Wellbeing is a word that gets tossed around a lot. We hear it at work and in commercials. We read about it online and in magazines … but what does it really mean … and why should you care?

Wellbeing’s true meaning: one size does not fit all

According to the Oxford Dictionary, wellbeing is defined as the state of being comfortable, healthy, and happy. It’s a multidimensional concept that incorporates much more than physical health – it encompasses mind, body, and spirit.

What it means to be comfortable, healthy, and happy is different for everyone because wellbeing is based on beliefs, thoughts, and feelings that are rooted in past experiences, individual attitudes, and personal choices.

The pursuit of wellbeing: all in

Having a strong sense of wellbeing can help you overcome difficulties and help achieve your goals in life. Wellbeing is holistic – so you must tend to all aspects of life to increase your wellbeing.

Enhancing your wellbeing isn’t always easy, but it is always worth it. Martin Seligman’s PERMA model of happiness can help explain the elements that contribute to our happiness, and in turn, wellbeing. By breaking PERMA down into smaller, more manageable pieces, you can identify how you’re doing and where to improve wellbeing:

Positive emotion. Positivity is more than just smiling all the time; it’s about having an optimistic outlook on life to help overcome difficulties.

  1. What was one good thing that came out of today?
  2. What was one thing that gave me pleasure and enjoyment today?
  3. What is one thing I am optimistic for tomorrow?

Engagement. Find something that helps you to be “in the moment” and enables time to “fly by.” These types of activities flood our brains with happy hormones and helps to enhance our intelligence, skill, and emotional capabilities.

  1. What was one thing I did today that grabbed my attention and gave me true joy?
  2. What was one thing I did today that was just for me?
  3. What is one thing I plan to do tomorrow that will take my full attention and let time “fly by?”

Relationships. Humans are social animals who need connection with others. Isolation can be harmful physically and emotionally. Positive relationships with others can bring great joy, a sense of safety and value, and provide support when times get difficult.

  1. Was I truly able to connect with someone today?
  2. Did I take part in a positive interaction with one someone I care for today?
  3. Who is someone I can reach out to tomorrow who I haven’t spoken to in a while?

Meaning. Having meaning and purpose in life is key to driving us towards fulfilment. Everyone has their own source of purpose – it could be your position in your family, what you do for work, or your spirituality. Understanding what you do and how it impacts yourself and the world can help you define your purpose in life.

  1. Did I do something that gave me a sense of fulfilment today?
  2. Did I contribute to my family, community, workplace, or faith in a meaningful way today?
  3. What is something I can plan to do tomorrow that I am passionate about?

Accomplishments. Having realistic goals that can be achieved helps provide a sense of accomplishment. Chipping away at these goals gives you a sense of satisfaction, and when you finally achieve the end goal, a sense of pride and fulfillment.

  1. Did I work towards my long-term goal(s) today?
  2. Was there something I accomplished today that brought me pride, fulfillment, or satisfaction?
  3. How can I work towards my long-term goal(s) tomorrow?

Caring for your wellbeing every day

Where do you go from here? Reflect on each of the five sets of questions at the end of each day. Committing to your wellbeing isn’t always easy, but it is can help you become your best.

Looking at these five areas and integrating as many as possible (positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishments) consistently can help you overcome life’s challenges and will nurture your wellbeing. Remember, your wellbeing is about you!