Well-being is the health of mind, body, and spirit. It means we have the support, tools, and optimal environments we need to build, sustain, and enjoy our lives to the fullest.
It’s not always easy to prioritize ourselves, but when it comes to our well-being, it is crucial. It is the foundation we rely on to help us reach personal goals, cope in difficult situations, meet our own needs, and make valuable contributions to our families and loved ones. As the saying goes, “you can’t pour from an empty cup.”
The definition of well-being
There are many components that researchers consider essential to well-being, including:
- Physical well-being: the ability to perform physical activities and carry out social roles that are not hindered by physical limitations and experiences of bodily pain
- Emotional well-being: the ability to produce positive emotions, moods, and thoughts, and the ability to adapt to stressful situations
- Economic well-being: having basic survival needs met and the ability to feel a sense of security and satisfaction when it comes to finances and employment
- Psychological well-being: having positive relationships and connections with others and a feeling of purpose or meaning in life
- Life satisfaction: having a positive view on life, direction, and future options
- Meaningful activities and work: regular engagement in personally meaningful activities
What well-being looks like in practice
A solid sense of well-being isn’t built in an afternoon. Integrating self-care into your everyday routine is key – and its worth making a priority. Here are a few ideas to help you get started.
Spend more time outside. Twenty minutes outside a day can improve mood and increase vitamin D.
Find an activity or hobby you enjoy. Research shows that people with purposeful activity are less likely to suffer from stress, low mood, and depression.
Express your gratitude. Write a list of things for which you’re thankful. Expressing gratitude is associated with many mental and physical benefits, like improved sleep, mood, and immunity.
Learn something new. Research shows that learning new skills can boost self-confidence and self-esteem, as well as help build connections with others and a sense of purpose.
Speak to someone. Try therapy or speak with the clergy. You don’t have to be diagnosed with a mental health problem to benefit from therapy. Many people in therapy seek help for everyday concerns, such as relationship problems or job stress.
Set boundaries. Establishing boundaries is good for you and those around you. People will understand your limits and know what you’re comfortable with. Learn how to say “no.”
Set realistic expectations. Putting too much on your to-do list can cause undue stress. Look for the strengths in yourself (and in others) and start celebrating what you have accomplished rather than focusing on what you haven’t.
Think consciously when consuming information and be mindful of social media use. It can sometimes be hard to escape the “noise” of the world. Our society promotes a constant consumption of information – whether that be from news organizations, social media, or other media – which is said to increase levels of anxiety and depression. Become self-aware of how you consume media and information and create strategies to prevent yourself from becoming overwhelmed.
Speaking with your primary care provider is a great place to start when it comes to maintaining your well-being. Don’t have a provider? Find one here.
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