By John Schinnerer, Ph.D.
Almost everyone includes fulfillment, happiness, well-being and success at the top when it comes to lifetime goals. Everyone wants well-being, but few know how to develop it.
Recently, the Gallup Organization presented results of a fantastic new study that reveals the commonalities among people who are in the top 10% of well-being, fulfillment and happiness. The study looked at individuals across the globe to eliminate any cross cultural confusion. Findings indicate that the more satisfied you are in each of these key areas, the more fulfilling your life will be. Five Secrets to Fantastic Fulfillment
- Career. To what extent do you love your work? Does your job give you the opportunity to use your strengths on a daily basis? A mere 20% of the workforce reports being happy with their job. To increase your career well-being, identify what your strengths are using a tool such as the Realise-2 or Gallup’s Strengths Finder. Then, mindfully, do a task each day which relies on one of your top strengths. Also, start to use a vocabulary of strengths (instead of weaknesses) within your workplace.
- Financial. While money doesn’t necessarily buy happiness, it does help. It is particularly helpful to eliminate the chronic stress of debt. Living debt free is helpful in increasing your financial well-being. If you are not currently debt free, make it a goal to become so. The other piece to financial well-being is the understanding that spending your money on experiences (e.g., movies, skiing, amusement park) is more satisfying than spending money on material goods (e.g., new TV, sofa, clothes, etc.).
2. Physical. You only have one body in this lifetime. Are you taking good care of yours? Studies show that individuals who exercise more than 20 minutes per day, sleep at least 7 hours per night, and eat healthy foods that are naturally colorful have higher levels of well-being.
3. Manage Your Mind. This topic is a book unto itself. However, in a nutshell, you must learn the advanced training techniques for your mind. There are over 70,000 studies that have been released in the past 10 years demonstrating scientifically proven methods to manage the mind. For example, mental well-being is a result of learning to turn down the volume on negative emotions (e.g., anxiety, sadness, anger) and turning up the volume on positive emotions (e.g., awe, curiosity, amusement, pride, interest, etc.). There is also the critical matter of learning to identify and challenge destructive thoughts (e.g., disputing catastrophic thinking) as well as ways to cultivate more frequent constructive thoughts (e.g., realistic optimism a la Martin Seligman).
4. Relationships – Think about the friends with whom you hang out. How many of them would you describe as happy and optimistic? How many of them would you describe as pessimistic, irritable or anxious? Recent studies have shown that emotions are contagious so you can ‘catch’ emotions from other people around you. What’s more, those individuals with a social network of happy folks tend to be happier themselves. Look for individuals that tend to radiate contentment and curiosity to grow your group of friends. This will improve your relational well-being.
5. Community. Who around you shares passions similar to yours? Sharing strengths and passions are a tremendously powerful way to ramp up your community well-being. This may be as simple as volunteering to clean up a beach, joining a running group, training with a team for a marathon, attending a book club or a knitting class. Spending time with people who share your passions amplify your well-being and send you into an upward spiral of positive emotions and thoughts.
The benefits of being aware of and increasing the level of your well-being are tremendous: longer life span, more success at work, improved quality of relationships at home, increased productivity and more. Take a chance. You’ll be happy you did!
About the Author
Dr. John Schinnerer holds a Ph.D. in educational psychology from U.C. Berkeley. Dr. Schinnerer has been an executive, speaker and psychologist for over 12 years. Dr. John Schinnerer is Founder of Guide To Self, a company that coaches executives to well-being and success. Dr. John Schinnerer hosted over 200 episodes of Guide To Self Radio, a daily prime time radio show, in the SF Bay Area. Dr. Schinnerer wrote the award-winning, “Guide To Self: The Beginner’s Guide To Managing Emotion and Thought,” which is available at Amazon.com. His blog, Shrunken Mind, was recently recognized as top 3 in positive psychology on the web by PostRank (http://drjohnblog.guidetoself.com) and as one of the Top 100 blogs on the web by The Daily Reviewer. Dr. Schinnerer’s areas of expertise range from positive psychology, to emotional awareness, to anger management, to executive coaching. His offices are in Danville, California.