How to Achieve the Ultimate State of Wellness
Grant Ian Gamble is an international business strategy and growth consultant, best-selling mindful leadership author and speaker. He works in a broad array of industries helping companies build teams, navigate change and drive growth. He has over 35 years of experience in the health and wellness sectors.
That title should raise some red flags for you immediately.
I mean, who can predict what it would take to achieve the ultimate state of wellness for any individual?
There are commonly held beliefs, a great deal of science and a plethora of information available on the achievement of aspects of wellness, but “The Ultimate State of Wellness”? That’s a very individual and ethereal thing.
There are also a lot of claims around products, diets, lifestyles, philosophies and tools that can supposedly extend the quality and quantity of one’s life, but much of the evidence is anecdotal and at best may help some and have little to no effect on others.
Therein rests the true intention of this article: To highlight the very personal nature of wellness and reflect on some of the meaningful ways you might explore it for yourself.
I have been a member of the wellness community for over 35 years now. Graduating from flop socks and spandex in the Australian fitness industry, to building wellness campuses up and down the Atlantic Coast of the U.S.
On that journey, I have worked on wellness initiatives ranging from kids’ wellness programming through to geriatric rehabilitation efforts. As my contributions became less granular and I was able to view more population-based programming, my perspective broadened, and I’ll share some of those observations herein.
Wellness has many aspects. Fitness is certainly a part of it, but equally mental health is an incredibly important component. Nutrition is really important, but that can’t overshadow the need for stress reduction and mindfulness practices.
Zig Ziglar, an esteemed author and motivational speaker, had a great infographic I used a lot in the early days of my management career and that was the “Wheel of Life”.
This wheel illustrated seven aspects of our lives that are meant to contribute to balanced success.
Those elements were: Mental, Spiritual, Physical, Family, Financial, Personal and Career.
What I love about this concept is the balanced nature of it. As I remember Zig explaining, if you rate yourself really well on some of these spokes but not on others, your life is going to be out of balance. He had you imagine your wheel rolling down the road of life with some short spokes and some long spokes, and what a wonky ride it would be! A more literal example would be if you have a strong focus on Career, but don’t take care of your Physical or Mental health, you may not get to enjoy the benefits of the financial gains that come with career advancement.
It’s a pretty simple philosophy with significant implications.
Life coaches have adapted this wheel in many forms and the best known includes: Emotional, Intellectual, Physical, Social, Environmental, Financial, and Spiritual elements.
As much as I love all these elements and feel this is pretty comprehensive, I think it misses some components that I see as fundamental to achieving ultimate wellness for you as an individual.
Here are the elements I think need to be included in a holistic view of wellness:
- Sense of Purpose
- Strong Community
- Spiritual Center
- Emotional Balance
- Healthy Relationships
- Healthful Nutrition, Hydration and Sleep
- Cognitive Function
- Conscious Movement
- Balanced Environment
- Creative Expression and Play
- Career Satisfaction
- Financial Wellness
Zig suggested that balance is at the center of success. I believe it is equally true in the pursuit of wellness. When we place the individual spokes on our wheel of wellness, we are seeking to have each one of them be as long and strong as possible, but not to the detriment of other elements.
So here are the elements I believe go into a balanced wellness profile for anyone:
♦ Sense of Purpose
An incredibly big element of wellness is purpose. When we have purpose, or a reason for being, this can be incredibly fulfilling and healthful. Ikigai, a Japanese word that literally means reason for being, provides a way to help define this incredibly important thread in our lives. The infographic below illustrates Ikigai in a very simple and relatable way.
Ikigai, or this sense of purpose, is a central theme in the Blue Zone community of Okinawa. If you haven’t heard that term before, Blue Zone communities are regions of the
world where an above average number of people live healthier and longer lives than usual.
The term first appeared in a National Geographic cover story in 2005 by Dan Buettner and has been followed by extensive research and initiatives funded by National Geographic to explore this phenomenon.
