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Take Your Well-Being To the Next Level: 10 Easy To Do Tips

November 04, 2020   ·  
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Well-being. Until pretty recently it wasn’t really a thing, and if it was I didn’t hear about it.

Now, here we are in 2020 and everyone is talking about it. Mind you, given the kind of year 2020 has been, it’s understandable. This COVID situation is making it harder for everyone to maintain their sense of well-being.

So, what can you do about it? How can you get a sense of well-being, keep it, and improve it?

Well, the good news is, you’re about to find out. Just read on for 10 easy to follow tips to take it to the next level. And you’ll also find a list of ideas to combine them for a bit of time efficient extra impact.

But, don’t skip ahead just yet.

To get as much as possible from these tips, I’d like you to get a sense first of why balance is so important to your sense of well-being.

So, let’s start with what it is.

What Is Well-Being?

The APA Dictionary of Psychology gives the following definition:

“a state of happiness and contentment, with low levels of distress, overall good physical and mental health and outlook, or good quality of life.”

It sounds vague but that’s the point.

You are the sole judge of your well-being and what’s an excellent life for you, may be another’s idea of sheer misery.

Despite that subjectivity, your well-being is reflective of how you’re doing in 6 specific dimensions that are the same for everyone.

Cocktails

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The 6 Dimensions of Well-Being

How well you feel you’re doing in the following six dimensions, determines how you feel overall. You could call them the support pillars of your well-being.

While it may sound like these are separate things, nothing would be further from the truth.

Diamond

Photo by Daniele Levis Pelusi on Unsplash

How To Use a Wheel To Balance Your Well-Being Diamond

All 6 pillars are vital. You can think of well-being as a multifaceted diamond. Looking at one facet, you can’t help but see the others shine through. And if one dims, they all dim..

It’s hard to have an overall sense of well-being if even one feels out of balance. Just imagine a lintel across pillars of different lengths. It would probably not be level and could be unsupported in key areas.

Another way to think about it is to see the dimensions as the spokes of a wheel.

If their lengths, your levels of satisfaction with each, differ more than a bit, you’re in for one heck of a bumpy ride.

For a pleasant smooth journey, you want balance. You want all spokes, at more or less the same length.

So, how do you do it? How do you improve your well-being?

10 Tips To Improve Your Well-Being, at Work and at Home

Here’s a list of 10 things you can do to improve your well-being.

Because well-being is complex, and everything plays into each other, shoring up one pillar has positive effects on the others too, even if what you do doesn’t directly affect them.

3 young lads on a beach laughing

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1. Get Out of Your Own Head

You know what’s going on in your head. Staying with that isn’t going to change anything. Focus on other people. On your colleagues at work. On your family, friends and neighbours at home.

It’ll change your perspective — on your own life too.

What’s more, it’ll make you feel good. Because, as humans, we need to be with other people that make us feel we belong, and  invest in relationships. Reach out, be curious, tell stories, build connections. It’ll make everyone feel good, including you.

So, connect. Ask questions. Listen to the answers. Open up, yourself.

Check out conversation starters and icebreakers that you can use at work and at home.

2. Anima Sana In Corpore Sano

That’s Latin for “A sound mind in a healthy body.” It speaks to the fact that mind and body are an indivisible whole.

A good physical condition, through exercise and good nutrition, is essential for your mental and psychological condition. And vice versa, your mental and psychological condition are paramount to do what you need to do to keep your body in condition.

And there’s more.

Take the way you move, for example.

Your posture influences your mood just as much as your mood affects your posture.

Just try to feel depressed with a huge, even if fake, grin on your face. Or try to feel happy when you contort your face in a frown or walk with your head down. The quickest way to raise your confidence? Adopt a power pose for a couple of seconds.

And there’s even more.

Your gut is your “second brain.” A massive network of neurons lines it and influences your mood and well-being — both directly by sending neuro signals to your brain and indirectly by producing neurochemicals like serotonin.

So, look after your physical state. Be active. Eat well. Sleep well.

Check out ways to exercise to happiness at work (and at home) for inspiration.

 

A female lion stretching in front of a mal lion

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3. Stretch, Stretch, and Stretch Some More

Stretching is good for you.

If you’re clever, as I know you are, you stretch your body regularly. There’s nothing like a good stretch to wake up your body in the morning, or after you’ve sat down for any length of time.

Not only is it good for you — to prepare your muscles for work or relax them afterwards — it feels good too!

Your mind appreciates a stretch just as much. Perhaps even more. Because a stretched mind can never go back to its previous dimensions.

