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Last Updated on November 26, 2020

How the 5 Pillars of Life Help You Achieve Balance in Life

How the 5 Pillars of Life Help You Achieve Balance in Life
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Have you recently had the chance to pause, take a look at where you are in life, and consider your current aspirations or values? Everyone has different priorities and milestones they want to accomplish. We call these goals our pillars of life.

When imagining a pillar, you might picture structures that hold up a house or make up a grand entryway for a building. The pillars of life can be thought of similarly. They are foundations that exist to guide us and give us stability. If you feel uncertain about the future, consider striving to build 5 pillars of life: career, money, love, purpose, and enthusiasm.

Through these tangible coaching tips, you will be able to strengthen your pillars and achieve more balance in life.

1. Define Your Career Goals

Maybe you take pride in having worked for the same company for twenty years, or perhaps you finally followed your heart and started your own nonprofit. Having a career does simply mean committing yourself to a nine to five job. It could be contributing to any organization, as an employee, volunteer, or owner. It is all about taking our desire to learn and making an impact. We do this by giving energy to the business side of ourselves, utilizing our troubleshooting skills, and defining our work ethic.

Everyone has slivers of a career in their daily lives. Stay-at-home parents are in charge of the bills for the house, a college student might volunteer on the weekends, and a restaurant employee could be working to become a manager one day.

If this pillar is not as strong as you desire or you are looking to switch gears in life, consider going back to school. It is never too late to earn new credentials or certifications, even online. If you feel like you have lost your compass when it comes to your career, take a survey or personality test that will help determine what profession best suits you.

For example, donating time or resources to a cause you care about may lead to discovering a gift for fundraising or communicating with people. From there, the opportunity for a career change might grow. If you are currently an administrative assistant but aspire to move into management, try shadowing your boss to learn how they became a leader.

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Once you define your career goals, you will feel more clarity and balance in pursuing your aspirations.

2. Allow Money to Work for You

Becoming a millionaire does not have to be a goal, but money is an important pillar in life. It pays for the essentials and allows us to achieve milestones, such as buying our first home, saving for retirement, or taking a dream trip.

Money also helps us provide for our kids, pets, and ourselves in whatever way we desire. Consider what your financial needs are for you to feel comfortable in life. How much money you need or what you do with it is up for interpretation. You might want to live a frugal lifestyle and only spend on necessities, or maybe you spend money the minute you get it. Either way, there is value in respecting money because you will find good things come your way when you are deliberate with your funds.

If you stash away five dollars into a piggy bank every month, one day you will be thankful when your savings amounts to hundreds or thousands of dollars. You could also look into the retirement plans available at your place of employment. See if they have incentives that make you want to save more, which will give you peace of mind for the future.

Some people work an extra job on the weekends because they enjoy having added spending money for fancy dinners or they are saving up to start their own business. If you are a parent, consider teaching your kids the significance of money, which encourages them to work harder to earn things they desire. Money not only allows us to achieve our goals, but it also motivates us to be proactive.

When you define what your money pillar looks like, you have an anchor to hold on to that keeps your financial life balanced. You will discover that when you value money, it will grow and work for you.

3. Discover Variations of Love

We all have that desire to nurture and bond with someone or something. Loving and being loved by family, a significant other, a friend, or a four-legged buddy is a warm feeling that we all appreciate.

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Love comes in many forms, and you can decide what kind you want to work on or pursue. The type of love you desire might be unconditional, passionate, camaraderie, or nurturing.

When you think of the unconditional love in your life, ponder what characteristics make up these relationships. If you have ever gotten into a heated argument with a family member one night then greeted them in the morning as if nothing happened, you are familiar with unconditional devotion. It involves being forgiving, taking the high road, and realizing that you would rather see the other person happy than be right.

Passionate love could be allowing yourself to cultivate activities you are zealous about. Perhaps you have a passion for cooking, and making dinner for friends and family is your way of expressing this kind of love.