One of the key findings of Buettner’s work, which was founded on research by Gianni Pes and Michel Poulain, was the determination that the single most important influence on the longevity of the Okinawans is community. In fact, central to every Blue Zones longevity was exactly that – community.
So it seems intuitive that we look at our community relationships, connections, affiliations and contributions when we consider our state of wellness. This is picked up in the Social element of both the Ziglar and the Wellness diagrams, but I feel it needs to be emphasized in our search for our Ultimate State of Wellness.
♦ Strong Community
This is the other side of the social component I’d like to break out and discuss independently.
In Okinawa, they use the term “Moai” to describe a community group that forms around the individual to provide support ranging from health to spiritual counseling.
The concept of Moai was originally designed to pool the village’s financial resources so if someone needed capital for a project or an emergency, or the village needed some public works completed, they had the resources to help. This concept expanded to become more of a support network, and a cultural tradition for establishing companionship.
In neighborhoods across Okinawa, friends regularly gather to gossip, share advice and experiences, support each other and even provide financial assistance when necessary. They call these groups their Moai.
Buettner determined in his research around the Blue Zones that institutions such as the Moai provide social connectedness that help reduce stress, add to people’s happiness and help community members ultimately live longer and stronger lives. Okinawans have their Moais, Sardinians meet with friends for regular happy hours and Adventists in California host weekly meals with their congregation.
Regardless of the location of the Blue Zone, community is the strongest common thread that runs through every Blue Zone Dan Buettner studied. In a recent study of social connectedness and longevity by Harvard Professor Lisa Berkman, she determined that whether it was familial, a tight-knit group of friends, through volunteerism, or some other form of regular social connection, the bond that the group shared was all that mattered in creating greater health and longevity.
When we distil the benefits of being a part of a healthy community, the benefits go well beyond longevity. People with a solid support network feel less stressed and generally happier. They are far less likely to develop chronic disease or depression. In general, having strong community ties provides significant benefits for all the participant members.
I encourage you to seek and embrace a community wherever you can. Whether it is building connections through volunteerism, through an interest group, or simply by reaching out to your neighbors, enhanced community connections bring many benefits and wellness follows.
♦ Spiritual Center
Spiritual wellness can be defined as being connected to something greater than yourself and/or having a set of beliefs, morals, principles, and values at your center that provide a sense of purpose and meaning to life. This is particularly true when we use those principles to guide our actions.
It is natural that your spiritual center will usually fluctuate throughout your life. It is also logical that many aspects of overall wellness will contribute to your spiritual wellness, e.g. practicing self-care, being positive and optimistic, volunteering, social connections, and having a sense of belonging.
By growing our spiritual wellness, we gain the power and capacity to make decisions and choices more easily; it provides a foundation during periods of change; and enhances the resilience, grace and inner peace with which we face adversity.
Having a spiritual foundation in our lives can help us heal when suffering from a physical or mental challenge.
Some measures of spiritual wellness can include having a basis for hope and a place to find comfort during the tough times, having meaning and purpose in your life, being tolerant of other people’s views, making time for personal reflection, and having guiding principles that help direct your actions and decisions.
Some of the ways to enhance your spiritual wellness include practicing meditation or yoga, praying or taking part in organized religion, taking time each day to contemplate life, journaling, spending time in nature, breathing practices and more.
Regardless of the path, finding your spiritual center is a journey and not a destination so don’t forget to stop and smell the roses along the way.
♦ Emotional Balance
Emotional wellness was defined by the Wellness Center of Vanderbilt University as “the awareness of feelings and their expression in a healthy manner with stability of mood, sense of self, positive attitude toward others, and the ability to cope with stress”.
There is no doubt that emotions have a strong influence on your mood, thoughts, attitudes, resilience, decisions and interests throughout your life.
Your sense of self and in turn your attitude toward others underpins the quality of the relationships you develop.
