“Life is an attempt to change a piece of a dream-world into reality.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
British Airways recently released data from two somewhat sad studies, which revealed two of the biggest regrets of 2,000 U.S. baby boomers – that they worked too much and didn’t travel enough. Not much new there!
Some of the study’s findings:
- 17 percent of male respondents said that working too much was their biggest regret
- 22 percent of women said not traveling enough was their biggest regret
- 26 percent of respondents said losing contact with friends was their biggest regret
Regrets. Need they be? Are we able to make choices in the physical, social and emotional areas of our lives that can influence our well-being? Of course we can.
In another survey of over 2 million Americans, Gallup-Healthways’ found that poor financial management can actually cause obesity (not just a correlation). Ed Diener, author of Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth, says that the key to greater well-being is to have money but not to want it too much. Not surprisingly, there are strategies people of all ages can use to relieve financial stress and thereby lose weight and live longer. (See suggestion at post’s end).
One physical area of our lives that significantly affects our well-being is the workplace and what we do to earn a living. According to Claremont University psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, it’s best to find a job that challenges us to an optimal level – one that’s neither so hard that we give up nor so easy that we get bored. Finding a job that engages your natural talents and gives you constant feedback is sure to contribute to your well-being. You know this, right?
Two years ago I posted (here) about existing or thriving. I suspect you would agree that a thriving life is vital to our well-being. If you are interested in optimizing (or perhaps, simply adding positively to) your life and thus your well-being, following are three considerations:
- Embrace a sense of safety. Research shows the biggest deterrent to physical activity for some people is perceived danger. You want the outside environment to draw you out, not nudge you in.
- Make it a lifelong and relentless habit to exercise serious caution when it comes to anyone who or anything that wants to touch your money or your welfare.
- Grow a garden. Several studies have shown that gardening lowers stress hormones. Hoeing, planting, weeding, fertilizing and harvesting all include regular, low-intensity, range-of-motion exercise.
And while you’re at it, create time to play. Get a passport or just reintroduce yourself to life’s simple pleasures.