Wellbeing is not just the absence of disease or illness. It is a complex combination of a person’s physical, mental, emotional and social health factors. Wellbeing is linked to how you feel about yourself and your life.

Factors that influence wellbeing

Every aspect of your life influences your state of wellbeing. Researchers investigating happiness have found the following factors enhance a person’s wellbeing:

• Happy intimate relationship with a partner
• Network of close friends
• Enjoyable and fulfilling career
• Enough money
• Regular exercise
• Nutritional diet
• Sufficient sleep
• Spiritual or religious beliefs
• Fun hobbies and leisure pursuits
• Healthy self-esteem
• Optimistic outlook
• Realistic and achievable goals
• Sense of purpose and meaning
• A sense of belonging
• The ability to adapt to change
• Living in a fair and democratic society

Factors are interrelated

The factors that influence wellbeing are interrelated. For example, a job provides not just money but purpose, goals, friendships and a sense of belonging. Some factors also make up for the lack of others; for example, a good marriage can compensate for a lack of friendships, while religious beliefs may help a person come to terms with physical illness.

Wellbeing can be elusive

Wellbeing is important, but seems a little hard to come by. One study into mental health found that, while one in four respondents was depressed, only one in five was happy – the rest fell somewhere between, neither happy nor depressed. A recent study into wellbeing showed that:

• 58 per cent wish they could spend more time on improving their health and wellbeing.
• 79 per cent of parents with children aged less than 18 years of age wish they could spend more time on improving
their health and wellbeing.
• 83 per cent are prepared to pay more money for products or services that enhance their feelings of wellbeing.

How to achieve wellbeing

• Develop and maintain strong relationships with family and friends.
• Make regular time available for social contact.
• Try to find work that you find enjoyable and rewarding, rather than just working for the best pay.
• Eat wholesome, nutritious foods.
• Do regular physical activity.
• Become involved in activities that interest you.
• Join local organisations or clubs that appeal to you.
• Set yourself achievable goals and work towards them.
• Try to be optimistic and enjoy each day.

If you’re ready to measure your own personal wellbeing, download the Wellbeing Checklist and bring it to your next session. It will help us determine how best to achieve your state of wellbeing.