Learning new concepts and picking up new skills have lasting effects that increase your desirability as an employee and do wonders for your self-image and self-confidence.

Yes, learning can be frustrating, and there’ll be dips — usually just before a breakthrough — but overall, the effects are just too good to ignore.

So, expand your mind. Read. Learn. Practice.

For inspiration, look at a list of hobbies and various online sites for learning new skills and broadening your knowledge. Not all hobbies are crafts or arts, but they all require skills.

4. Be Selfish To Be Kind

Yes, you read that correctly. 

Be selfish. Embrace the selfishness of wanting the positive feelings that come from unconditionally giving and being kind to others. As far as you’re concerned, that the receiver gets to feel good too is merely the icing on the cake.

Joking aside, giving and being kind to others is just as much about feeling good as doing good.

And giving doesn’t mean you need to donate money. Donating your time, and giving of yourself in random acts of kindness can be much more valuable and powerful. It can make someone’s day. And yours too!

Offer to help someone learn at work. Pick up what someone dropped in the cafeteria. Hand it back with a smile. Listen attentively to a friend.

So, act with generosity in spirit. Give. Be kind. Send a smile.

A Dutch expression says: “Happiness is in the small things.” To start you off seeing opportunities for kindness everywhere, browse either or both of these lists.

 

A note, with 'Mindfulness' written on it

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5. Mindfulness Isn’t Just a Fad

Don’t worry. I’m not going woo-woo on you here. There’s no need for that.

Stripped from its religious and metaphysical connotations, mindfulness is a down-to-earth practice. It boils down to giving your full attention to and focusing all your senses on what you’re doing.

Now, guess what happens when you do that.

It puts you in a state of “flow.”

Psychologists describe it as being fully immersed in a feeling of energised focus, full involvement and enjoyment in the process of an activity.

Sounds mindful, doesn’t it?

If you’re a professional, flow is what you’re after to do deep work.

But the great thing is flow isn’t limited to work. You can experience it with any activity, even doing the dishes or sipping a cup of coffee.

What’s even better is that you can experience flow anytime you want to.

All you need to do is to focus on one outcome, one activity. In other words: do something mindfully.

Oh, and the clincher: mindfully performing your daily routines helps reduce stress!

So, be mindful. Focus on one thing. Shut out the rest. Enjoy flow.

Read this article to learn how to integrate mindfulness in your daily life without gaining yet another thing to do.

A young woman at a paint party, covered in red powder paint

Photo by Shubham Bochiwal on Unsplash

6. Rediscover Your Inner Child

Remember when you were a kid, how you used to draw, cut and paste, sing, braid, play music, paint, create paper cut-out-figure garlands, dance, etc.? Remember how much you enjoyed it? How often you smiled and laughed out loud?

Maybe we’re a lot wiser when we’re still kids, certainly on this front.

Tamlin Conner recently showed that doing something creative is a direct and straightforward way to influence your well-being positively.

“Doing creative things today predicts improvements in well-being tomorrow. Full stop.”

- Tamlin Conner (in “Doing Something Creative Can Boost Your Well-Being”)

The beauty is that you don’t have to be “a creative” — because everyone is. You just stopped doing creative things when you became “a professional” or perhaps because someone told you weren’t any good. 

Well, guess what. It doesn’t matter. Results are irrelevant. The value is in the doing.

At work too!

Icebreakers at the start of a meeting don’t just serve to get everyone “into” a discussion. They’re great to get your creative juices flowing and work on connecting as a team too. Take collaborative drawing, for example. And COVID distancing doesn’t have to stop you. There are many online tools for collaborative drawing out there.

So, get creative. Draw. Clap. Create.

Google icebreaker activities for a gazillion results to get your ideas flowing.

 

Empty office

Photo by Unknown Wong on Unsplash

7. Go Green

No, not in the environmental sense, though that’s a good thing to do as well.

Being in nature has enormous positive effects on your mood. If you take time to notice your surroundings, you’ll start seeing and hearing all the life around you, even in an urban park.

Being in nature also reduces stress and anger, and it increases your creativity in coming up with solutions.

If you can’t go out, you can get the same beneficial effect by bringing nature indoors. Put a potted plant of some flowers on your desk, for example.

Adding the colour green to a conference room, for example, with a poster, helps you come up with better solutions as well as improves everyone’s mood.

So, go green. Eat lunch in your park. Bring plants into your office. Put up a nature poster.

8. Pet a Pet

Spending time with pets, especially stroking them, has calming effects and reduces blood pressure, and people with pets generally recover more quickly from illness than those that don’t have them.

