What Makes Us Thrive? The 5 Dimensions of Wellbeing
Our wellbeing is more than simply being happy, and it’s not limited to our physical health or wealth.
Momentary choices and experiences accumulate and shape our everyday lives. The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes emotional wellbeing as an important marker of health. Well-being also plays a pivotal role in “being present and engaged,” both at work and in our personal lives. As many of us struggle day-to-day with lifestyle challenges, such as weight management, stress reduction, career satisfaction, meaningful relationships, smoking cessation, or getting our chronic health conditions under better control, we recognize there are several areas of our life that will have to change in order for us to be successful at changing anything! The components of wellbeing are what make us thrive.
Think about unhealthy habits as “money spent” from our emotional and well-being bank account. Frequent withdraws from this account can leave us tired, stressed and on the road to a poor quality of life both at work and at home. Making small, daily deposits such as deep breathing to reduce stress, stretching, eating 5-A-Day, performing a random act of kindness builds our resiliency. Much of our satisfaction in life comes from our relationships so be sure that your life reflects family, friends, co-workers and community-pets too!
In the book, Well-Being, The Five Essential Elements of Well-Being are identified and discussed. These elements are the “currency of a life,” a universal compass that helps navigate our desire to boost our personal wellbeing. They represent five broad categories that are essential to most people. The research presented in the book discovered that these core dimensions are “universal and interconnected elements of wellbeing, or how we think about and experience our lives.” When these factors are fully realized, people thrive and so does whatever we engage in.
The 5 Essential Elements of Wellbeing:
Career Wellbeing how you occupy your time or simply liking what you do every day. Boost your career wellbeing by identifying and using your strengths every day and spend more time with a person who encourages your growth.
Social Wellbeing having strong relationships and love in your life. Boost your social wellbeing by strengthening your network of support and mix social time with physical activity or volunteering.
Financial Wellbeing effectively managing your economic life and decisions. Boost your financial wellbeing by establishing default systems that lessen burden around payments and money.
Physical Wellbeing having good health and enough energy to get things done on a daily basis. To boost your physical wellbeing try to get at least 20 minutes of physical activity each day ideally in the morning to boost your mood, establish healthy eating routines that support an active lifestyle.
Community Wellbeing the sense of engagement you have with the area where you live. To boost community wellbeing, opt in to community groups or events or tells others about your passions so they can connect you with relevant events or people with common interests.
Our health is a state of well-being in which all these components are trying to balance. Wellness is the achievement of a person’s personal best – a thriving for balance, happiness and internal control trough a positive life experience. It is unrealistic to have complete wellness all the time; no one is completely healthy or unhealthy. The more healthy behaviors you choose day to day, the greater the chance of experiencing and achieving optimal health for greater periods of time.
According to the research presented in the book, 66 percent of people are doing well in at least one of these areas; just 7 percent are thriving in all five. If we’re struggling in any one of these areas, as most of us are, it wears on our daily life and we cope with it instead of thrive. When we strengthen our wellbeing in any of these areas, we will have better days, months, and decades both at home and while at work. Components that are working together in our lives will create a stronger foundation for our overall feeling of balance.
Reference: Rath, T., & Harter, J. (2010). Wellbeing The Five Essential Elements. New York, NY: Gallop Press.
Evelyn Sikorski is Manager of EFAP and Health Management at Fletcher Allen Health Care.