Like the pieces of a puzzle, there are 5 dimensions of well-being that must be put together to create a happy and productive life. The toughest part of this puzzle is that it looks different for everyone and there is no picture on the box to show you what the end result will look like.
Tom Rath and Jim Harter authors of the book Wellbeing, studied diverse people in more than 150 countries around the world and found that there were 5 interconnected dimensions that were important in shaping their lives. The dimensions are:
Career Well-being is a large part of well-being as it is how we spend most of our days. People who are highly engaged in their work will have less overall stress and can decrease their risks for anxiety and depression. Increase your career well-being: Ensure that you are able to use the skills you feel are your strongest. This will help to make sure you are satisfied and lead to both higher quantity and quality of work.
Social Well-being encompasses a large part of our time not spent at work and includes almost all of our personal and professional relationships. It is important to find people at home and at work that can have a positive outlook and effect on you during the day. Increase your social well-being: Try strengthening the mutual connections in your network of friends, family and co-workers and surround yourself with positive and happy people.
Financial Well-being is being able to effectively manage your economic life. Studies have shown that spending money on oneself will not lead to better wellbeing for you and will more likely lead to more concern around money in the future. Increase your financial well-being: Spend money on experiences, like a dinner with friends or vacation with loved ones or put money aside in a savings account.
Physical Well-being is not only being generally healthy and feeling well, but also having the energy to participate in the activities in which you would be interested. This is probably the most discussed wellbeing topic, but is still neglected. Increase your physical well-being: Make sure to exercise regularly, eat plenty of fruits and vegetable, and make sure to get some sleep!
Community Well-being is feeling a sense of engagement in the area in which you live. Everyone will have different criteria here and it is important to choose, if at all possible, a place that meets as many of your personal requirements as possible. Increase your community well-being; Try opting into community events with people who share your passions or volunteer in community groups to give back.
Finding a balance and carving out time in a busy schedule to pay attention to each dimension of well-being will allow you to fit the piece of the puzzle together and find happiness both at home and at work.
Get started! Access the wellness resources available to you at The University of Vermont Medical Center. Click here for access to our online health library, class/events schedule, programs, support groups, and much more!
Craig Stevens is program coordinator and intrinsic health coach with Employee Wellness at The University of Vermont Medical Center.