and aware enough to deal with it. This is a clear indication of well-being.
Types of Well-Being:
There are several types of well-being. We may not feel like ourselves in a variety of aspects in our life or we may feel disheartened or terrified in terms of our health, whether it’s emotional or physical – well-being applies to all of them.
Social well-being merely reflects our own contribution, interaction and role in society. To do something for someone else or to offer a helping and healing hand is something which goes beyond us, it’s taking initiative to make someone else’s world better, with the right intentions. We must not confuse it for personal gratification because that’s when the problem begins. Doing something for society or for another individual is not about you, it’s about the other person. Offer help from a place of kindness, genuineness and from where you want to see change for the better.
Emotional Well-Being is a form of well-being where you feel happy, where you let yourself just be in the present moment and focus on the things you can control. It may seem and it is absolutely bizarre when people tell you to “get over it” and “be happy”, when you’re just struggling to get by the day, and it’s important to know that that’s not what emotional well-being stands for. You can’t just get over it, but what you can do is make a choice – how you choose to view your difficult emotions, how you choose to view your struggles and how much power you let them have over you is what matters. When you acknowledge certain questions, is when you will finally be able to let yourself experience happiness, let yourself be grateful for the good things in your life, diverting your attention from everything that is causing you pain.
Research states that exercising or any form of physical activity, even as simple as a walk can alleviate your mood and make you feel less prone to attaching yourself to negative thoughts. With that said, it’s important to indicate how Physical Well-Being is just as important as Emotional Well-Being, in fact your physical health and emotional health are interconnected – what you eat, your sugar levels, cholesterol, vitamin intake/deficiency etc. are all connected to your mood – e.g.: low cholesterol can lead you to be prone to feeling and experiencing a depressed mood, hopelessness, fatigue, mood swings etc. Hence, to take care of your body, is a step towards creating space for a healthier mind.
Factors that influence Well-Being:
1) Have a close knit of people you can depend on: To have a close set of friends, which can include two to three people or even one person is extremely essential for good well-being. We all struggle from time to time but to have someone each of us can turn to, can make dealing with our problems and difficult emotions a little less difficult.
2) Living life in accordance to one’s purpose: To have a purpose in life, a goal, something you want to achieve or to know who you want to be is the most important step towards well-being. Living life in monotony and confusion will not help you achieve the happiness or satisfaction you want or need, but instead to have a clear purpose in accordance to the individual you want to be and how you want to use your personality traits to make a difference in the world is what will lead you to identify your purpose directing you on a clearer path towards well-being. This does not imply that you need have it all figured out, take your time, but have enough faith in yourself.
3) Self-compassion: It focuses on being open to one’s own suffering, to not avoid or disconnect from it, and to generate the desire to alleviate one’s own suffering and heal oneself with kindness. When some of us slip, have a moment of weakness, or face failure – we tend to be extremely hard on ourselves, we blame ourselves and in most cases, we also hate ourselves for falling back into that cycle but self-compassion is not resenting yourself for the mistakes you made or the failures you faced, it’s important to be aware of that it doesn’t make you weak, it doesn’t make you worthless – it just makes you human. It’s all about being a little kinder to yourself.
4) Gratitude: Life isn’t perfect, but there are few things in life which are known to be special to each of us in different ways. There is always something to look forward to, irrespective of how big or small it may be. Maybe you didn’t get that job offer or maybe you did not get admission into the university of your choice – you still have multiple chances to try again, to be better, to work harder. You have the opportunity to take that step closer to your dream and you have those few people who believe in you along the way – to be grateful for the smaller things can lead to the bigger things and better well-being as well.
5) Healthy Diet/Exercise: Like we mentioned above, physical health is connected to well-being in an extremely drastic manner, thus it’s necessary for each of us to pay attention to our food intake as well as our daily physical activity, on a day to day basis. Healthy Body = Healthy M¬ind, Healthy Mind = Healthy Body, it’s a two-way street.
6) Get enough sleep: Sleep is a prime necessity for each of us to function on a day to day basis, productively. Sleep affects us in multiple ways – in terms of our moods, our bodies, our skin, our day-to-day schedule etc. Hence, it’s essential to allow both your body and mind to rest for a minimum of 7-8 hours if not more.
To conclude, each one of us are responsible for our own well-being and it’s important for us to embrace the little things in our lives, to take care of ourselves, to focus on the present moment and to be kinder to ourselves amidst all the difficulties and struggles we face.