Updated: Sep 4, 2018
Studies show that the happiest people are those who seek meaning as opposed to immediate gratification or pleasure. To find fulfillment, each of us must uncover our true hopes, ambitions, dreams and ideas, and then make our actions match these ideals.
No matter how perfectly we conduct our life, it won’t always be joyful. Even the happiest and fullest of life stories are sure to be coloured with occasional waves of pain and sadness. So perhaps, a richer, more attainable goal than "happiness" is well-being. Well-being amounts to more than mere happiness and involves a wide range of personal and social domains, including positive relationships and a sense of purpose in life. Well-being is elevated when individuals are better able to sustain positive emotion, recover more quickly from negative experiences, engage in empathic and altruistic acts and ultimately express high levels of mindfulness.
By adopting the following 5 principles of well-being in our lives, we can live a more harmonious and rewarding existence:
Generosity. Being generous means taking an action toward another person that is attuned and sensitive to that person’s needs and wants. It involves being giving of ourselves in ways that extend beyond ourselves. Generosity doesn’t just benefit the recipient of our offerings. It’s incredibly valuable to our own mental and physical health.
Resilience. Resilience describes an ability to persevere when things become difficult. It involves meeting life’s challenges rather than shying away or feeling defeated. A resilient person recognizes their personal power, while living in and accepting reality as it is. A resilient person sees their potential to change their situation, to evolve, adapt and accomplish their goals.
Attention. Attention involves being present and putting our focus where we want it. This places us in a receptive rather than a reactive mode. Mindfulness can be extremely useful in this process, as it helps us to develop our ability to focus attention and cultivate a sense of presence. When we remain in the present moment, fully experiencing our lives, we are able to concentrate on what needs tending to and take the necessary steps to reaching our long-term goals.
Goodness. We are all better off when we believe in the basic goodness of our fellow human beings and, for that matter, ourselves. If we all adopted this principle, we’d feel less aggression and experience less violence. Self-compassion involves recognising that suffering and personal inadequacy is part of the shared human experience—something that we all go through rather than something that happens to us alone.
Differentiation. For each of us to tap into our inner strength we must differentiate from negative past influences and programming that act as overlays on our behavior. We must identify and separate from unhealthy adaptations we’ve made in our past. These include destructive attitudes and unfavorable ways of seeing ourselves and our abilities as well as of viewing others and their shortcomings.
None of these principles seem to offer an overnight, quick fix to the challenges we all inevitably face, but they do reveal a way of living that can enhance our overall quality of life.