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Last Updated on November 26, 2020

3 Unique Ways To Enjoy The Present Moment

3 Unique Ways To Enjoy The Present Moment

When you’re sick you only have one concern: feel better now.

When you feel unhappy with your current situation, you dream of a better future or think of about how you screwed it up last time you were happy.

When you’re happy it’s easier to enjoy the moment and even joke about your past mess ups and have a fun time planning the future. But none of it deters your happiness in the present moment.

So that leaves you with two options for how to be present: get really sick or be happy.

I like to be happy, so I choose the latter.

Over the course of my battles with depression and severe anxiety (the type of anxiety where you throw up every time you are talking on the phone) I have come across a few techniques and stories which help me to enjoy the present moment.

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1. Understand that the glass is already broken.

I read a story once about a man who went to India in search for his truth, whatever that is. He wanted answers. He stumbled upon a teacher and over the course of his time there, he grew amazed at how content this man was. The teacher cared about and respected everything and everybody.

Curious as to how this teacher moulded into this standard of thought and, as some would say, enlightenment, he asked, “How are you so content every moment?”

The teacher looked down and pointed to his glass of water.

“This cup is already broken,” he said. “If I knock it over and it breaks, I simply say, ‘of course.’”

“One day this cup holding my water will not be a cup anymore. It is already broken and, because it is broken, I cherish each moment I have with the cup.”

Everything ends. Everything.

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Understanding that makes you grateful for the moment you currently experience. People die, this article will one day vanish from existence, and this planet we live on will be gone too. It all ends. I don’t say this to be a downer; I say this to spread the message of being grateful and cherishing every moment you have while you are alive.

2. A quick blast of meditation does wonders.

I’ve tried everything. Hour long meditations, chanting meditations, location-specific meditations, waking up at an ungodly hour meditations, all of it. Nothing stuck for me.

I felt like a failure. I always worried I wasn’t doing it right. I would get upset if I spent most of the meditation thinking about stuff and not being “mindless.” It sucked. I sucked.

Then, five months ago, I found a ten minute meditation that has worked like magic.

I have a nice piece of classical music I enjoy playing through my headphones as I sit crossed legged with my back against a wall. I listen and simply focus on my in-breath.

I don’t know why this is the one that has worked the best for me, but it has.

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After the ten minutes are up I feel good; I feel focused. It tends to bring me back to the present in a nice, calming fashion. I am very relaxed after this little meditation.

Maybe it can work for you too.

3. Perspective is life’s greatest snake oil salesman.

Is that true? I don’t know. I’m honestly just impressed I came up with that heading.

Perspective guides us a in couple of ways. It preaches that things can always be worse. That’s the popular way to approach perspective.

But things can always be better too. At least, we think they can be. We don’t really know.

We think we know. More money, different job, nicer weather, newer phone, better friends—all of it sounds better in your current state of mind, but would it all really be better?

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I know very rich people who are not happy. They can have everything they want, but they’ve become so obsessive over their image, they can’t fully enjoy anything.

Over the course of the last decade, I’ve had well over a dozen different jobs, all of which I liked for three months until I got bored and started looking for a “happier” path.

I live on Vancouver Island, the prettiest area in Canada, but, the other night, I sincerely missed the gigantic thunderstorms I used to see living in the Prairies.

It can always be worse and it can always be better, depending on how we choose to absorb what perspective is to us.

Tell perspective to stop selling you on worse or better for awhile and try to enjoy what you have. Enjoying your reality is far more powerful than enjoying a dream you wish to hopefully come true.

Featured photo credit: Casey Callahan via unsplash.com

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More by this author

Daniel CJ Grant

Daniel is the author of "Notes from a Failure". He writes about failure and success.

6 Ways to Be a Successful Risk Taker and Take More Chances 3 Unique Ways To Enjoy The Present Moment Notes From A Failure: 5 Unusual Ways To Handle Failure 9 Lessons I’ve Learned Overcoming Depression That Can Help Anybody Succeed In Anything 10 Vintage Things You Can Do Right Now to Be Awesome

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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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