As we’ve explored previously, if we have healthy and positive relationships with others and a sense of community as a result of these relationships, emotional wellness usually follows.
One of the biggest components in emotional wellness is balance.
As with all things in balance, different elements counter each other and for example during times of heightened stress, having confidence that this too shall pass will help you navigate those tough times.
Also, accepting others and forgiving mistakes they may have made allows you to move forward and maintain healthy relationships. Equally, you need to accept the mistakes that litter your past and move on with a determination to learn and ultimately benefit from these mistakes.
Having a positive mental attitude can contribute greatly to your ability to find the good in people, mistakes and events that may otherwise derail your emotional wellness.
Being aware of and expressing your feelings in healthy ways also reflects your own self-confidence and can create trust in your relationships. Expressing your feelings may limit potential outbursts that come with contained emotions spilling over.
Very few people go through life with complete equanimity, but if we seek ways to positively manage our stress and maintain healthy relationships, levelling out our moods will be a healthy byproduct.
♦ Healthy Relationships
Healthy relationships underpin wellness on so many levels. This often falls under the social category on wellness wheels, but I feel it deserves its own space. Healthy relationships nurture us, complement us, grow us and challenge us, all of which is incredibly beneficial to our overall wellness.
But how do you gauge your relationships? I don’t think volume gives perspective to the wellness benefits we glean from our relationships. The introvert may treasure fewer relationships whereas the gregarious extrovert may see more friends as their happy place.
I think the measure of healthy relationships is complex, but regardless of the components, malleability is a key element that relationships demand and exercise in us. We are constantly morphing as humans based on a myriad of influences, both physical and psychological, and both parties need to adapt regularly to keep the rhythm of the relationship flowing.
Other facets of healthy relationships include communication, trust, interdependence (not codependence), respect and support of each other.
I speak to a number of these facets in my book, “The Affinity Principle”. This book is about mindful leadership, which if distilled down, is about building and nurturing healthy relationships with your team and other parties with whom you work.
In essence, maintaining healthy relationships demands flexibility and adaptability.
It demands that we are present and attentive. Maintaining strong healthy relationships is rarely seamless and does require effort, but the benefits of healthy friendships and partnerships far outweigh any efforts we make to meet in the middle.
♦ Healthful Nutrition and Hydration
Again, I am intentional in choosing the word “nutrition” over “diet” or such. What our body needs is nutrition, not diet. Yes, diet is common vernacular for what we eat, but the term diet also has a lot of negative connotations, especially for those of us who have gone on diets and failed to maintain or succeed in terms of the diet goals.
I also chose “hydration”, because we may drink a lot of fluids and yet may not be functionally hydrating our body. Drinks like coffee, tea, alcohol, and soda can have a diuretic effect on your body so even though you’re drinking fluids you may not be effectively hydrating your body, in fact in some cases you may actually be dehydrating your body.
Let’s look at nutrition first. Nutrition provides fuel for our body to move and perform its countless functions. That fuel converts to energy and even though the body needs a complex mix of vitamins, minerals, protein, fat and carbohydrates, varied and healthful nutritional choices can provide those components pretty readily.
What is deemed to be healthful nutritional choices will always raise a lot of competing opinions and thoughts, but there are a couple of simple rules of thumb to help steer you in the right direction.
1. Eat low on the food chain. This is a simple way to differentiate between food and foodlike substances. Foodlike substances have been heavily processed and contain a lot of ingredients of which many are unrecognizable to the average person reading the ingredient label.
In fact, the more ingredients a food product has, the less likely it is going to be great for your body. Food in its simplest state is more likely to be good for you than food that has a lot of additives and has gone through a lot of processing and refinement. Our bodies typically love vegetables, fruits, whole foods and foods rich in fiber. Most of us are aware of what foods are healthy and making more healthy choices over time will pay great dividends.
2. Eat a variety of foods. Diets that promote one food to lose weight are not sustainable and are unlikely to succeed. At the simplest level, your body will not get the requisite vitamins, minerals and components needed for balanced nutrition when you consume a very limited array of foods.
