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Published on December 17, 2020

5 Ways to Get Your Life Back into Balance

5 Ways to Get Your Life Back into Balance
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Life is a balancing act, and you can not escape the fact that you will always be juggling work, home, money, health, and relationships. While we doing all of this juggling we have one goal in mind—to succeed on all fronts.

Many times I have attempted to achieve this goal and have ended up paying a high price—my well-being. In these stressful times, my mental, physical, and spiritual well-being ended up depleted. My life was spinning out of control. There was no balance in my life at all, which is not a great way to live life and definitely unsustainable.

They say that you have to reach a point of desperation before you wake up to the fact that you need to make a choice—do I continue to spin out of control or do I stop spinning and get my life back into balance?

I choose to get my life back into balance. So, here are 5 simple things I did to start my journey of getting my life sorted. Follow these tips so you can get your life back into balance, too.

1. Figure Out What Living a Balanced Life Means to You

Finding balance in your life is about finding your center—the place where you can feel at peace, present, and happy. To get to this place of balance, you need to know what living a balanced life looks like for you.

In his article, How to Lead a Well Balanced Life, Gustavo Razzetti stated that:[1]

“Balance is not something we can get; it’s a state of mind. It’s the realization that life is not stable but in constant motion”.

For me, to get into the mindset of living a balanced life, I wrote down a list of all the activities that I liked doing and gave me a sense of peace, joy, and a feel-good feeling.

I then prioritized these activities to the top 5 that I would commit to maintaining in my life.

  1. Daily exercise for 60 minutes
  2. Mindfulness – 10 minutes of meditation daily
  3. Gratitude Journal – Every night, I write down 5 things I am grateful for that day (sometimes, I miss a few nights but no more than 3 nights).
  4. Don’t watch TV or go on my phone in bed.
  5. Healthy eating is a top priority – Limit my alcohol intake to 2 nights a week and my special treats (almond croissants) to one every 2nd Friday!

I knew that I had to create a more positive mindset, and these 5 activities helped me to do that.

2. Stop Trying to Multitask and Learn to Prioritize

Our brain is not wired to multitask. The more we multitask, the more stress we put on our brains. The reason we multitask is that we think multitasking is valuable and a great asset to have. However, what happens is that we end up having hundreds of thoughts rushing around at the same time and constant chatter in our minds!

This actually slows you down and instead of focusing on the “one thing” you need to do, you end up getting distracted and going from one thing to another and achieving very little. By the end of the day, you are exhausted!

Creating balance is not about cramming many things into your everyday life. It is about knowing what is important and what isn’t and figuring out how much capacity and energy you have to invest in what is important to you.

Knowing your priorities, staying focussed, and managing your time is key to you getting your life back into balance.

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3. Learn How to Say No and Release the Need to Overachieve

Being prepared to say “no” is an important step to creating balance in your life. There are many reasons why we say yes when we are overcommitted and our lives are spinning out of control.

For me, saying yes to another project or opportunity means believing that people would see that I was a high achiever and successful. I couldn’t say no because that would mean people may think I wasn’t capable or successful. Go figure that one! My life was spinning out of control, but I kept saying yes.

What I ended up doing when I said yes was promising more than I could deliver and working on projects that I really didn’t want to do. I learned that by saying no, I created the opportunity for me to work on things that I actually enjoyed doing, and as a result, ended up getting my life back with so much more energy.

Learning to say “yes” without resentment and “no” without regret is the first step to you living a balanced life.

4. Create Quiet Spaces in Your Life and Mind

When you are living a life that is out of balance, you are on speed dial. A lot is going on in your life, and you have so much to do that you feel like you are running a race that you can’t seem to win!

Your body will tell you when your life is out of control. One of the first signs is poor quality sleep. You have so much on your mind you can’t sleep, and after a while, your energy levels start to drop. Your mind feels foggy, and there seems to be clutter and chaos everywhere in your life.

If you recognize these signs, the best solution is to take action and look for ways to create space in your life where you can sit quietly and calmly and feel at peace.

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Be aware that you won’t reach this state of calmness and clarity straight away because your mind and your body are wired for chaos, clutter, and constant chatter. It is a step by step process.

Here are 3 things I did that helped me create the space I needed to be calm and at peace:

  1. I downloaded the app Calm – an app for sleep and mediation. I committed to an end of day ritual where I would take a shower, have a cup of calming tea, and then meditate using Calm.
  2. I scheduled a massage every 2 weeks for 3 months and paid ahead for all the sessions. There were no excuses for me to put off making an appointment because I was too busy and had no time. If I had to postpone, I had to reschedule straight away because I had paid for the sessions.
  3. Journaling – this is a practice that takes minimal commitment. However, the results for me had a tremendous impact. Journaling allowed me to create space in my mind and a sense of calm in my body. I was able to acknowledge what was on my mind, and this meant that my thoughts and feelings left my brain and my body, and I felt at peace.

5. Embrace a Healthy Lifestyle—Healthy Diet and Regular Exercise

A healthy diet fuels natural energy and boosts your confidence and self-esteem. Exercise releases endorphins, which are the chemicals in our body that make us feel good.

I scheduled an appointment with a nutritionist to figure out what healthy food plan would work best for me. I paid for a 2-month consultation up front, which meant that I would be less likely to stray and make excuses as to why I couldn’t stick to the program!

I have always been very active. However, since turning 50, I found that my body no longer required high-intensity training, but it needed low intensity and body strength workouts instead. I gave up my running and gym membership and took up yoga, pilates, and walking!

I am 100 percent convinced that having a healthy diet and exercise regularly are the foundations from which I can sustain living a well-balanced life.

My Thoughts on Self-Discipline

When my life starts to feel out of balance, I know that I am lacking self-discipline. I have learned that self-discipline is one of the best tools to help me get on top of things in my life. Without self-discipline, I waste time, procrastinate, and fail to follow through on things I know I should do. As a result, I feel guilty, overwhelmed, and out of sorts with myself. This is not a great place to be.

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Following these 5 steps to get my life back was key to me committing to living a well-balanced life where over time, self-discipline and procrastination no longer became a major issue for me to overcome.

Living a well-balanced life isn’t just crucial for your health, happiness, and well-being but also essential for boosting your productivity, managing stress, and living your life to your fullest potential.

So, go get your life back into balance right now!

“We can be sure that the greatest hope for maintaining equilibrium in the face of any situation rests within ourselves.” —Francis J. Braceland

More Tips to Get Your Life Back into Balance

Featured photo credit: Jakob Owens via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Liberationist: How to Lead a Well Balanced Life

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Kathryn Sandford

Career Resilience Coach passionate about supporting others to grow and thrive in a complex world.

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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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