Take Care of 6 Pillars of Well-Being to Be Truly Happy

Updated: Oct 31, 2021

Everyone wants to be happy. But do you truly understand happiness? Do you know what it means to have high levels of psychological well-being? Do you know how to improve your well-being?

This article will help you understand what is psychological well-being. Then I will share some tips on how to improve it.

Research from multiple past theories suggest there are 6 dimensions of well-being. I summarize each of them and provide tips for enhancing each pillar.

As you read, reflect on:

- How you would score on each of these 6 dimensions of well-being?

- Which area do you most want to improve on?


1. Self-acceptance

You tend to see yourself and your past in a generally positive way, you accept your strengths and weaknesses. You tend not to feel dissatisfied and disappointed with yourself and your past.

How to be more self-accepting?

💡 Be proud of your strengths. Make a list of your strengths and remind yourself of your strengths during times you feel less confident.

💡 Acknowledge & overcome your weaknesses. Similarly, make a list of some of your weaknesses that you want to improve on. For example, you may not be brave enough to step out of your comfort zone. Then set a goal to do something that you've been too afraid to!

💡 Accept your failures. Everyone of us has inevitably failed in the past. Think about what you've learned from past failures. Instead of perceiving these as "failures", think of these as learning and challenges you had to overcome to lead to who you are today.

As Steve Jobs famously said in his Stanford's commencement speech: "You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future".


2. Positive Relations with Others

You tend to have satisfying and trusting relationships; you are capable of empathy, affection and intimacy.

How to improve your relations with others?

💡 Nurture your relations with regular catch-ups. Make sure to regularly catch-up with your family and friends by scheduling times to chat.

💡 Show concern about others' well-being. Every time you connect with others, show that you genuinely care about their well-being.

Instead of just asking "How they are doing?", which will likely lead to short answers like "Alright" or "I'm doing well", try asking questions like "What has been on your mind lately?", "What is something you are excited about or looking forward to lately?" and “Is there something I can help with?".


3. Autonomy

You tend to be self-determined and independent; you are able to resist social pressure to think and act in certain ways; you evaluate yourself by your own standards.

How to improve your sense of autonomy?

💡 Set your own standards for evaluating your life. Define what success in your life looks like and use this standard to evaluate your life.

Don't let others' judgments define you. Acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses, so others' judgments will not influence how you see yourself.

Just as Steve Jobs puts it: "Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice."


4. Environmental Mastery

You tend to feel competent in managing and controlling the external environment; you can create environments that suit your own needs and values.

How to improve your environmental mastery?

💡Start by making one change in your life. To improve your sense of control over your environment and over your life in general, you need to first believe you can make changes. Then pick simple things you can immediately do to better your daily life.

For example, if you want to be more comfortable while working (e.g. you have neck/back pains from sitting long hours), there are some things you can do to improve:

1) Try getting a standing desk or a sit-stand desk to try switching from sitting to standing

2) Try getting a chair or desk needs some adjustment to make you feel more comfortable

3) Set a timer to remind you to regularly take breaks.

You can also check out this office ergonomics guide to improve your ergonomics.

Over time, by making these little changes to improve your environment and feeling the positive outcomes, you will gradually feel increased sense of control over your life. Then you will be more confident to make more difficult changes and become a master of your environment!


5. Purpose in Life

You have clear goals in life; you think there is meaning, direction and purpose to your life.

💡Take some time to reflect to find your purpose. The first step to find the purpose of your life is to tune into your feelings when doing different activities. You need to be aware of what are the activities you do that makes you feel your best. Reflect on what activities you love to do that also make you feel highly energized and accomplished.

If none of the activities you currently do feel purposeful, then it is time to explore. For example, you can try out new activities/hobbies that you think you will like or just research what others are doing that give them purpose to get inspired.


6. Personal Growth

You see yourself as continually developing, growing and improving.

💡Develop long-term goals to work towards. It is important to develop a long-term goal so that you are motivated to change, improve and move closer to your goal everyday.

💡Surround yourself with people that inspire you to be better. Think about the people you interact with the most. Do they have qualities that you admire? Do you feel like you learned something new after interacting with them? Do you feel you became better in some way or form after knowing them? To inspire and motivate yourself to constantly improve, you need to surround yourself with people who are also growing and inspire you to be better.


Take Action!

Which well-being dimension do you want to improve on? Comment below or message me your thoughts!


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Ryff, C. D. (1989). Happiness is everything, or is it? Explorations on the meaning of psychological well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57(6), 1069.

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