3. Eat smaller portions. What I mean by this is to spread your nutritional input out and avoid big meals where possible.
I believe eating too much in a sitting, especially at night, is tough on your body so I recommend eating small meals throughout the day.
4. Try and keep your input balanced against your output. Meaning, if you exercise a lot, eat more. If you don’t do a lot of exercise, eat less. Your body will seek balance and if you listen to it, you can usually feel when you’re out of balance.
5. That leads me to my last point on nutrition. Avoid the scales. Judging your state of health or wellness by the scales is fraught with peril. I suggested in the previous point to listen to your body. Too often we ignore our body’s many signals and sometimes warnings because we don’t listen to how we feel. Those are hard things to grasp when we’ve ignored our body’s many cries and too often listened to its cravings. Simple examples of listening to your body would be if you feel energetic, that’s a good sign. If you feel lethargic, that’s probably a bad sign.
Speaking of lethargy, very often we can feel lethargic when we are dehydrated.
Hydration is critical to all bodily functions and when we are well hydrated, our sleep, cognitive function and mood can all improve.
Hydration of the body is crucial for many reasons. It helps regulate our body temperature, deliver nutrients to cells, provide joint lubrication, and allows our organs to function effectively.
All these things can help improve our energy, promote healthy weight loss, improve skin tone, remove toxins from our system, and help keep us regular.
When it comes to choosing what to drink water is the stand out. Obviously water is in many drinks, but other components in those drinks, such as sugar, caffeine and alcohol can offset the hydration benefits of the water by itself.
There are also a lot of mixed opinions about sports drinks. When we dehydrate we also lose electrolytes, especially sodium.
Even though many sports drinks have sodium and other electrolytes added, they can also contain sugar, artificial colors, flavors and additives. Mineral water usually contains sodium and can be a refreshing drink as well as replace some of the sodium lost during activity. Pure coconut water is also a great alternative electrolyte drink that doesn’t contain any unwanted ingredients.
The level of your activity and many other factors influence the amount of water you need, but if you feel lethargic, have a headache, or dry mouth, then you should try drinking more water. Instead of defaulting to a cup of coffee when you’re feeling tired, maybe try a glass of water and see if you feel the difference.
Essentially, we should drink plenty of water each day, and that may constitute 8-10 glasses or so.
Your body is an incredibly powerful system that will work very well, given the right ingredients.
When you’re thoughtful about your food and water intake, you’ll notice a positive difference in many aspects of your life.
♦ Cognitive Function
I have chosen cognition over intellectual, or mental, or other possibly more recognizable terms. I’ve done this because I think “intellectual” is a term often used to refer to someone who has above average intelligence, and “mental” comes with its own set of connotations.
Whereas cognitive function covers the processes I think we should be attributing to the proper functioning of our brain, including gaining knowledge and comprehension.
Things like thinking, knowing, memory, judgment and problem solving are critical cognitive functions. Language, creativity, perception and planning are all higher-level cognitive functions that are essential in our wellness equation.
We should be treasuring and nurturing these processes by challenging and stimulating our mind constantly.
For me, reading and writing are great ways for me to improve my language and in turn express my thoughts. Just as our food choices impact our bodily functions, what we read matters, too.
Ultimately, what we feed into our mental furnace will determine the quality of the output.
Equally, when we challenge our mind with new ideas, synthesizing information and integrating this with new knowledge, our brains fire up in positive and fruitful ways. Much like our muscles, when we exercise our brain, it gets stronger.
The retention of this knowledge and learning is also critical. With memory impairment at epidemic levels, we must consciously exercise this cognitive function and give our brain the nutrients and environmental stimulation necessary to maintain optimal memory where possible, especially in our later years.
Additionally, using our senses fully to perceive information and interact with our environment are both cognitive functions.
So often, our senses become dulled and limited by lack of use.
