By: Donna R. Wood
Well-Being and happiness are not the same thing. Well-being is an overall sense of being at peace with life as it was, as it is, and as it may yet be; a peace that can only be achieved by how one views life in general.
In this article, we will cover some of the attitudes that contribute to well-being, beginning with gratitude.
I know, I know, it’s been said a thousand times. You have to have an attitude of gratitude. But, why? Does it really make a difference? The answer is YES!
People who practice an attitude of gratitude experience a more connected lifestyle such as healthy relationships and giving more of their time, talents and treasures.
However, many people only experience gratitude when times are difficult or they find themselves in life-threatening situations.
Counting our blessings every day helps us to break the barriers to eliminating bad habits. This leads to positive effects on things such as health, sleep quality, addictions, and so much more.
Gratitude breeds compassion, which is related to empathy, but not quite the same thing.
Empathy is the deep-felt understanding of the situation of the other, whereas compassion is the motivation to do something about the situation and increase the well‑being of the other.
Compassion requires a certain level of vulnerability. We may need to open up that empathetic part of us and expose our own experience in order to establish the connection with the other person.
Sometimes, we have to get past our own blocks to compassion, which could be anger or indignation, fear, or a focusing on performance and competition, in order to help the other person, in spite of ourselves.
Although having compassion for others is important, it is just as important to develop compassion and love for ourselves, because it allows us to have an authentic love toward others.
As our compassionate selves emerge, it reinforces the immune system, reduces fear and depression, resulting in a sense of deep joy and meaningfulness.
The last attitude of well-being we will discuss is Simplicity.
People who practice gratitude are able to easily find pleasure in the simplicities of life.
We live in a world where people often mistake the pursuit of happiness for well-being, and get off track by seeking more: more stuff, more events, more money, which can lead to dissatisfaction and general disappointment.
When we are pursuing things, we lose our empathy and compassion for others, due to the focus on performance and competition, and deplete our well-being in the process.
People who choose simplicity tend to have more energy and time for what they really value as important.
Practicing the attitudes that contribute to well-being begins by living from the inside out.