well-being | wɛlˈbiːɪŋ |
the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy
The word well-being dates back to the 16th century and originates from the Italian word benessere which translates into “a harmonic state of health, of physical and spiritual forces”.
In simple terms, your well-being can be defined by the answer to the question “How are you doing?”. A simple question but to which there is often not a simple answer. In fact, our well-being is a complex combination of various factors: ranging from our emotional situation to our physical health to the environment we live in. If you achieve a high well-being this indicates that you’re happy and satisfied with your life.
Let’s have a closer look at some of the factors that influence your overall well-being.
Your emotional well-being is defined by your subjective feelings. If you feel happy, satisfied and fulfilled your emotional well-being is good. If you feel anxious, pessimistic or unsecure this can negatively influence your emotional well-being. In general, your emotional well-being is influenced by your mood, your personality but also by your values and beliefs. Having high-self esteem and being able to fulfill your dreams and desires can positively contribute to your emotional well-being.
This represents your work and financial situation. Your professional wellbeing is high if you’re feeling financially safe and if you find yourself in a healthy and stable economy which provides good employment opportunities. It’s also high if you’re satisfied with your job, if your income is sufficient to cover your expenses, if you do not have much debt and if you’re able to accumulate some savings.
Your intellectual well-being is determined by your aspirations and if you have the opportunity to fulfill them. It is high if you have various, accessible and good educational opportunities, such as access to a good and affordable educational system, training opportunities and access to educational resources such as libraries. Your intellectual well-being is also positively influenced if you live in an ecosystem that supports and encourages your intellectual aspirations and if you’re surrounded by like minded people.
Everything that has to do with your body is part of your physical well-being. This means your overall personal health, your nutrition, health care and your personal fitness. Your physical well-being naturally increases if you have access to a good healthcare system, if you are educated about and encouraged to follow a balanced nutrition and a healthy lifestyle and of course if you get enough exercise and sleep.
This is influenced by your home and the area you live in. In specific, your housing conditions, safety in your neighbourhood, infrastructure, general living quality and quality of services offered in your area. If you have affordable housing and live in a green, clean and safe area with good access to services then your environmental well-being is naturally high. It is also high if you’re living in a country with good weather and with few natural disasters.
This is determined by your relationships with family and friends, as well as your relationships with your co-workers and with the people who live in your community. Your social well-being is good if you have healthy and meaningful relationships, if you don’t feel alone or isolated, if you feel valued as a human being and have others who care for you and help you when you are in need.
Your civic well-being is determined by the state, government, political situation, policies and laws of the country you live in.
Your wellbeing is high if your country respects human rights, if it gives you freedom of expression, if there is trust in political institutions and if there is a well functioning and stable political and economic situation. It is also high if the society as a whole is healthy and you feel that your values are respected. Your wellbeing will be negatively influenced if there are signs of corruption, discrimation, violence or disrespect and if you feel that there is a mismatch between your values and the ones of the country/society you’re living in.
This is defined by a good work-life balance meaning that you have enough time, access and possibilities to pursue hobbies, meet friends and take part in other cultural or social activities. Your cultural wellbeing is high if you have enough access to entertainment or ways to destress, relax which allow you to balance out the daily routine. This can be as simple as reading a book or watching your favorite tv show, to going on vacation or participating in cultural or social activities which bring you joy.
To improve and maintain a positive well-being it is important that you balance and take care of all the different factors affecting it. So, try to analyze each factor and find ways on how you can improve your well-being in that area.