When we consider how people with an impaired sense attune their other senses to bridge the gap, we realize the potential each sense has to provide invaluable feedback about the world around us.
One cognitive function that appears to be waning at a cataclysmic rate is that of attention, or focus.
I have struggled on some level with ADHD my entire life. When I was a kid, I was seen as full of energy and hard to contain, or inattentive.
Knowing now that I have an attention deficit, I have worked diligently to exercise focus and improve my ability to be present.
With the onslaught of attention-grabbing bites of information swirling past us at incredible rates, it is no wonder that attention deficit has risen to epidemic proportions.
Avoiding or slowing this cacophony of tantalizing tidbits is tough and so exercising our ability to focus on a conversation, a task, or even a thought process is critical. Becoming aware of this challenge was the first step for me. Exercising my attention muscle remains challenging, but fulfilling when I can minimize the number of intermissions my brain takes in any given process.
One other process I feel we need to nurture for cognitive wellness is thought.
Thought is critical to decision making, creativity, problem solving, reasoning, visioning and more. Be a thought leader in your own right. Stretch your imagination, build your problem-solving prowess, engage in cerebral ruminations and welcome discussions and debates with friends, family and colleagues as intellectual pursuits that will help all involved build their cognitive wellness.
Last, but not least, I want to touch on the strongest factor in nurturing healthy cognitive function – sleep.
Quality, rhythmic sleep is critical to rejuvenate and maintain good cognitive wellness.
I have worked with people who were incredibly sleep deprived and witnessed the debilitating effect lack of sleep can have even on highly functioning individuals.
Yet, getting good sleep has become more and more elusive for many people. Given that we often spend more time sleeping than any other single activity we need to give it due reverence.
When we sleep, we heal.
When we sleep, we rejuvenate. When we sleep, our bodies and our minds renew and rebuild. To me, good sleep is one of the non-negotiables for health and ultimate wellness. To this end, I am currently working on a blog on sleep, which dives deeper into this critical part of wellness.
♦ Conscious Movement
I choose the word “movement”, because exercise and fitness activities bring up negative connotations for many people. I’m not trying to disguise exercise, but do want to reframe it.
Our bodies are designed to move and every time we get up, sit down, go up a set of steps, or walk to the corner store, we are moving and in turn exercising.
Being conscious and taking advantage of these inherent opportunities to move during our everyday activities is hugely beneficial. The worst thing we can do for our overall wellness is to stop moving. Often, when an elderly person has an accident and for example breaks a hip, this can be a death knell for them, simply because they stop moving for an extended period of time and their body suffers.
When I began in the fitness industry, aerobic exercise was in vogue and the more you did and more intense the exercise was, the better.
Much research and learning has transpired between then and now and we now know that exercise can be beneficial in small amounts and light doses.
My strong recommendation is simply to move regularly, choose to walk where you have the choice, choose to take the steps and not the elevator, find ways to incorporate movement throughout your day and you will benefit from these small changes in how you approach movement.
If you choose to move more by finding a form of exercise to do, choose something that is as enjoyable as possible for you.
If you can’t find any form of exercise that you find palatable, then find a reason to motivate movement in spite of your reticence.
An example would be getting a dog. If you need to walk the dog multiple times a day so that it can do its business and get some exercise, this can be a formidable addition to your daily movement patterns.
A few of tips I would add to moving as much as possible:
1. Aim for some variety in the movement you choose. This is good for your body and for your mind. As they say: “Variety is the spice of life”.
2. If you’re just starting out, start out slowly. Be kind to yourself and your body by building your movement over time. Going too hard, too soon, often leads to unnecessary soreness and fatigue.
3. Try and put some movement options in your mix that are not weather dependent. This offers a better opportunity to maintain some movement during inclement weather.
4. If you like keeping score, track your movement. Whether you use an app or device to track your steps, record your miles on the bike, or simply journal your movement activities, if this helps motivate you, just do it.
