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Published on January 11, 2021

The Importance of Well-Being

Well-being: That experience of being comfortable, healthy, and happy. A lot of research has been done on the importance of well-being over the years; it's strongly linked to happiness. So how do we get there?

Gallup identified five essential factors that impact the well-being of most people:

  1. Career well-being: Do you enjoy what you do with your time each day at your job or are you just filling in time?
  2. Social well-being: Do you have strong relationships in your life? Do you have friendships inside and outside of work and have love in your life?
  3. Financial well-being: How do you manage your economic life?
  4. Physical well-being: Do you have good health and do you have the energy to get through each day to accomplish the tasks of daily living?
  5. Community well-being: Are you engaged in your community? Do you take part in community groups, church or civic organizations?

Gallup tells us that 66% of us are doing well in at least one category and only 7% are thriving in all five. If we struggle in any of these areas it dampens our sense of well-being. However, when we excel in at least one of the five, we may feel that we have had a really good day. The goal is that we do well in all five areas and that we strive to do better in each category daily.

Why does well-being matter? Good well-being is vital to our physical and mental health. It impacts our resilience, which is how well we can overcome or cope with difficulties and continue working to achieve the goals we have in life. If we struggle with resilience, we won’t have the tools to help us deal with challenges that life might throw our way. When that happens, we might start blaming ourselves, which can lead to lower self-confidence, a reluctance to try new things, and a higher risk for mental illness such as depression or anxiety. Well-being and resilience can be strengthened so we’re ready to handle life’s challenges.

Steps you can take to improve your well-being and resilience:

    1. Build Connectedness: Research shows that the more connected we are to family, friends and community, the better off we will be. Connecting with individuals who are understanding and are good listeners can remind you that you are not alone in most difficult situations. You might consider joining a civic group, a club or faith community to help you find a purpose.
    2. Exercise: Self-care is vital for our mental health and resilience. Exercise can strengthen your body and has been proven to be a great treatment tool for stress, anxiety and depression.
    3. Sleep: Sleep is another self-care tool that is vital for our mental health and resilience. If we don’t get adequate sleep it is difficult for our minds to function 100% and make clear decisions. Our bodies need to get enough rest to handle the daily stress.
    4. Nutrition: For our bodies and minds to function optimally, we need to fuel ourselves with the right nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
    5. Stress reduction: Practice deep breathing, journaling, muscle relaxation, meditation and other stress reduction activities that work for you.
    6. Positive Thoughts: Practice positive thinking. Write your thoughts in a journal. Challenge negative thinking and reframe it in a positive way.
    7. Goals: Make some goals and keep them written down and in front of yourself often. You can achieve great things. Kick adversity to the curb!

Support is Available

You don’t have to be suicidal to call a crisis line. Social support is the key to maintaining emotional health and well-being. If you’re feeling down - or if you are worried about a loved one - talk to someone by calling or texting a crisis line. To contact the crisis text line, text ‘TALK’ to 741741 or call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Bryan Medical Center offers free, anonymous, behavioral health screenings for depression, anxiety, PTSD, and alcohol or substance use concerns.

dave miers

About Dr. Dave Miers

Dave Miers, PhD, is director of behavioral health services at Bryan Medical Center in Lincoln, Nebraska.

He helped establish the Nebraska State Suicide Prevention Coalition in 1999 and chaired/co-chaired this Coalition until 2017. He currently serves on the Board of Directors. Dr. Miers is a member of the leadership group for the Lincoln/Lancaster County Suicide Prevention Coalition. Dr. Miers has published research and co-authored a chapter in the Routledge International Handbook of Clinical Suicide Research focusing on family survivors of a child suicide. Dr. Miers helped develop the Lincoln Lancaster Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors (LOSS) team in Lincoln, Neb. He also helped develop other LOSS teams in Nebraska and is active with LOSS team development on a national level.

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