Occasional happy moments can happen to anyone. Happiness can be a number of short-lived states. Going further, I would say that you can be temporarily happy doing things that will hurt you and cause serious trouble in the long wrong. These are differences you must grasp to achieve well-being.
In my mind well-being is more a state of contentment and a sense of serenity and peacefulness that comes from knowing you are doing things and living in a way that is right for you. Well-being requires positive action on your part. You are choosing to live according your values. I would also add that in order to achieve this you have to mostly Live Now.
Dr. Tom Rusk lists five basic requirements for well-being. I really like these and so I’m going to share them with you:
- Fulfillment in your endeavors
- Intimacy in relationships
- Personal growth
You may personally require others, but Dr. Rusk believes those five are essential for everyone.
Fulfillment in Your Endeavors
In order to achieve fulfillment in your endeavors there are some necessary criteria. These are self-acceptance, self-respect, results, and rewards.
This is belief in your self-worth as a person independent of success or failure in particular endeavors. This is something that is accepted as a given.
This comes from the effort to achieve your endeavors. It’s a pride that comes from trying to do something worthwhile and living according to your values. I believe that self-respect also comes from challenging yourself and taking risks. Regardless of whether you succeed or fail you will respect yourself for trying.
In the end of course, producing some kind of results leads to greater fulfillment. You may not achieve results on any particular endeavor, but you will still gain self-respect (see above) and you will achieve results on some of your endeavors. You can’t be truly fulfilled if you fail at everything, and of course nobody does.
Recognition and Rewards
This one may not be as important, but you can’t escape it. It is a rare person who does not achieve a higher level of fulfillment when their achievements are recognized by others. Rewards can be in the form of money, recognition, appreciation, or often even the influence one has over others as a result of achievement. Recognition may come from getting a large following on your blog :-).
Intimacy in Relationships
In order to have intimacy you have to have self-acceptance and self-respect. You can’t truly love others unless you love yourself. To attain intimacy you must have the following attitudes; first towards yourself and then towards others.
This comes from an expansion of you abilities and experiences. Growth comes when you step outside your comfort zone and challenge yourself by taking risks. Familiarity and comfort are not conducive to growth.
When you put yourself in challenging and new situations and force yourself to grow by those experiences, you do something very important. You increase your self-respect. The fact that you faced those challenges and risks creates more respect for yourself regardless of the outcome. Thus personal growth yields fulfillment.
I’m not talking about sleep rest or body rest of any kind. I’m talking about mind rest. This means a time when you are not actively thinking, planning, rehearsing, visualizing, etc. You are awake but you are not judging or analyzing. Watching TV is not resting your mind. It’s a passive way of collecting garbage. This is especially true if you watch any news.
A great way to rest is to be present in nature. Just stand by a camp fire, the ocean waves, or lay in the middle of a forest and be present. Meditation is another fantastic way to rest your mind. You are aware but you are not thinking. You are just observing.
Mind rest is critical and it is something I struggle with. I am finding the more I do it the more peaceful and serene I become. My mood is better and yes I’m happier.
Recreation is simply play. It’s not intensely competitive play, but relaxing play. Don’t get me wrong, I like to compete, but if that’s all you do then you aren’t really playing and thus are not realizing the benefits of recreation. This one is hard to accomplish. First certain personality types in may be the hardest one of all.
If you go fishing just to enjoy fishing without worrying about the number or size of your catch then your playing. If you are competing with yourself for the “big one” you aren’t engaging in recreation. If you enjoy a good game of cards and could care less who wins or loses, then you are playing. If you are competing then you aren’t playing.
I love birds and birding. I used to keep lists and hunt for new birds to add to my list. While exciting in a way, I was losing the pure enjoyment of bird watching in pursuit of the big list. I don’t keep a list anymore.
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