5. Lastly, I really recommend finding an exercise partner, group, or option where you may add a social component to your exercise. This can also help motivate you on the tough days and may help you add to your community.
SIDE NOTE: As much as moving often is incredibly beneficial, having restful sleep is complementary to movement. In fact, moving more will improve the quality of your sleep and enjoying good sleep will benefit your desire and ability to move.
THE DONUT ECONOMICS MODEL
Source: Kate Raworth
♦ Balanced Environment
What we surround ourselves with, where we choose to live, the conditions we create or that we are ensconced in, extending from our home out to the planet at large, describes the environment in which we live.
When considering that very broad definition, I have found that the
Donut Economics Model provides a great template for reviewing and balancing human and planetary environmental factors.
Kate Raworth, the author of “Donut Economics”, describes these planetary environmental boundaries thus:
“The environmental ceiling consists of nine planetary boundaries (climate change, ocean acidification, stratospheric ozone depletion, disruption of the nitrogen and phosphorus cycles, global freshwater use, land use changes, biodiversity loss, aerosol loading in the atmosphere, and chemical pollution), as set out by Rockstrom et al, beyond which lie unacceptable environmental degradation and potential tipping points in Earth systems.”
Raworth added the human wellbeing dimensions, drawing on the United Nations’ 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) to transform our world, which are derived from internationally agreed upon minimum social standards.
Raworth’s 12 dimensions included quality food, clean water and sanitation, good health and wellbeing, quality education, gender equality, affordable and clean energy, decent work and economic development, social equity, quality housing, social network, peace and justice, and political voice.
She concluded that:
“Between social and planetary boundaries lies an environmentally safe and socially just space in which humanity can thrive.”
This seems most apt as a way to encapsulate our own sense of what a balanced environment should look like for us.
When considering our environment we obviously must start in our own backyard, but our awareness and actions must extend out to the planetary boundaries Raworth drew upon for her model.
Our environmental wellness is tenuous at best when we ignore our impact on the planet that we live on.
♦ Creative Expression and Play
One of the differentiating characteristics of humans from other species is our ability to be incredibly creative.
I believe that in order to thrive, each of us must seek an outlet for creative expression in our lives.
Many of us feel that we don’t innately possess the creative gene, but in truth we all have creativity wired into us. As humans, we are hardwired to solve problems and that in its simplest form involves creativity. From a very early age, we are curious and creative. We constantly solve the mysteries of the world around us and are not afraid of making mistakes.
Over time, this creative drive is whittled away by external forces;
fear often replaces wonder and we end up pigeonholing creativity as the domain of the artist or musician.
Yet, in its simplest form we are actually being creative every day when we choose the clothes we’re going to wear, the route we’ll take to work and even what we’ll cook for dinner. From a neuroplasticity standpoint the more we vary these things, for example our route to get to work, the more we stimulate the creative elements of our brain.
Being open to new possibilities, remaining curious about the world around us, and being willing to make mistakes and accept that they are the ultimate learning tool are all prerequisites to igniting creativity within. If we embrace these attributes, creativity and its many benefits will follow.
In the next section on Career Satisfaction, I mention Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, and the state of “Flow”. This state is a wonderful byproduct of the creative journey. Flow is achieved when we are immersed in an activity and time and distractions disappear. Most often, this state is one that is achieved when we are being creative.
Csikszentmihalyi wrote extensively about Flow and in one of his works, “Creativity: The Psychology of Discovery and Invention,” he defines creativity as,
“ . . . a central source of meaning in our lives . . . most of the things that are interesting, important, and human are the results of creativity . . . [and] when we are involved in it, we feel that we are living more fully than during the rest of life.”
This sums it up pretty well. Whether you’re tinkering in your garage fixing an old piece of equipment, molding some clay, drawing, gardening, or even building a sandcastle on the beach, when creativity is flowing, so are you.
