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Last Updated on November 26, 2020

How to Use the Wheel of Life to Live the Life You Want

How to Use the Wheel of Life to Live the Life You Want

There’s always something pulling at our attention: work, kids, social media, aging parents, the list of life categories goes on. In our fast-paced society, it’s easy to lose the balance that we crave. As a result, it’s easy to neglect important areas in our lives that bring us meaning and fulfillment. This is where the Wheel of Life can help us out.

What Is the Wheel of Life?

The truth is that without learning how to mindfully monitor our daily lives, we can end up focusing all our time and energy on a single area and neglecting other important parts.

This is where the Wheel of Life can serve as a highly useful and informative resource. It helps us look at each of these different life categories and identify which areas are doing well and which areas we need to allocate more attention to.

It does this by graphically representing the different life categories as they are now, compared to how we would ideally like them to be. Then, you can identify gaps and where you need to spend your time.

Through understanding this, we can then identify what steps we need to take in order to live a life of happiness and success.

How Does the Wheel of Life Work?

Every “slice” of the Wheel of Life represents one of many life categories. Each of these categories is rated by you on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being poor and 10 being excellent.

Once you’re done rating where you feel each of the different categories are right now, you’ll be left with a diagram with a mosaic-like wheel appearance, something like a spider web. This will allow you to visualize which areas of your life you’re currently lacking in right now.

Here’s an example of the Wheel of Life[1]:

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Wheel Of Life – CodeScale

    Then, you can go around the Wheel of Life again and indicate where you would ideally like each of these categories to be. This visual representation will show you which areas of your life require the most effort and attention at this moment.

    Remember that every aspect of the Wheel of Life has an important role in your life. Your goal should be to answer the questions as honestly as possible. This will provide you with the most accurate representation for your current life.

    The Wheel of Life Categories

    No life is exactly identical to someone else’s. As such, it’s possible that different categories of living will be included in the Wheel of Life for different individuals.

    What’s important is that the categories you choose to include provide an accurate representation of the important areas of your life that will help you achieve overall life balance.

    That being said, there are some common ones:

    Health

    In this category, you aim to rate how physically and mentally healthy you are. You can ask yourself questions like:

    • How do I feel?
    • How regularly do I exercise?
    • What is my diet like?
    • Are there any changes I’d like to make to live a healthier lifestyle?

    Career

    In this Wheel of Life category, you are beginning to think about the job you’re currently working at and rating how satisfied you are with it.

    Are you happy where you are, or would you rather be working a different job, potentially in a different field? Does the career path you’re currently on bring you happiness? Can it support the lifestyle you desire?

    Personal Development

    This category on the Wheel of Life looks at how you are investing in your personal growth. Are you pursuing opportunities that open you up to new experiences? Are you eager to learn new things? What are you doing to evolve and develop into the person you hope to be one day?

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    Finances

    The financial category encourages you to reflect on whether or not your current income supports your basic needs, as well as the lifestyle you are hoping to live

    [2]. Are you going to be happy with the progression of your income over the next 5 years, or are you going to have to make changes?

    No, money is not the only thing that influences our happiness, but it’s certainly one of the key players.

    Life Enjoyment

    Here, think about what kind of activities you engage in to bring yourself life satisfaction and a sense of life enjoyment. Whether that’s sports, reading, writing, or any other hobby doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you are engaging in some things that bring you happiness on a regular basis.

    All work and no play makes for a dull day, and eventually a dull and unsatisfactory life. You can analyze your level of life enjoyment a bit more using this article.

    Societal Contribution

    This Wheel of Life category asks you to reflect on what is it that you are giving back to others. How are you giving back to the people around you or the communities that you are a part of? Do you volunteer?

    Do you help out with local sports or clubs? Are you engaged in political issues to make your community a healthier and safer place for everyone?

    Relationships

    Now you’re going to evaluate your relationships with other people, including family and friends

    . As you do this, ask yourself whether you feel these relationships are built on a good foundation or not? Do you trust the other person in the relationship? Do you each support one another?

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    Can you build on the relationship that is currently established in a positive way? Are these relationships having a positive influence on your daily life?

    Romance

    Now you’re going to ask yourself a few questions about a specific relationship, the one you have with your partner. In the Wheel of Life, this is one of our most important relationships.

    The most important question that you can ask yourself here is if you have a partner who is committed to you and who you can build an amazing relationship with. Are you supporting each other’s growth? Do your values align? Are you able to make each other laugh?

    It’s very rare to find all these things in another person, so if you find someone who checks a lot of these boxes, you’ve probably found a special someone worth keeping around.

    Reflecting on Your Results

    If you feel like you would now go and create your own Wheel of Life that you can use in order to improve your own life, then check out this Wheel of Life assessment tool.

    This is a free version of the wheel that asks you to provide your current and ideal category scores and then creates your Wheel of Life for you. It’s free and only takes a few minutes to complete.

    Once you’ve completed your Wheel of Life and accurately and honestly identified the current and ideal scores for each category, you can move forward with these insights in order to improve your life.