Camaraderie involves an exchange that is enriching and builds each other up. Simply asking a friend how they are doing can build companionship.

Finally, there is nurturing, which is focused on growing and caring. To nurture and be nurtured improves our lives and makes the journey richer. You can nurture a child, pet, friendship, or an organization that is meaningful to you.

The qualities you value in relationships and the type of affection you want to give and receive is completely up to you. Relationship goals can be achieved in many ways, like signing up for a dating app. While you may be skeptical, being vulnerable and putting yourself out there may lead to finding the love of your life. You might reach out to old friends and discover the chapter you thought was over is actually wide open again.

Setting up a weekly lunch date with your mom is another important way to show love. Our parents are not here forever, and taking the time to get to know details about their life is priceless. Even spending more time with your pet can fill you with warmth. Pets look at us like we are celebrities, and all they want is a tummy scratch, treat, and to play, so show them as much affection as possible.

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When you invest time in people and love, you will feel more confident and connected in life.

4. Tap Into Your Purpose by Leaving Your Mark

Another key to achieving balance in life is having a purpose or a sense of intention. Having a sense of purpose is key to establishing sturdy pillars of life. This does not just mean attaining a specific career or financial goal—it can be having an idea of the type of mark you want to leave on the world.

This aspect of purpose comes in micro and macro levels. On a small scale, you might find that your purpose is to treat people with kindness or be a team player. On a larger level, your purpose could be living out your ideal vocation, whether it means being a teacher, parent, writer, or entrepreneur. You may vow to do one selfless act every day or strive to be the first person in the family to own their own business.

Considering how you want your friends and family to remember you is a vital aspect of what purpose means. Maybe you want to be known as someone who always has a smile on their face or as the go-to person people count on. If so, this means your life purpose is bringing cheer to people and being a giving friend.

The beauty of having a purpose is that it can shift. The goal you are focusing on now might be completely different from your goal in five years. Perhaps your current purpose is getting your dream job and buying your parents a new home. Later in life, your purpose might be volunteering once retired.

No matter what, when you have the motivation to get out of bed every day, it is easier to feel stable and maintain a clear direction in life.

5. Find Your Enthusiasm

Life can become mundane if we do not have activities or hobbies that spark enthusiasm within us. Try picturing a vintage car versus a new, shiny one. Some people love the charm and history of the old one, while others appreciate the high-tech aspects of the new one.

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Both of these people have an enthusiasm for life, just different perspectives. So, now is the time to figure out what excites your spirit. Enthusiasm is an important pillar of life.

Are you someone who cherishes memories and creates detailed scrapbooks for your family? Or are you a cheerleader for people and work to help others achieve their dreams? By journaling and discovering what others admire about you, you begin to see what is possible and define the direction and story of your life.

While not everything we experience is exciting, it is invigorating to feel a sense of personal growth. Even arriving at a place where you no longer feel it necessary to live up to someone else’s standards is a big leap.

As you mature, you experience the wear and tear of life, but throughout it all, you can focus your enthusiasm on different activities and hobbies. When you are going through a difficult time or feeling uneasy, putting energy into spirituality or passions will make you feel more calm and centered.

Final Thoughts

The pillars of life allow us to achieve balance by giving us anchors to grasp when the waves of life rock the boat. These pillars can be continually developed and strengthened. A table won’t function properly when one leg is three feet tall while the others are six. The goal is to create sturdy pillars and a solid foundation.

Also, pillars evolve as our circumstances do. You can value the vibrancy of new pillars while respecting the older ones. Keep in mind that you are on a unique journey, so your pillars might look different than your best friend’s.

Remember that we are all supporting each other. As you strive to construct your pillars, learn from people who have built theirs. It may take a lifetime to perfect your pillars, but the act of creating a path you desire will give you newfound clarity and confidence.

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More Tips to Improve Your Pillars of Life

Featured photo credit: Patrick Schneider via unsplash.com

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Nancy Solari

Nancy Solari is an accomplished CEO, life coach, and motivational speaker.

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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
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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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