Wednesday, 15 February 2017

How to Improve Your Wellbeing



In my last blog article I pointed out that feeling alive and full of energy comes from within, not from something outside you.  I hope you read that and took note.

Some readers wanted me to go a bit deeper.  To give some ideas you can take on board to start generating that energy and wellbeing.

There are three aspects of overall wellbeing:

1 How you feel on a daily basis
2 How satisfied you are with the quality of your life
3 How worthwhile you feel your life is

Even small improvements in each of those three areas will combine to give you a very noticeable improvement in your wellbeing.

Feeling Better on a Daily Basis


One way to make yourself feel better on a daily basis is to invest some time every day in physical exercise.

Hard physical exercise releases endorphins, which you can think of as "feel good" hormones.  The word "endorphin" come from the contraction of "endogenous morphine", or "internally created morphine".  So you could think of vigorous exercise as creating a happiness drug.  A drug which is legal and which doesn't get you hooked.

Exercise also creates a protein called "brain-derived neurotrophic factor", which by itself creates a feeling of happiness and wellbeing.  This protein also reduces anxiety and depression, and increases mental abilities.

Daily exercise is therefore a key factor in improving your wellbeing, both directly and indirectly, both in the short term and the long term.

You could join a gym and do daily exercise there, or even better find a physical activity you really enjoy and spend some time regularly practising that activity.  Maybe you will enjoy running, cycling, swimming, or even dancing.  Ideally a combination of these, as the kind of exercise in each activity is a little different and will benefit you in different ways.

Another obvious way to feel better on a daily basis is to avoid stress as much as possible.  Stress tends to be caused when you are put in a situation where you are unable to achieve whatever it is you are expected to achieve.  By all means set yourself ambitious targets, but don't allow anyone to put you in a position where you simply cannot achieve what is expected.

Finally, make sure you regularly reward yourself.  This is dual purpose.  By rewarding yourself for achieving something, you will reinforce your ability to achieve it.  For example, you should reward yourself for exercising.  But also, the reward itself should give you pleasure, and that regular extra pleasure of itself increases your wellbeing.

The Quality of Your Life


There are two clear ways to increase your wellbeing by increasing how satisfied you are with the quality of your life.

One way, obviously, is to keep improving that quality.  Conduct a full audit of your lifestyle.  If you do this properly you will find lots of areas where you can make small changes that will make quite big improvements in the quality of your life.  Make those changes one by one and feel your wellbeing and happiness improve as you do so.  Look, too, for the much greater changes that can be made.  Don't try to make those changes all at once, but identify longer term targets for improvement, and try to ensure the small steps you take each day, week, month and year move you towards the greater changes you desire rather than further away from them.

Another way is to lower the threshold of satisfaction.  Congratulate yourself and feel happy with even the very small improvements you make.  I don't mean you should not strive for big improvements.  Of course you should want to make those big improvements.  But learn to feel a sense of achievement for even very small improvements that others may not even notice.

A Worthwhile Life


Make sure you have chosen a really worthwhile purpose for your life.  In fact, not just one purpose, but many.  Find ways you can contribute to the wellbeing of the people around you - your family and your local community.  It may be that you will become more involved in volunteering and in charitable work.  The more you are involved in such activities the more worthwhile your life will appear to you.

But also you should find a target to which you can aim in your life which of itself is something that feels extremely worthwhile to you.  This could be something very ambitious that you may never reach, but that simply moving towards it is worthwhile.  Note down that end objective, then think about the different steps you could take to move towards it.  Then break those steps down into smaller steps.  Keep breaking the steps down so that you end up with steps that you can very easily achieve.  Then, as you make each step, congratulate yourself for getting closer to that great end target.  Reward yourself for getting closer (remember the importance of rewarding yourself)!

Summary


Turning your life into one filled with energy, happiness and wellbeing is not difficult.  Take small steps, working on feeling better on a daily basis, increasing your satisfaction with the quality of your life, and turning your journey through life into a more worthwhile journey.  Do this, and I can guarantee you will be have a very much happier and more fulfilled life - happier and more fulfilled than you probably ever dreamed possible!

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