    You might ask yourself questions like:

    • Why do you currently have a low/high score in a given category?
    • Which categories have the largest gaps between their current position and your ideal score?
    • What can you do in order to move the category score from it’s current position to where you would ideally like it to be?
    • Which categories on your Wheel of Life are the most important to you?
    • Which categories are currently having the biggest impact on your life?
    • Are there categories that you would like to dedicate more/less attention to?

    These are all important questions that you can answer to provide yourself with useful information moving forward as you improve your life.

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    By taking a look at your entire life like this, you can also begin making connections between different areas. For example, how is your career impacting your personal development, or how are your relationships impacting your finances and life enjoyment? These are all things that the Wheel of Life allows you to consider and visualize.

    Applying the Wheel of Life to Your Life

    Remember, we are always capable of change and improvement. If you aren’t satisfied with certain categories on your Wheel of Life, or the entire wheel in general, then get motivated to make changes!

    Start to think about what plans, strategies, and steps you can begin taking in order to get where you want to be.

    Something that I know has helped many people is keeping track of their progress. Through these actions, they can begin to understand what works for them and what doesn’t. Then, over time, they can tweak how they are pursuing their goals and increase the frequency of their successes.

    Final Thoughts

    Do your best to think of your life in terms of the big picture so that you can understand how the different aspects of your life influence each other and impact the overall quality of your life. This will help you in finding balance and working on goal setting for success.

    By understanding the big picture, you can then take action towards bringing the life you’ve always wanted into reality!

    More on Living Life to the Fullest

    Featured photo credit: Jean Gerber via unsplash.com

    Reference

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    Mark Lynch

    Featured Life-Balance, & Personal Development Author

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    Published on June 11, 2021

    What Is Well-being: A Guide On How To Measure And Improve It

    What Is Well-being: A Guide On How To Measure And Improve It

    Well-being is a term often utilized in psychology literature to describe healthy individuals. It is often associated with contentment, happiness, or fulfillment. However, there is debate about what well-being really is and even how to spell it.[1] With so much confusion around the definition, individuals are often left to wonder what well-being is and how to achieve it.

    This article will unlock the answers to three questions:

    • What is well-being?
    • How is it measured?
    • How is it improved?

    What Is Well-Being?

    Well-being includes a combination of feeling states and lifestyle factors. Feeling states associated with it may include happiness and contentment. Lifestyle factors may include feelings of fulfillment, achieving one’s potential, having some control in life, and engaging in meaningful relationships. Well-being is also associated with positive mental health.[2] In simpler terms, It is a construct used to describe many facets of life including psychological, physical, and social health. Synonyms for it include happiness, health, positive feelings, welfare, and wellness.[3]

    It may also be defined as a state of balance or homeostasis. This balance is achieved by having enough resources to cope with life’s challenges.[4] Both challenges and resources may be prevalent in three areas: physical, psychological, and social.

    When there is an abundance of challenges and inadequate resources, well-being is lost. However, humans are designed to work towards achieving a state of balance. Well-being is linked to interpersonal, professional, and personal success. It often results in greater productivity at work, increased learning and creativity, prosocial behavior, and fulfilling relationships.[5]

    Why is well-being difficult to define? Likely because it encompasses a variety of life experiences and feeling states that may vary among individuals. To help individuals assess themselves, several measures have been created.

    How Is Well-Being Measured?

    Researchers need to agree on a standardized definition of well-being to accurately measure it. An adequate measure must therefore encompass every facet of well-being, including as a feeling state as well as a lifestyle. In other words, an effective measurement takes both life satisfaction and functioning into account.

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    Well-being can be broken down further into two categories: objective and subjective.

    Objective Well-Being

    Objective well-being looks at standards of living. This is useful for research looking at cultures, countries, or groups of people. It includes measuring education, income, safety, and life expectancy.[6]

    The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the United National Development Programme, and the Italian Statistics Bureau have identified six areas for study related to objective well-being:

    1. Health
    2. Job opportunities
    3. Socioeconomic development
    4. Politics
    5. Safety
    6. Environment

    Subjective Well-Being

    Subjective well-being includes an emotional and mental assessment of an individual’s life. Two prominent subjective measures are life satisfaction and happiness. Measuring subjective well-being is useful for predicting mental health patterns.[7] It is determined intrinsically by the individual. Regardless of how their life might be perceived by others on the outside, this measures how individuals feel on the inside.

    Subjective well-being can be broken down further into two categories: hedonic and contentment. The hedonic component relates to feelings, emotions, and moods. The contentment component relates to thoughts and whether an individual feels their life has been fulfilling. Individuals often measure their thoughts and life fulfillment against social and cultural backgrounds.

    In other words, it is important to consider the context in which an individual lives. Individuals may perceive their lives differently based on social and cultural expectations. Furthermore, individuals cannot be measured without taking their environment into consideration.

    In 2013, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development determined subjective well-being to be an important factor in assessing well-being. Because it is perceived by the individual, it is often assessed by self-report measures. In other words, individuals rate their own level of well-being through psychological tests.[8]

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    There are five areas associated with subjective well-being:

    1. Genetic factors
    2. Basic and psychological needs
    3. Social environment
    4. Economics and income
    5. Political environment

    How to Improve Well-Being

    There are many ways that individuals can improve their sense of well-being. It is a complex construct with a variety of factors at play. Therefore, there is no one, perfect solution for it. Instead, the goal should be to engage in a holistic approach the incorporates a variety of factors.

