How You Can Create a Sense of Wellbeing

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We all seek “happiness.” It means something different for everyone. For some, it comes from a material place; you have everything you want. For others, it’s emotional with all of your needs being met. Some believe that being happy is our main goal in life, however, there’s more to life than “happiness.”

In his book Flourish, Dr. Martin Seligman discusses how the field of positive psychology has moved beyond the idea of happiness being the ultimate measurement of a satisfied life. Someone that is happy has positive emotions, are engaged and their life has meaning and purpose. A truly flourishing individual, however, also needs to exhibit at least three of the traits that indicate well-being: self-esteem, optimism, resilience, vitality, self-determination and positive relationships.

In my coaching business, I use Gallup’s WELLBEING assessment. This assessment looks at whether you’re thriving or merely surviving in five different areas: your career, social engagements, financial and health situations and community involvement. The individual qualities identified by Dr. Seligman can come into play in each of these areas. For example, many of my clients have less than thriving scores in the realms of finance and health; usually directly related to low self-esteem and optimism and a sense that they have lost the ability to determine their future. Once we uncover some new options and they start moving forward in their life by making some choices (and sometimes taking some risks) their scores start to improve.

So, what can do on your own to foster a higher sense of well-being and move towards flourishing? It comes down to the core of what coaching offers and this really isn’t any secret; you need to change the way you see the world. You’ve read this in some of my other posts and have likely seen it elsewhere: the way you perceive the world directly impacts your thoughts and emotions and those drive your behavior. If you don’t like your actions or thoughts, you need to change the way you see things. Here’s an example, you’re miserable at work. You feel like there’s no place to go, you’re not appreciated and the work is mind-numbing. This would likely reflect in your performance at work. Instead of feeling like you have no power of self-determination, look at your options. You can find a new job, start improving your skills to switch careers or, even better yet, look at your perceptions around THIS job and see if you can create something new for yourself. You always have choices; sometimes it just takes some reflection to see them clearly. As a bonus, once you start to take control of your life, your optimism and self-esteem will increase too.

If you’re curious where you stand on things like optimism, resilience and relationships, the University of Pennsylvania offers a few free assessments you can take in the form of short questionnaires. Also, if you’re interested in trying the WELLBEING assessment, you can purchase a copy here. I’d also enjoy the opportunity to talk through your results with you. You can block out some time on my calendar for a no-cost session just as a chance to get to know each other.

Photo credit: h.koppdelaney / Foter.com / CC BY-ND

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