But you don’t have to get a pet yourself to get some of the benefits.

You can “borrow” one.

You can take a shelter dog for a walk, or cuddle and play with the cats there. You can babysit your neighbour’s pets, or enjoy your lunch at a petting zoo.

And at work?

Why not get a furry office mascot? Or more than one.

It may not be for everyone, and pets can be distracting, but you could consider letting people bring in their pets.

Make it clear you expect a pet to be well-behaved for their owner to keep the privilege of bringing them in. And you may want to think about what to do for people who are physically allergic — for example, have pet-free areas, and get the cleaners in a bit more often.

So, get a hairy friend. Pet it. Take care of it. Enjoy time with it.

Someone looking through their glasses at someone else

Photo by Joanna Nix-Walkup on Unsplash

9. Adjust Your Filters

Have you ever dreamed of buying a motorbike and low and behold, they suddenly appeared everywhere?

Or have you maybe entertained the idea of buying a luxury watch and it all of a sudden seemed like everyone was wearing one?

Don’t worry. It’s normal. It’s your brain alerting you to what interests you.

The information your subconscious brain receives from your senses is staggering. If it let it all through to your conscious mind, you’d experience sensory overload within milliseconds. So, your subconscious brain filters all that information and only lets a teeny, tiny part through.

When you develop an interest in red cars or luxury watches, your subconscious brain obliges by letting through what it previously filtered out.

And here’s why that’s important.

Your filtering mechanism is heavily biased to spotting danger, so you spot negatives more often and far quicker than positives.

To offset that, you need to train your brain to pay attention to positives.

The fun part is that although it can feel artificial at first, once you get a couple under your belt, they’ll seem to multiply just like the red cars.

Like Mitch (not his real name) found out.

His team started using Happiness Lab at work. At first Mitch was using it to be a good corporate citizen. Then one day he read back the comments he’d made over the past weeks and didn’t recognise himself in their tone. He decided then and there to look for positives. Like a colleague offering to help, his boss running with one of his ideas, the rain clearing just before he walked home.

It amazed him how quickly it became second nature.

So, adjust your filters. Look for the positives. Savour them. Jot them down.

 

A notebook, with someone writing tasks

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10. Life Isn’t What It Seems To Be

You’re human. You have an incredible brain. But you have to cut it some slack. Well-being wasn’t relevant as it evolved; survival was.

Unfortunately, this means your brain isn’t very good at some things.

Like accurately remembering how you felt during some event or over a more extended period. That’s why you remember events for their peak and final emotions (peak-end theory). And why you evaluate your life in terms of your circumstances, like income, health, and employment.

But the thing is that your overall sense of well-being doesn’t come from that.

It comes from how you feel from moment to moment and how you feel comes from what you do.

That’s how people can feel happy in the most challenging of circumstances.

So, what’s the solution?

Well, that’s simple. And easy.

All you need to do is start noticing what you’re experiencing when. The good and the bad. Because that’s what life is. Both good and bad. Sometimes even at the same time.

When you track how you feel and do it frequently enough — daily and certainly more than weekly — you’ll start to see patterns. And they may surprise you.

Like Cathy, who thought her mood was best on Friday nights, after work. But, when her employer adopted Happiness Lab , and she noted her mood for a week or two, she found something else. Her spirits were highest on Tuesdays and Sundays, right after Taiko drumming practice

So get the real picture. Pause. Note. Track.

How To Accelerate To the Next Level

Want to know how you can get even more out of these tips? In less time? 

You guessed it. Combine one or more of these tips.

And do them together with colleagues, friends, or family. That’ll immediately improve your social well-being as well.

Here are some ideas to get you started.

I do realise that COVID puts a spanner in the works of doing things together with colleagues and friends.

But there’s a lot you can do “alone together.” Take a leaf out of Trello’s book and get creative. For example, use your phone and video calls to go for a walk together and share your surroundings.

Fitbit

Photo by Andres Urena on Unsplash

Take Your Well-Being Into Your Own Hands

Getting and keeping a sense of well-being can be challenging at the best of times.

But you now know that it comes down to doing and appreciating the simple things in life. It still amazes me how simple things can have such tremendous effects. But they do, they really do.

The challenge lies in making the time to do them.

But you can take your well-being into your own hands and to the next level!

If you can’t get Happiness Lab into your team, get a notebook and start tracking manually. Create what you could call a FitBit for your well-being. You’ll do wonders for your mood and your outlook on life.

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Marjan Venema
Marjan Venema

Certified Content Marketing Expert, Connect with Marjan on LinkedIn

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