Defining wellbeing is hard, which is one of the reasons it’s so tricky to explain, let alone achieve, but I think I’ve finally figured it out. It’s the absence of these two things:
I spent a very, very long time making these two phrases the essence of everything I thought.
Whether it was something as simple as a tub of Super-Duper-Fudge-Chunk, or as complex as a meaningful relationship, I’d constantly be trying to tick off items on my ever-growing list of “needs” and desires.
I can say for certain now: basing your life on a list of things you think you want or need won’t bring you long-term happiness.
When you’re constantly seeking something, you’re putting yourself in a state in which you feel as though you’re lacking, and you’re not perfect as you are. That’s wrong. You’re already amazing.
That’s not to say that self-improvement is a bad thing. Spending quality time with your body and improving your health (both physically and mentally), is a surefire way to keep that happiness growing.
But basing your idea of what’s good about your life on extrinsic factors won’t bring you the sort of positivity that will help you to achieve true wellbeing.
With that in mind, though, where do you start?
Let Go of Quick Fixes
We fill so many gaps in our happiness with things that don’t actually help. Cigarettes, for instance--I can’t even count the number of times I’d assume a quick smoke would improve my mood before I quit.
It never did.
There’s nothing wrong with the occasional treat – giving yourself a little unadulterated pleasure once in a while is healthy, and it’s good. But when you’re constantly trying to fill what’s missing with food, drink, or other things money can buy, you’ll find you’re only pushing yourself further from wellness.
Wellbeing is like classic beauty: It never goes out of fashion. Make the decision to step off the commercial conveyor belt, listen to yourself, and take control of what you really want.
Take time to think about what’s fundamentally important to you. Friends, family, and your health should make your list. A nicer apartment, or a better car really shouldn’t.
It’s okay to want to achieve things in life--but material things should always be secondary. Surround yourself with with individuals who add value to your life and with whom you can be yourself.
To take a long-term view, knowing what you’ll look back on and be proud of when you’re old and gray will help you to prioritize what you should be focusing on now.
Stop Waiting and Start Doing
It’s a cliche, but happiness comes when you least expect it.
If you’re investing all your time and energy into ticking things off a list, you’re likely to miss out on the opportunities that could make all the difference to your life.
Put down the list, and get out there – give yourself new experiences and be open to changes that don’t necessarily fit in with your plans. Chances are, they’re where happiness really is.
You don’t need anything else to be happy, because you’ve already got everything you need within you – it’s just a matter of finding and accessing the resources you’ve already got.
Making the decision to be the "real" you will make it easier to access these things, because you’re no longer distracted by trying to be someone you’re not.
Happiness is there, and it’s achievable – but the only person who can bring it into your life is you.
Wellbeing is about you, and you alone – and it can only really be achieved by knowing, understanding, and believing in yourself. Make time to do that, and happiness will follow.