    The following methods are not comprehensive. What works well for one individual may not be the right approach for others. Instead, these approaches should be considered suggestions for improving well-being.

    Individuals looking for a truly comprehensive assessment of well-being should consider scheduling an appointment with a psychologist, therapist, or medical doctor. These individuals may also provide resources, prescribe medication, or share tips for making lifestyle changes to assist in overall improvement.

    1. Spend Time in Nature

    There is evidence to support the claim that interactions with nature increase well-being. This includes an increase in positive emotions, happiness, and subjective well-being. Time spent in nature is also linked with an increased sense of meaning and purpose in life as well as the ability to manage challenges in life.[9]

    One study found that spending at least 120 minutes in nature each week was associated with greater health. In the study, it did not matter if that time was spent all at once or stretched out over the course of a week. Peak gains in well-being occurred between 200 and 300 minutes of nature time, weekly.[10]

    2. Practice Gratitude

    Individuals who experience gratitude as a trait experience increased well-being. Trait gratitude refers to the willingness to see the unearned value in one’s experience. State gratitude is a feeling that occurs after individuals experience an act of kindness and, therefore, feel motivated to reciprocate.

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    One study assessed state gratitude, during Covid-19 in China. Individuals were instructed to journal while practicing gratitude for 14-days, which included a one-month follow-up. The study found that gratitude practiced in a natural setting during times of increased stress and anxiety resulted in increased positive feelings and increased life satisfaction. However, increased life satisfaction was not sustained after one month.[11]

    As a result of the aforementioned study, there is evidence to support a daily practice of journaling and gratitude for increased well-being. Individuals should practice both trait and state gratitude, whenever possible. Over time, these practices will become a habit and lead to lasting improvement.

    3. Develop Increased Awareness

    Increased awareness is associated with improvements in positive subjective experience, increased self-regulation and goal-directed behavior, and successful interactions with others.

    Increased awareness can be attained through meta-awareness. Meta-awareness is the ability to consciously notice an emotion, thought, or sensory experience. It is a skill that can be taught. Mindfulness-based meditation and psychotherapy are two ways in which meta-awareness is learned. Kindness and compassion meditations are both linked with improved well-being. Both Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) may help increase awareness.[12]

    4. Achieve Work-Life Balance

    An individual’s workplace has the potential to either help or harm them. Workplace factors that negatively impact well-being include:

    • Work-related pressure or demands
    • Lack of autonomy or flexibility
    • Poor coworker and supervisor relationships
    • Shift work
    • Longer workday length

    Employers can directly improve their workers’ well-being by providing paid leave, opportunities for salary growth, support for individuals with disabilities or those returning after injury, and access to health care. Improvements in the work environment and job structure may also be helpful.[13]

    Worker well-being is beneficial both for workers and their employers. It is associated with improvements in:

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    • Performance at work
    • Coping with stress and self-regulation
    • Satisfying relationships, prosocial communication, and cooperation
    • Immune system functioning
    • And physical and psychological health

    Workplace well-being is also associated with a decrease in burnout, stress, and sleep-related issues.[14]

    5. Seek Out Positive Relationships

    Individuals with caring and positive connections often rank higher in well-being. On the flip side, poor social relationships can be more damaging than excessive drinking and smoking. Positive social relationships also help to protect against mental disorders, such as depression and anxiety.

    Prosocial behaviors are important for forming social connections that lead to increased well-being. Appreciation and gratitude are both pro-social traits. For example, focusing on the positive qualities and actions of others. Empathy for others also contributes to higher levels of well-being. Lastly, generosity is also a strong predictor of life satisfaction.[15]

    6. Stay Hopeful

    Hope is a concept often related to spiritual and religious traditions. However, it entered the world of psychology around the 20th century. It is now an important construct in positive psychology. Hope can be defined broadly as the belief that things can get better, and that goals are achievable.

    Hope is associated with an increase in:

    • Emotional adjustment
    • Positive feelings
    • Life satisfaction and quality of life
    • Social support
    • A sense of purpose

    Takeaways

    Well-being is a construct that is hard to define, yet widely cited in psychological literature. It is linked with feelings of happiness and contentment. It might also be described as a sense of purpose or satisfaction with life.

    To accurately measure it, there needs to be an agreed-upon definition. In general, it has been separated into objective and subjective categories. Objective well-being considers social and cultural constructs. Subjective well-being refers to the individual’s felt sense and internal assessment of their own.

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    There are several things that individuals can do to improve their well-being. However, no one thing will improve everything. Rather, this requires a holistic practice of mental and physical health. Nevertheless, individuals who spend time in nature, develop positive connections, practice gratitude, stay hopeful, and develop awareness have a greater chance of experiencing better well-being.

    More Tips For Your Well-Being

    Featured photo credit: Mor Shani via unsplash.com

    Reference

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