Besides happiness, we also pay attention to how much meaning and purpose our lives give us.
Being loved and being known as being good at what we choose to do are always great.
We also need a healthy sense of independence.
Finally, we need good cognitive and physical functioning to complete our sense of wellbeing.
Some researchers have developed 7 foundations of wellbeing. Here’s what they came up with, and some useful questions to see how well you measure up on these foundation building block for wellbeing. How do you do on these questions?
Beliefs about the self, others and the world.
Do you believe you can overcome barriers and achieve goals?
Do you view problems as a challenge of threat?
Do you believe you have social worth?
Mindfulness and awareness.
Are you aware of your emotions, actions, external stimuli and mental processes?
Can you label and clarify the exact mixture of emotions that you are feeling at a given point in time?
Seeing different points of view
Can you take the perspective of others?
Can you take perspective on yourself?
What do you care about?
Do other people’s desires for you tend dominate your own? Do you do things because other people want you to?
Can you accept experiences?
In order to live according to what you care about, are you willing to go through and deal with experiences such as distress and self-doubt?
Are you able to control what you say and do in a way that promotes your goals and values?
How well do you solve problems and reason?
Once you see how you’re doing on each of these building blocks, you can start to get some idea as to where you might want to start doing things differently.
Being able to develop some space to think about and act upon the other stuff that comes up in your life is good too.
I tend to use the Do Not Disturb function on my iPhone to help me create windows of the day when I am not interrupted by notifications. Research shows us that for each interruption we have, it takes us minutes to regain our focus. And the danger is, as soon as we are able to concentrate again, along comes another notification. Imagine that going on all day long. How do we get anything done at all (with decent quality anyway)?
So I have them switched off on my phone and computers for a couple of hours at a time. That helps me to think about what I’m doing and get things done.
At the other end of the spectrum, once you have nuisance notifications switched off, you might want some more positive encouragement to help you to do things that might be more helpful for your wellbeing. The Balanced app might be a good option for you here.
Balanced is designed to encourage you to do all the things you want to do, but can’t always find time for. So, you might want to set some reminders. The interface is simple, but not childish – almost every control is a simple swipe on the screen. There’s a wide variety of helpful activities listed, such as myself, fitness, creativity and confidence. But you can also set up your own activities that might mirror those foundations to wellbeing discussed above.
You can set a frequency for how often you might try a different activity – and that actvity can be framed in a way that helps you stop doing something that isn’t helping you towards your goals (e.g. maybe that’s to make better iuse of time so the instruction could be to Get off Facebook).
Once you’ve completed the activities on your list, tell Balanced and the counter will start again. A pulse meter keeps track of the activities you have completed or skipped, and ideally you don’t want to let this drop below 75%.
So maybe start with a few activities, turn off your notifications and distraction, and start scheduling some more deliverate reminders to help your wellbeing. You can use the Freemium version of the app to add 5 actvities – pay £2.99 for the app to get access to more.