We don’t ignore our well-being because we don’t consider it important. Rather, we get distracted from just how important it is. Finding balance and increasing well-being is therefore more to do with reminding yourself about its importance, and implementing daily practices that place well-being at the center of your life.
In the grind of daily life, it’s easy to get caught up in a ratrace you would find no joy in winning. The slightest bit of self-awareness is enough for most people to realize that a life spent chasing job titles, money, or retirement, is not what they really want. However, even if you know it, it is incredibly difficult to get off that track.
This is for a number of reasons. The anachronistic idea of the “American Dream” suggests that hard work and success are the loftiest goals. Our society therefore pushes us to focus on working, no matter the cost. People around us often judge us based on our job titles and monetary worth. And the stress of earning enough to provide for yourself and your family can lead you to treat making money as the most important thing in your life.
The following five tips will give you an idea of how to place the right amount of focus on your well-being.
- Outline What You Want From Life
There is no one right answer as to what constitutes a good life. Well-being can mean something entirely different from one person to the next, or one culture to the next. Only you know what makes you feel fulfilled and satisfied. But you’ll only know this once you’ve spent a good amount of time thinking about it and trying different approaches. Achieving balance takes a lot of trial and error, but if you don’t start with a target, you’ll just end up shooting in the dark. Make a calculated outline of what you think you want from life. It shouldn’t be set in stone, but at least it will be a starting point.
- Find a Like-Minded Confidante
Unless you’ve got particularly nasty enemies, just about everyone in your life has your best interests at heart. However, what they consider your best interests often don’t align with your own ideas. Parents are often worried for their children’s financial security, and place an undue amount of importance on work. Friends who are particularly ambitious in their careers might equate lack of ambition with dissatisfaction. Alternatively, friends with less ambition may equate your ambition with a lack of meaningful goals.
If you know what you want from your life, a confidante who is able to understand that will help you keep on track. They will be able to listen to you without judging your path, and help you achieve what well-being means to you.
This can be a therapist. For many, a therapist is necessary to help find the right balance. Professionals have far more experience than the average individual, after all, and are able to remain more objective than a friend can.
- Make Health a Priority
No matter what you want from life, you’ll only achieve it if you are physically well. Physical health does not constitute well-being, but without it, well-being is impossible to achieve. At the very least, you will need to cut out some of the things that increase your likelihood of illness. You don’t have to have a “perfect” body, but if you are over or underweight to the extent that it puts you in danger, it is important that you start making changes. Habits like smoking make you far more likely to experience health problems, and you should at least consider quitting or cutting down.
In addition to maintaining your basic health, keeping fit not only improves how you feel physically, but how you feel emotionally as well. Exercise is a major factor in improving mental health – this is one matter on which you won’t find a mental health professional who disagrees.
- Keep Your Friends Close
As we grow older, our friend circles inevitably become smaller. Instead of having large groups of casual acquaintances, we have a few close friends. That is not only perfectly fine, but it leads to more intimate, meaningful relationships. However, these friendships require time. Without placing importance on them, it is all too easy to drift away from friends. Having a social circle is incredibly important to well-being. The more time you put into your friendships, the healthier they will be, and the better you will feel about yourself.
- Pursue Hobbies
The word “hobby” turns some people off immediately. A lot of us were raised to believe that any time and effort put into hobbies is wasted time. If something doesn’t bring in money or contribute to our families, we consider it unimportant. But that perception falls into the distorted ideas we have of how we are “supposed” to live. The guilt is not based in fact, but in a belief that doing things we enjoy is self-indulgent or selfish.
Pursuing hobbies is a major factor in maintaining your well-being. People who place importance on things they enjoy find much more satisfaction in life. This is, of course, as long as it is not making life difficult for those who count on you. Chances are, you’ll find that there is at least some time in your busy life which can be entirely yours.