Posted by: drdata921 | November 2, 2013

How Are You Doing on All of the Dimensions of Well-being?

If you don’t make the time to work on creating the life you want, you’re eventually going to be forced to spend a lot of time dealing with a life you don’t want.

Kevin Ngo, President of Kevcomp (an internet social media company)

The content of your character is your choice. Day by day, what you choose, what you think and what you do is who you become.

Heraclitis, Greek philosopher

If you cannot fly, drive; If you cannot drive, run; If you cannot run, walk; If you cannot walk, crawl; But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.

Martin Luther King, Civil Rights Leader

A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity through my employer, to attend a three day training course called “Corporate Athlete Training.” Those of us who attended lovingly described the experience as Mind, Body and Spirit boot camp. It was three activity packed days talking about and practicing nutrition, physical fitness, mental alertness, emotional well-being and spirituality. The course was designed to deal with all of the elements necessary for true well-being and how we can develop lasting habits to ensure that our lives will evolve in a positive direction. Pretty unusual that a large company would offer this kind of training, but it is the single best training course I have ever attended. And yes, the things that we discussed have stayed with me and still affect my daily life. How many training courses that you have attended can you say that about?

One of the key points of this training was that most people have control over what they become and what happens in their life. However, because of the daily stresses, pressures and just plain procrastination, we tend to be on autopilot. We all have our dreams. But, if you want these things to happen in your life you need to actively pursue them.

It’s sort of like the lottery. Everyone wishes that they could win, but it happens for only a few. And, the lottery is a great metaphor for life. You see, just like winning the lottery, you can cross your fingers and hope that the forces of chance smile kindly on you. Or, you can actively and aggressively go after those things that you truly want. It is your choice.

Well-being is the key to a happy and fulfilling life. However, it goes well beyond eating healthy meals or daily penance in the gym. Yes, physical health is an important part of well-being, but it is only one component. So, what should you focus on for a fulfilling and happy life:

Physical fitness: Take care of your body and it will take care of you. The way I have always looked at it is that the body is the platform on which the mind sits – healthy body = healthy mind and healthy body = happy life. So, diet is part of the equation as is daily exercise. If you are feeling weak or sick, it is hard to feel good about yourself. Eat right and exercise. It will pay dividends in terms of your lifestyle and happiness.

The Spiritual: No, I am not necessarily taking about religion although religion for some people may contribute to this. It is about finding your passion and direction in life. It is about finding something that is truly motivating and brings joy and excitement. What is the grand vision in your life? Are you taking any steps each day to move towards that vision? There are all those things that you want to do and experience. Write out a list and a plan for how you are going to do these things.

Emotional Well-Being: Are you generally upbeat in your perspective or do you tend to have a negative bend. Do you wake up in the morning with dread or do you wake up with excitement about what the new day may bring. Both can be self-fulfilling prophesies. Think that great things are about to happen, and magically they do. Think that it will be a lot of bad and that too is likely to happen with all of the associated stresses. One technique that people have recommended (and it seems to work for me) is to spend the first five minutes after you wake up to think about all of the good things that could happen today and all of the good things that are happening in your life. Think about all of the things that you have to be thankful for. Surprisingly, if you start out positive, the day is much more likely to move in that direction. I am sure that some of you will say “please, not until I have had my coffee.” But, you get the point.

Here’s another handy tip related to positive emotions. When you are driving to work, don’t listen to the news. The world is full of doom and gloom and hearing about all of those poor souls in Syria or the political battles in Washington is a downer. If you have satellite radio, find a comedy station or some upbeat music. If you listen to music sing along – the other drivers will not hear you and you will feel much better – and even if they do, so what? To laugh or sing will put you in a good mood from the very start of the day.

Mental Stimulation: What are the mental and intellectual challenges in your life? Do you have the mental challenges, things like problem solving and other activities to keep you mentally engaged. Are you looking for new things to learn and experience? It is all part of mental well-being.

So, believe it or not, well-being is a choice we all make. As Heraclitis said: “The content of your character is your choice. Day by day, what you choose, what you think and what you do is who you become.” It’s never too late to start on the positive journey. In retirement, we have the time and freedom to do just that.



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