SIDE NOTE: A few years ago, my wife, Jana, was encouraged to explore her creativity in order to help heal from a chronic pain condition. She was a creative professional, but wasn’t creatively expressing herself outside of her work. She began tinkering with paint and canvases and seeking a medium through which to express herself. The number of cast aside canvases and attempts at new creative mediums mounted and so did her creative juices.
Amazing works of art started flowing from her and we ended up building an art studio to allow her to continue to create. Now, she has commissioned works, shows in galleries, and sells (and gives away) many pieces.
But the journey was not about selling her art, it was about creativity. For her, it proved to be a very powerful healing tool. She demonstrated what I am encouraging you to do.
Be willing to make mistakes, explore without fear, play with abandon and many wonderful things will ensue.
♦ Career Satisfaction
This topic is partially included in the element of Purpose, but deserves some specific focus as it may account for a significant part of your life.
As we explored in the infographic for Ikigai,
balancing what you are good at and love doing with the ability to earn money and cover your needs is a delicate dance.
Very often, we find ourselves out of balance when we’re not making enough money to be relatively free of stress (even if we’re doing something we love), or alternately making a lot of money but with no joy attached to that pursuit.
Some people are blessed with finding their life’s purpose in a career that bears fruit, whereas others wander many paths without unraveling this mystery over the course of their lifetime.
Choosing the career path that will bring the most fulfilment for you is not easy.
Occasionally, you will meet people who always knew what they wanted to be, but more often people struggle to find that sweet spot that gives them career satisfaction and financial fulfilment.
Most importantly, know thyself. If you can make a difference doing something that you are gifted to do, or have a particular forte in, work can become easier and more fulfilling.
In my book, “The Affinity Principle,” I talk about a concept called flow.
The flow state was defined by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi as a state of complete immersion in an activity.
While in this mental state, people are completely involved and focused on what they are doing. When this occurs in our chosen career, it is an incredible gift.
You can chase the perks, status and salary, but if what you do doesn’t resonate within you, finding that Zen state of flow will likely be an elusive goal.
♦ Financial Wellness
Wellness in any realm requires balance and a holistic approach. Financial wellness is no different and as with the other elements, one size does not fit all. Wealth does not directly correlate to financial wellness. When measuring your financial wellness, you need to consider factors such as:
- Are you suffering from, or relatively free of financial stress?
- Are you making improvements to your financial wellness by saving more, reducing debt, and/or budgeting?
- Do you have, or are you building, financial knowledge that helps guide your financial behaviors?
- Do you have a financial plan to reach your desired state of financial wellness?
- What is your overall level of personal satisfaction with your current finances?
These are some simple guides you can use to review your financial wellness. Most importantly, keep your financial wellness in perspective. It is not directly proportionate to your net worth; it is directly proportionate to your overall level of personal satisfaction with your current finances.
SIDE NOTE: In studies, it has been determined that the level of happiness a person experiences elevates with income up to a certain point. Researchers have found that happiness doesn’t change much once that threshold of income has been reached. Andrew T. Jebb, the lead author on a study that defined these thresholds across the world said,
“There’s a certain point where money seems to bring no more benefits to well-being in terms of both feelings and your evaluation.”
When we focus on these fundamental elements and consciously try and advance those areas where we lack balance or struggle in our day to day, these efforts will also be rewarded in other areas of our lives.
When we move more, inevitably we tend to feel better about ourselves. Often, with movement, improved nutrition will follow. If we consciously nurture our relationships, community may build behind these enhanced connections, and so forth.
Simply taking stock and applying some of this knowing can begin to shift the momentum in our lives.
Change will come incrementally at first, and grow on these foundations of self-awareness.
When we approach this process knowing that it is a process, small changes build on each other and can create substantial positive change over time. Setbacks are inevitable, but by maintaining a positive mindset around the change you seek, momentum will grow. As you build and balance these elements, unanticipated rewards will follow.
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“Does Our Built Environment Affect Our Relationships?”
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