While we all want to be happy as much of the time as possible, if happiness is the objective of every moment you may find yourself shockingly off balance a bit down the road. Well-being, or wellness, on the other hand, is a more grounded state that does allow for lots of happiness with an eye toward balance. I started the day wondering if I was a happiness-junkie as of late, or if I was really into well-being as a way to live. It’s tricky, but a lot of really cool research supports the idea that well-being is where it’s at in terms of creating a sound and amazing life!
It doesn’t take a lot of effort to get quick-fix happiness (that is the point of recreational drugs, right?!) but wellness can require effort, even if it is enjoyable.
I see people getting deep into lifestyles that ardently avoid confrontation, pain, real sacrifice or even responsibility to avoid pain and seek pleasure. It’s the “miracle every moment” New Agey philosophy that may actually cripple people in the long run. After all, if you are unwilling to take risks where pain is a possible outcome, how can you get anything done? In a brilliant Psychology Today article Goodbye Happiness, Hello Wellbeing, David Van Nuys explains:
” In Flourish, Seligman (Positive Psychology founder) confesses that his initial conception of positive psychology was too narrow, based primarily on the single concept of happiness. In that earlier version, happiness rested on three legs: positive emotion, engagement, and meaning. And, in that version, he saw the goal as increased life satisfaction. He states the goal of his new theory as Well-Being, by which he means increased “flourishing by increasing positive emotion, engagement, meaning, positive relationships, and accomplishment.” (emphasis mine.)
Well-being, unlike straight doses of happiness, includes positive relationships and accomplishment in its new definition. Well-being involves showing up and being present every day, increasing your actual positive nature and outlook, living with purpose, having connection to others that is positive AND getting things done. It does not include being ravishingly happy every moment, so please take the pressure off to be giddy and excited every second. Well-being is much more than that: it is true balance and, in that, it is awesome.
So, my question of the day that I asked myself and ask you now: Do you invest in your well-being or do you just seek happiness?
A few ways to invest more in your well-being:
- See if you can identify where your life is starved of engagement. THIS exercise from The Artist’s Way helps me every time!
- Tackle an obstacle looming in your life. A sense of accomplishment comes from overcoming obstacles as well as purely creating things.
- Socialize more. THIS article explains why your social life is so key to your whole life!
- Do more of what makes you feel fulfillment by giving to others. Be it volunteer work, helping friends, hosting a party or doing selfless acts for strangers, it is really important to inject more meaning and connection in your life.
And yes, of course, I’m wishing you tremendous well-being…and lots of happiness, too!
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